Texas State graduate Boulanger
directs prize-winning play near home
Texas State graduate John Boulanger was profiled by Michelle Villarreal in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Sunday, as his play “House of Several Stories” finished its run:
Ingleside native John Boulanger wrote the play “House of Several Stories” in 2007. Two years later, Boulanger won national playwriting awards for the play, and it was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Not bad for a master’s thesis at Texas State University. His then-three-act comedic script thrived into a full production, which is being performed at Harbor Playhouse.
“This play will hopefully live for 40 years, but it needed to go home before it can go anywhere else,” Boulanger said. “House of Several Stories” is a comedy about a dysfunctional family during Thanksgiving. It explores how families share and relive past events through stories, but each person has a different interpretation.
The play won the National Student Playwriting Award in 2009 in the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center and the 2010 David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award.
“It sticks to the bones of people that get to see it,” Boulanger said.
Different directors worked on the production when it was performed at Texas State University and the Kennedy Center. When Boulanger brought it back to Texas, he decided to sit in the director’s chair.
“When they produced it at Texas State I got to see it through another director’s eyes,” Boulanger said. “But something stuck with me. I wondered what it would be like for the audience to see it through my eyes.”
Daniel Wallace, who plays Bastian, said the workload was more than he was used to because Boulanger paid special attention to dialogue and tone, but it was a challenge that made him a stronger performer.
“The message the playwright instills in his text is adapted by the director,” Wallace said. “So whenever you eliminate that middle point, you have the original intent of each line.”
Boulanger’s next play will be an Austin production this summer. He hasn’t written it yet, he said.
“My first piece was a happy accident,” he said, “but I’m also just as scared for my next piece.”