Loading Events

October 5 - October 22

Smart People

On the eve of the 2008 Presidential Election, four intellectuals find themselves embroiled in a complex web of social and sexual politics. Brian, a neuroscientist, is studying the brain’s responses to race and its societal implications. Ginny, a psychologist, is studying low-income Asian-American women’s reaction to stress. Jackson, a young doctor, has opened a clinic for low-income patients. Valerie, a talented actor, is struggling to make ends meet by working as a maid. Everyone wants to be successful, to find love, and to feel as if they’ve made a positive impact on the world. But what influence does race have on that quest? A brilliantly hilarious and incisive play by the playwright of the award-winning Broadway play, Stick Fly.

By Lydia Diamond
Directed by Summer L. Williams
A Production from the Kitchen Theatre Company, Ithaca
Part of the Fielding Studio Series

October 5 – October 22, 2017

Run Time: TBA

Suitable for ages 15 and up

This play contains profanity and material that some children under the age of 15 may find difficult to understand  

Event Navigation

Jake Lee Smith | Brian

JAKE LEE SMITH is a graduate of NYU Grad Acting, Class of 2017. Recent productions include the world premiere of Idris Goodwin’s The Blueprint directed by Jenny Koons, Buried Child directed by Pam Berlin, and The Winter’s Tale directed by Mark Wing-Davey. He also recently starred in the feature film The Dreams of Rene Sendam, his second collaboration with LA director Joshua Zev Nathan, and has acted internationally at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and the ancient Greek amphitheatre at Oiniades. Smart People marks his first production out of school, and is his first collaboration with the Kitchen Theatre and Geva Theatre Center.

Shannon Tyo | Ginny

SHANNON TYO makes her Geva Theatre Center debut with Smart People. Off-Broadway credits include Kentucky, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, and Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include The White Snake at the Old Globe, San Diego; Miss Saigon at the Pioneer Theatre Co, Music Theatre of Wichita and Cape Fear Regional; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Northern Stage, Tuacahn PAC and Pioneer Theatre Co.; and Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage. She received her B.F.A. from Syracuse University.

Folami Williams | Valerie

FOLAMI WILLIAMS is incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work at the Kitchen Theatre and Geva Theatre Center! She is a New York City based theatre artist and actor. Recent work includes The Maids at INTAR Theatre, Soot & Spit for Our Voices Project and Othello at CSC. She has a M.F.A. in Acting from Columbia University where some of her favorite credits included Blue Window, Lulu, and Jacques, or the Submission. Some past credits include Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night for Manhattan Shakespeare Project; Auto De Fe and Reconstruction for International WOW Company; King Lear for Teatro La TEA; and AutoMotive for East River Commedia.

Bryce Michael Wood | Jackson

BRYCE MICHAEL WOOD is an American actor from Phoenix, AZ. He is ecstatic to make his Kitchen Theatre and Geva Theatre Center debut! The only son of Andrew and Janelle Wood, Bryce graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts and was a Division-I Athlete for the Fighting Irish all four years. Most recently he received his M.F.A. in Acting from UCONN. Recent credits include Welcome to Fear City (Jacques) for Contemporary American Theatre Festival; An Absolute Turkey (Pontagnac), King Lear (Edgar), Sense and Sensibility (John Willoughby), The Laramie Project (Matt Galloway & Others), Lysistrata (Kenesias), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius) for CRT; Row (Muhammed Ali) for Goodspeed Opera House, Oedipus (Oedipus) for Hope Summer Rep., and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon) for Monomoy Theatre.

Lydia R. Diamond | Playwright

LYDIA R. DIAMOND’s award-winning plays include Smart People, Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus, The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse, Harriet Jacobs, The Inside, and Stage Black. Theatres include Arena Stage, Cort Theatre (Broadway), Chicago Dramatists, Company One, Congo Square, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Huntington, Jubilee, Kansas City Rep, Long Wharf, Lorraine Hansberry, McCarter, Mo’Olelo, MPAACT, New Vic, Playmakers Rep, Plowshares, Second Stage, Steppenwolf, and TrueColors. Commissions include Arena Stage, Steppenwolf (4), McCarter, Huntington, Center Stage, Victory Gardens and The Roundabout. A recipient of many playwriting awards, Lydia was also an ’05/’06 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, an 06/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, a 2012 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, is a Board Member at Chicago Dramatists, and a 2012/2013 Radcliffe Institute Fellow. Lydia is an NU graduate (’91), has an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Pine Manor College and is 2013-14 Playwright in Residence at Arena Stage.

Summer L. Williams | Director

SUMMER L. WILLIAMS is a Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director of Company One Theatre in Boston. Her most recent directing credits include Barbecue at Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Company One Theatre, Bootycandy at SpeakEasy Stage Company, An Octoroon and Colossal with Company One Theatre–Winner of the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director for both productions. Regional credits: Intimate Apparelat Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Shiv as a part of The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy, Shelter of Last Resort by Miranda Craigwell as a part of XX PlayLab 2014 and the New England Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German Sudwestafrika Between The Years 1884-1915, Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On and Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet as part of The Brother/Sister Plays (2012 Elliot Norton Award nominated for Outstanding Production and winner of the 2012 IRNE Award for Best Play), Neighbors, Grimm, The Good Negro, Voyeurs De Venus (Winner of 2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director), The Bluest Eye(IRNE and Elliot Norton Award nominated), The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Spell #7 (IRNE nominated), Jesus Hopped The A Train (2004 Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production)Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (IRNE nominated). Ms. Williams has also directed for the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Clark University, Brandeis University, The Theatre Offensive and Huntington Theatre Company.

