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'Hideous Progeny' - Written and Directed by BC Alumnae - On Stage in Boston Through July 23

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (July 2011) - It was a dreary night outside the Villa Diadoti on Lake Geneva in 1816, The Year Without a Summer. Inside, Mary Wollestonecraft Godwin longs for home, domestic stability, and peace of mind. As the storm rages on...Lord Byron issues his infamous challenge to write a ghost story that is both frightening and original.

poster for 'Hideous Progeny'

The events that would lead Mary Shelley to write her Gothic classic Frankenstein in 1818 are the focus of Hideous Progeny, which is on stage through July 23 at The Boston Playwright Theater - and is a production with a number of BC connections.

The play, based on the journals, letters and works of Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley and deemed "a seamless blend of fact and fantasy ... [accomplishing] for the Romantics what Tom Stoppard did for Elizabethans in 'Shakespeare In Love'” by Time Out Chicago - was written by playwright and writer Emily Dendinger, a 2005 alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It is directed by classmate Krista D'Agostino '05, producing artistic director and director in residence at Holland Productions, which she co-founded with Dendinger and several others in 2006 to promote the female voice on Boston’s stage.

D'Agostino - who was president of the Dramatics Society during her years at BC - directed the company’s inaugural production, Dendinger’s Swimming After Dark, which was first staged at Robsham Theater in 2005 as part of the Theater Department's "New Voices" production of plays by student authors.

Dendinger, whose works have been produced throughout the country, is playwright in residence at Holland Productions and a co-producer for the Inch Worm Playreading Series in Chicago, which is devoted to sponsoring developmental playreadings for young playwrights.

"From the day Emily arrived on the BC campus, she made her determination to become a playwright known," said Associate Professor of Theater and department chair Scott Cummings, who noted that this fall Dendinger will enter the highly-regarded MFA program in playwriting at the University of Iowa. "It is so exciting to see her efforts come to fruition."

D'Agostino has produced and directed numerous plays for Holland Productions, as well as for for the Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop, Boston Actors Theater and The Boston Theatre Marathon.

Costumes for Hideous Progeny were designed by Jacqueline Dalley, an adjunct assistant professor in BC's Theater Department. In addition to designing costumes for productions for BC Theater and teaching courses, Dalley has designed costumes for more than 150 productions ranging from children’s theater to opera, as well as for many water-ski and dive shows for Sea World.

Boston Playwrights Theater is at 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Performance times and tickets here

--Patricia Delaney is deputy director of the Office of News & Public Affairs;