Psychologist Ken Corbett, Biologist Stuart Firestein and Playwright Anna Ziegler discuss gender identity, the biology of sexual differences, and BOY in a post-performance talkback on March 31 / by Keen Admin

From left, Ken Corbett, Anna Ziegler, Stuart Firestein

From left, Ken Corbett, Anna Ziegler, Stuart Firestein

On March 31, following the 7:00 PM performance of BOY, the acclaimed new play by Anna Ziegler, Ken Corbett, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy at New York University and author of A Murder Over a Girl; Stuart Firestein, former Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University and author of Failure: Why Science Is So Successful; and Anna Ziegler, author of BOY, will gather for a lively discussion about the personal and social issues the play raises concerning gender identity, the biology of sexual differences, how psychologists treat – and how society views - children of ambiguous sexuality.

Inspired by a true story, Anna Ziegler's BOY explores the tricky terrain of finding love amidst the confusion of sexual identity, and the inextricable bond between a doctor and patient. In the 1960s, a well-intentioned doctor convinces the parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after a terrible accident. Two decades later, the repercussions of that choice continue to unfold. A story of the blinding power of love and the complicated mystery of one’s perception of self, BOY is a moving play that calls into question how we become who we are.

The World Premiere of BOY is a co-production between Keen Company and The Ensemble Studio Theatre through the EST/Sloan Project, EST's partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop new plays "exploring the worlds of science and technology."

About the panelists

Ken Corbett (Photo: Matthu Placek)

Ken Corbett (Photo: Matthu Placek)

Ken Corbett is Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and has a private practice. In his review in the New York Times Book Review, Robert Kolker finds “powerful insights” in Corbett’s new book, A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High, about the 2008 murder of a transgender teen, and writes “Corbett’s relentlessly open mind is rewarding for the reader.” Playwright Tony Kushner describes the book as “magnificently written, shattering, original, and immensely valuable.” Corbett is also the author of Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities (2009).

Stuart Firestein

Stuart Firestein

Stuart Firestein is the former Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences where his laboratory studies the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet.   Aside from its molecular detection capabilities, the olfactory system serves as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of signaling and perception in the brain.  His laboratory seeks to answer that fundamental human question: How do I smell? Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, Firestein serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science.  He is the author of Failure: Why Science Is So Successful (2015) and Ignorance: How It Drives Science (2012).

Anna Ziegler

Anna Ziegler

Anna Ziegler’s plays include Photograph 51 (directed on the West End by Michael Grandage and starring Nicole Kidman; previously produced as the 2010 EST/Sloan production at Ensemble Studio Theatre; Seattle Repertory Theatre and Theater J, among others), The Last Match (recently produced at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA and upcoming in April at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA), Boy (currently at Keen Company/Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City), A Delicate Ship (The Playwrights Realm at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, New York City; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Another Way Home (coming in June in Washington DC at Theater J; previously produced at The Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA), Dov and Ali (Theatre503; The Playwrights Realm at the Cherry Lane Theatre), The Minotaur (Rorschach Theatre; Synchronicity Theatre) and BFF (WET Productions at the DR2 Theatre, New York City). Anna is a graduate of Yale College and holds an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from the Tisch School of the Arts. You can read a recent interview with Anna about BOY on this blog

BOY opened on March 10 and will run through April 9 at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row.