Tyler M. Perry | Scenic & Lighting Design

TYLER M. PERRY returns to Geva Theatre Center where he designed the lighting for last season’s Kitchen Theatre Company production of Sex With Strangers and the 2016 production of Dancing Lessons. A NYC-based lighting and scenic designer, he received Kitchen Theatre Company’s 2013-14 Norma Fire Emerging Artist award. Kitchen Theatre Company favorites include Peter and the Starcatcher, The Soup Comes Last, I and You, Thin Walls, The House, Venus in Fur, Opus, Slashes of Light, What I Thought I Knew, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Whipping Man, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, among others. NYC credits include Schooled (FringeNYC, Time Out New York’s Critics’ pick); The Wild Party, The Adding Machine and A Man of No Importance for b-side Productions. Regional credits include Trick or Treat for Northern Stage; Avenue Q (2016 RI BroadwayWorld Award-Winner), Damn Yankees for Ocean State Theatre Co.; The Fantasticks, Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Cafe for Hope Summer Repertory Theatre; Urinetown, The 39 Steps, Stage Kiss, Lend Me A Tenor, Into the Woods for Cider Mill Playhouse. TV and Web credits include Garbage Time with Katie Nolan, AOPA Live, Monumental Sports Network (Infinite Designs). Broadway (Assistant) credits include Miss Saigon (2017 revival); Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (National Tour). Mr. Perry earned his B.F.A. from Ithaca College. Member: United Scenic Artists Local 829. www.tylermperrydesign.com

Lisa Boquist | Costume Design

LISA BOQUIST has designed and coordinated costumes for previous Kitchen Theatre Company productions of Sex with Strangers, Dancing Lessons, A Body of Water and Black Pearl Sings! at Geva Theatre Center. Kitchen Theatre Company credits include Precious Nonsense, Thin Walls, A Body of Water, Lungs, Black Pearl Sings!, Heroes, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Whipping Man, Circle Mirror Transformation, Irma Vep, Red Light Winter, Broke-ology and Waiting For Spring. Other favorite designs at the Kitchen include Mary’s Wedding, Bed and Sofa, Last Train To Nibroc, I Become A Guitar, and Nine Parts Of Desire. She runs her own studio, where she designs and constructs prototypes, mascots and custom clothing for film and public appearances. She has been the Textiles Coordinator and Design Associate for MacKenzie-Childs, Ltd., and presently runs the costume shop at Cornell University. There she is responsible for training students in all aspects of costume construction, and has designed costumes for: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Beat Box Bard, Bedroom Farce, and Drama, Dance And The Disco Of Desire, among others.

Rasean Davonte Johnson | Projection & Sound Design

RASEAN DAVONTE JOHNSON is delighted to be working with the Kitchen Theatre. An Ohio native, his work can be found in theatre, film, and installations as a projection designer, animator, and filmmaker. His New York credits include Midsummer at Tiltyard and The Kept Private at Storyhorse Theatre Co.; Chicago credits include A Disappearing Number at Timeline Theatre Co., Wit for The Hypocrites, Columbinus for ArtsEmerson/American Theater Company, Angels In America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika at Court Theatre and Rock Of Ages for Drury Lane Theatre. Regional credits include The Magic Negro and Other Blackity Blackness for Alliance Theatre, The Stone Witch for Berkshire Theatre Group and Cymbeline for Yale Repertory Theatre. International credits include Farewell My Concubine for Ningbo Song and Dance Company/YinMei Dance. Other credits include collaborations with Manual Cinema, Halcyon Theatre, Teatro Vista, Red Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists. He has lectured at Yale University, Boston University, Syracuse University, The Theatre School at Depaul, and The Ohio State University. He received his M.F.A. Yale School of Drama in Design. raseandavontejohnson.com

Matthew Luppino | Stage Manager

MATTHEW LUPPINO is making his Kitchen Theatre Company and Geva Theatre Center debut! Broadway credits include Bandstand, The Illusionists: Turn of the Century, The Illusionists: Live on Broadway. Off-Broadway/NYC credits include Public Enemy, Stupid Fucking Bird (The Pearl Theatre Company); Elizabeth Swados’s The Nomad (The Flea Theatre). Regional credits include Cymbeline, The Tempest, Ugly Lies the Bone, The Taming (Shakespeare & Company); Veils, A Little More Alive, Engagements, Butler (Barrington Stage Company); The Alchemist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ). Matthew has interned with the Broadway Company of Wicked, is an alum of The College of New Jersey, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Many thanks to his friends and family for their continued support.

Kitchen Theatre Company | Production Originator

KITCHEN THEATRE COMPANY, ITHACA, NY
Bevin O’Gara, Artistic Director
Kitchen Theatre Company is celebrating its 27th Season. Located in a LEED certified building, KTC’s intimate 99-seat Percy Browning Theatre invites a bold relationship between the actors and the audience. An anchor of Ithaca’s thriving West End, Kitchen Theatre Company is an Equity theatre with performances running for 10 months a year, from September to June. The production of Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond marks the fifth production originating at KTC to be seen by Geva Theatre audiences. Previous productions include Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason, Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain, A Body of Water by Lee Blessing, and Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins. Kitchen Theatre Company is committed to producing new and contemporary work fully reflecting the diversity of the community and selecting plays that allow for “important conversations.” Kitchen Theatre Company strives to create connections and community: connection between the artist and the audience, connections among community members, and connections between our community and the larger world.
This year marks the beginning of a new era for the Kitchen with the start of Producing Artistic Director, M. Bevin O’Gara’s tenure. More information about the Kitchen is available at kitchentheatre.org or by calling 607 272-0403.