Pioneer Theatre Company premiers directors' new play

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Pioneer Theatre Company is staging a world premiere written by its artistic director. "The Yellow Leaf" is based on historic events that are still shaping our pop culture.

In the play's first scene, Mary Shelley says, "The more I labor to find the idea, the more elusive it becomes." But a few nights later, she finds the idea and writes a work for the ages: "Frankenstein." Another in her group eventually pens the first vampire novel.

In 1816, Percy and Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and their friends fled a scandal in England and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland. For 20 years, Chuck Morey was fascinated by this moment in history, and now his theater company is producing his world premiere.

"These two kind of huge, cultural myths: Dracula and the Frankenstein, which sort of surround our modern culture were created in this same place, same spot, same time from the same impulse, which was Byron suggesting 'Let's all write a ghost story,'" Morey explained.

It is a moment in literary history, but both the playwright and the director agree this play also has to be entertainment. "Although a play about these historical figures, is also highly entertaining, I believe that the theater is one of the most dangerous and valuable forms of art. Therefore, we have to do plays like ‘The Yellow Leaf,'" guest director Geoffrey Sherman said.

"The Yellow Leaf" is Lord Byron's last poem: The end of a life, the end of an era that influences even today's generation.

"The Yellow Leaf" opens tomorrow night at Pioneer Memorial Theatre at the University of Utah and runs through Jan. 24. For a schedule and ticket information, CLICK HERE.

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Carole Mikita


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