Keen Company

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.

Sociomedical Scientist Rebecca Jordan-Young, Biologist Darcy Kelley, and Director Linsay Firman join Journalist Robin Henig on March 24 for a post-performance talkback about BOY by Keen Admin

From left: Rebecca Jordan-Young, Darcy Kelley, Linsay Firman, Robin Henig

From left: Rebecca Jordan-Young, Darcy Kelley, Linsay Firman, Robin Henig

On March 24, following the 7:00 PM performance of BOY, the powerful new play by Anna Ziegler, Rebecca Jordan-Young, Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College; Darcy Kelley, Harold Weintraub Professor of Department Biological Sciences at Columbia University; and Linsay Firman, Director of Play Development at EST, Associate Director of the EST/Sloan Project, and Director of the current production of BOY, will all join journalist and moderator Robin Henig for what promises to be a lively discussion about the issues the play raises concerning gender identity, the sexual development of children, and how the treatment of children of ambiguous sexuality has changed since the time of the play.

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

Rebecca Jordan-Young

Rebecca Jordan-Young

Rebecca Jordan-Young is the Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences (Harvard University Press 2010), and more than three dozen articles and book chapters at the intersection of science and social differences, especially gender, sexuality, and race. Jordan-Young holds a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She teaches such courses as Science and Sexualities; Introduction to Women and Health; Pleasures and Power (an Introduction to Sexuality Studies); and the Senior Seminar in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Darcy Kelley

Darcy Kelley

Darcy Kelley is the Harold Weintraub Professor of Department Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Kelley’s research focuses on the sexual differentiation of the nervous system and the neurobiology of vocal communication. Her laboratory studies the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, a species with a particularly rich vocal repertoire that is specific for each sex. Females sing to males, and males sing to females and to other males. She seeks to determine how these vocal signals are produced by the nervous system and how acoustic information is decoded and acted upon. Professor Kelley has a strong commitment to bringing science to the general public through public lectures and via consulting for The EST/Sloan Project and science-themed films sponsored by the Sloan Foundation.

   Playwright Anna Ziegler and Director Linsay Firman (Photo: Walter McBride)

 

Playwright Anna Ziegler and Director Linsay Firman (Photo: Walter McBride)

Linsay Firman is Director of Play Development at EST and Associate Director of the EST/Sloan Project. In addition to BOY, at EST she has directed the World Premiere of Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye and the NY Premiere of Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51, as well as EST Marathon plays by Rachel Bonds, Garrett M. Brown, Darcy Fowler and Jose Rivera. Other NYC productions include Chairs and a Long Table by Han Ong (Ma-Yi Theatre), Perdita by Pierre Diennet (Lion Theater), Anne Washburn’s Apparition (chashama), Joy Tomasko’s Unfold Me, Catherine Trieschmann’s Crooked and Heather, Lynn MacDonald’s Pink (all at Ariel Tepper’s Summer Play Festival). Linsay began working in new play development as the Associate Director of Soho Rep, where she was a founder and chair of Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab.

About the Moderator

Robin Marantz Henig

Robin Marantz Henig

Journalist and science writer Robin Marantz Henig is the author of nine science books and president of the National Association of Science Writers. A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, Robin has also written for Scientific American, The Washington Post, Discover and numerous women’s magazines. Her book on the first test-tube baby, Pandora’s Baby (2004), won the Outstanding Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Most recently, Robin collaborated with her daughter Samantha Henig to write Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck? (2014).

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