Howard Korder's 'Garden' Variety

SCR's production of his 'In a Garden' explores the 'messy underpinnings of creating something wonderful'

Though Korder wrote In a Garden two years ago while playwright-in-residence at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, the idea had been percolating for some 17 years, after he read a New Yorker article about an Iraqi father-son architect team’s experience in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Much like the American architect in his play, the senior Iraqi architect was given an offer to help rebuild Babylon in the 1980s.

In a Garden begins with an architect striking that deal. It ends amid the dust of personal and national wreckage that, surprisingly, maintains a sense of the question of beauty that sparked it all in the first place. And in typical fashion for one of the most trenchant dramatic writers of his time, Korder leaves it up to the audience to determine whether the beauty that remains is a potentially flowering seed or the last vestige of a slowly expiring germ.

Table talk: Korder (left) with actor Mark Harelik and director David Warren
Kevin Bohn/SCR
Table talk: Korder (left) with actor Mark Harelik and director David Warren

In a Garden at South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555; www.scr.org. Opens for previews Sun. Tues.-Fri., 7:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 & 7:45 p.m. Through March 28. $20-$65.

This article appeared in print as "Garden Variety: Playwright Howard Korder’sIn a Garden explores the ‘messy underpinnings of creating something wonderful.’"
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