Beware of spies bringing ‘Blood and Gifts’ at La Jolla Playhouse

By Katherine Poythress

Billed as “part spy thriller, part black comedy,” “Blood and Gifts” by American playwright J.T. Rogers will make its West Coast premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse, June 12-July 8.

Directed by Lucie Tiberghien, the play takes audiences on a journey beyond the political headlines of the official Soviet-Afghan war that lasted from 1981 to 1991, and into the secret spy war behind it.

At its heart, the play is also about the political seeds that were sown for the infamous Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil, said Playhouse Resident Dramaturg Shirley Fishman.

Both political and personal, the theatrical historic fiction follows CIA operative James Warnock (played by Kelly AuCoin) as he deals with his British and Russian counterparts while trying to shut down Soviet control of Afghanistan. In the process, it reveals the sacrifices made by spies like him to protect American interests in the war.

“It tells the toll that these kind of covert actions take on relationships and the people making them, and it’s all played out against the backdrop of this very heated, political war that’s going on in a foreign country,” Fishman explained.

The story takes place in a variety of cultural settings — from Afghanistan and Soviet Russia to 1980s-era Washington, D.C. — providing the creative team with plenty of opportunities to delight audiences with culturally and historically accurate costumes and sounds.

Fishman said her favorite part about “Blood and Gifts” is that it operates on so many different levels. The script is gripping, with a balance of sharp humor and crisp dialogue. That, mixed with metaphors of gifts and games, provides for a thought-provoking story.

“Although it’s a political flashpoint over the course of 10 years, it’s also very entertaining,” she said.

Rogers is one of the few American playwrights still writing about politics, and “Blood and Gifts” is his first work to debut at the La Jolla Playhouse, Fishman said, but it continues the Playhouse’s long history of dealing with politics through plays.

Related posts:

  1. La Jolla Playhouse’s Ashley, Broadway production of ‘Memphis’ up for eight Tony Awards
  2. La Jolla Playhouse to launch honoree program at gala
  3. La Jolla Playhouse announces new board chair, officers
  4. La Jolla Playhouse foundation receives $900K grant
  5. Playhouse commissions Wright to adapt ‘Creditors’

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jun 7, 2012. Filed under Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6






  • Is Impact Investing the Way of the Future?
    By Chris L. Meacham, CPA, Cornerstone Wealth Management The next generation of investors is estimated to inherit $41 trillion from the baby boomers, and trends are revealing that impact investing will not only be part of mainstream wealth management, but it may become the core-portfolio. With that in mind, some of the biggest names in […]
  • Jerome Strack named General Manager of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
    Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has named Jerome Strack general manager for The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, the historic hotel located near San Diego. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is part of Benchmark Hospitality’s Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels brand collection. Greg Champion, executive vice presiden […]
  • ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fashion show in Rancho Santa Fe to benefit Mitchell Thorp fund
    The Pillars of Hope Under the Tuscan Sun Charity Fashion Show, benefiting the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, will be held “under the stars, al fresco” from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at Cielo Village, 18029 Calle Ambiente, Rancho Santa Fe. The event will include the Pillar of Hope Awards presentation, Tuscan cuisine, wine and beer tasting, a Couture Men a […]