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Director Karin Coonrod Brings Flannery O'Connor Triptych to the Stage

Karin Coonrod

Columbia alumna (MFA, Directing) and acclaimed director Karin Coonrod brings three of Flannery O'Connor's great works to the stage in "Everything that Rises Must Converge," playing through Nov. 18 at the New York Theatre Workshop. The triptych includes "A View of the Woods," "Greenleaf" and the title story, "Everything that Rises Must Converge," a post-desegregation story about a woman in whom racial bigotry is as ingrained as her Southern graciousness.

While most performances based on novels or short stories are reworked to be more suitable to stage, Coonrod agreed not to alter these stories, but, to have every word heard aloud, as a condition to obtain the stage rights.

In NewYorkMetro.com Coonrod said, "I think the estate thought that would be a deterrent, [but] I saw it as an opportunity to take a text as a piece of music and just play it." To achieve this, Coonrod relied on an eight-member ensemble to read and act out the stories in a manner similar to a Greek chorus.

"Coonrod gets the tone just right," reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 28. "There's a savage grace at play in these tightly wound comedies—commentaries on matters of class, race and gender—and it punches you right in the gut."

When "Everything that Rises Must Converge" closes on Nov. 18, Coonrod will begin work on "Enrico IV," where she will direct Robert Brustein's adaptation of Luigi Pirandello's tragicomic masterpiece based on a wealthy Italian nobleman who has delusions of being Emperor Henry IV of Germany after a horse-riding accident. "Enrico IV" will be in repertory Dec. 7 through Jan. 13 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

These are just two of Coonrod's undertakings. She is the founding director of Off-Broadway's Arden Party, a highly acclaimed New York City theater troupe, and director of more than 20 of the company's productions including: "Christmas at the Ivanovs," "Lear," "Love's Labour's Lost," "Dangerous Clowns," "Romeo and Juliet," and "The Threepenny Opera." She has also adapted and directed "Henry VI, Parts I &II."

Coonrod has been a guest director for numerous NYU productions such as "A Respectable Wedding" and "Lear." She directed a workshop of Naomi Iizuka's award-winning play "Polaroid Stories" for En Garde Arts in New York. She also directed two of Chiori Miyagawa's plays, "Nothing Forever" and "Yesterday's Window" for the New York Theatre Workshop.

Published: Nov 16, 2001
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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