October 17 - November 8, 2003
Directed by Lance Garrett
Identity theft is certainly
nothing new. However, computers have made it much
easier, and in Arthur Kopit's techno-thriller BECAUSEHECAN
it is about as simple as a few clicks of a mouse.
Carpenter Square Theatre
presents the Oklahoma premiere of BECAUSEHECAN October
17 - November 8, 2003 at Stage Center, located at 400 W. Sheridan in downtown
Joseph and Joanne Elliott are
a successful New York couple. He is a book editor at Random House who also
teaches writing at the New School. Joanne works at the famed auction house
Sotheby's. They are both on their second marriage, but they seem to have found
the perfect match this time around.
The only hitch in their
wedded bliss seems to be Joanne's somewhat obsessive ex-husband, but what they
don't know is that a young man by the name of Costa Astrakhan has been working
obsessively at his computer to damage their lives. At the play's start, an FBI
criminal investigation is already underway. The questions that the federal
agents are asking don't make any sense to Joseph. They keep referring to names
and words that leave him baffled as to their relevance. Joseph feels thrust into
the midst of a Twilight Zone episode.
As the play continues, we see
how the Elliotts' past contact with Costa Astrakhan could destroy their future.
Four years ago, a precocious fifteen-year-old Astrakhan enrolled in Joseph's
college writing class, and he attended a party at their home to which all the
students in the class were invited. Beyond this, the facts get blurry. Astrakhan
may or may not have had an affair with Joanne. Being jilted may or may not be
all in his mind, but whatever the case, his wicked, ingenious mind is set on
attacking the Elliotts. He never needs to leave home
to do it. All he needs is access to his computer.
BECAUSEHECAN premiered at the 1999 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of
Louisville before moving to New York, it played under the title
Y2K. At that time, news stories reflected the fear of
computers crashing because of a date change, but Kopit's play explores the
possible damage when the computers stay on.
Instead of the Y2K scare, the
inspiration for his play came from the political arena, in particular when
Kenneth Starr tried to subpoena the records showing what books Monica Lewinsky
had bought. Kopit condemns the impulse to "define the totality of a person's
life by a certain aspect [of that life]." He sees this as a step in
intimidation, the kind of intimidation that Joseph Elliott falls victim to in
his play now titled BECAUSEHECAN
"Nobody should worry when you buy books that your choice of literature will be
used against you, as if what you read or saw or like to hear defined you in some
way," Kopit has said. "What can they derive from that? And if they know things
about us based on data, what happens when they start falsifying the data, and
you cannot prove they have falsified it?"
Financial assistance has been
provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and
the Allied Arts Foundation.