Inside [Julia] Izumi’s magic act, her tricks become the place of cultural invention. Through farce, Izumi teaches audiences new ways to grieve, new ways to resist categorization, and the oversimplification of a personal origin story.
The following reflections are from three women close to the playwright, all of whom met Stout in different stages of life (elementary childhood, college, etc.). Here, they offer reflections on the work in context with the woman who wrote it.
I used to love introducing myself to people. I loved it because they inevitably asked what I did, and I gleefully got to tell them that I worked in theater.
In May 2020, I got a cold email from an Off-Broadway theater. It was an offer to assistant direct a new play that I was really excited about. The play was scheduled to go up in October 2020 — which, at the time, was when the optimists among us expected things in the theater industry to get better. I jumped on board, participating in a flurry of conceptual discussions and design meetings. As hard as the summer of 2020 was, at least I had something to look forward to.
What am I scared of? Before we make theater, we sit in a room together. I’m scared of the generation that is coming to the fore in the arts.
"My sense was always that newspapers were the training ground and the ladder for me. I always thought I would spend my entire career in newspapers."
I have also always been a very attentive learner. So if an editor made a change, I thought about why that change was made, and I learned from my mistakes.
"Can you believe I just started the outlet and then started the training program that same year? I can't believe I had the audacity."
We, Julius Rea (arts producer & writer), Sharon Shao (actress, musician, arts educator), and Erin Bregman (playwright & librettist), saw Christopher Chen’s The Headlands at ACT. We’ve all been part of the Bay Area theater community for a long time, but haven't worked together (or known each other well) until now.
On the seventh floor of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, I found myself with eleven strangers sitting in a bare room containing only chairs, a sheet of plywood with a stack of cards, a coat rack and a table to gather our things.