The following remarks were made by playwright Lila Rose Kaplan at MRT’s Set the Stage Celebration on June 9, 2017, where she received the Artistic Achievement Award:
I am proud to call MRT my Artistic Home. I’ve worked at many theatres across the country and you guys have something special here. Sean’s relentless optimism and his genuine belief in those around him make MRT a wonderful place to work. He’ll never admit it, but he’s got some serious superpowers when it comes to running a theatre. Sean truly believes in his artists and his audience members and he teaches us how to believe in each other. We are living in a time filled with uncertainty and more than ever artists and audiences need each other. We need places like MRT where we can come together to laugh and cry about the world where we live. Between the Cohort Club and the Young People’s Company – MRT provides a home for the whole community to come together around the ritual of storytelling. I believe we tell stories to understand the world around us. And MRT provides us with compelling, entertaining and heartfelt stories to help us make sense of our current moment. I am delighted that my plays are part of the wonderful seasons Sean and his team have created.
And then there’s you. You guys are a wonderful audience. You love to laugh, you have good taste and you’re honest. You’re also kind of cute. I think I might be in love. You see, there’s a lot of speed dating that happens when you’re starting out as a playwright. You have lots of one night stands at different theatres. You never know who’s going to call you back…. And I’m terrible at dating. I’ve basically had two long relationships, one of which resulted in a happy marriage and a child – so, speed dating is really not my thing. And Sean gets it. He gets that artists and audiences both thrive when there is a visible commitment to them. And he’s right. MRT is unique. There are no other theaters doing so much excellent new work for such an engaged audience. And the word is out about us. I travel a lot and everywhere I go people in the theatre know what’s going on here in Lowell at MRT. Sean is truly creating a local theatre with a national reputation and I am proud to be a part of that.
I am full of so much gratitude tonight. I want to thank the fabulous staff of MRT for making me feel so welcome and all the work they do. I want to thank the First lady of MRT Veronika for always being my leading lady and a trusted friend. I want to thank my sister Jenny April and my husband Jarrett, who are both here tonight. They are my midnight dramaturges and my best friends. I don’t know what I’d do without them. And finally, I want to thank you for being a part of being the MRT family and being here tonight. I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.
–Lila Rose Kaplan, Playwright
Lila Rose Kaplan’s new comedy The Villains’ Supper Club opens at MRT April 25, 2018