How the World Began

December 28, 2011 - January 29, 2012

By Catherine Trieschmann
Directed by Daniella Topol

Following the stellar success of her play CROOKED at WP in 2008, Catherine Trieschmann returns with a new play about Susan, a high school biology teacher who leaves Manhattan for a job in Plainview, Kansas. Susan is ready for more than a little culture shock, but she’s not prepared for the firestorm that engulfs the town when she makes an off-handed comment about the origins of the universe.

“Three fine performances in contrasting hues. Directed with a keen focus on the specificity of character by Daniella Topol.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“Catherine Trieschmann’s delicately balanced and stirring new play, directed with grace by Daniella Topol.  Captivating performances by the cast.  Rare and refreshing intelligence.” – The New Yorker

“An insightful and compassionate drama. The playwright is unafraid of portraying difficult women who make mistakes.” – Adam Feldman, Time Out

“Trieschmann amps up the intensity with a steady and pitiless hand. She’s a playwright, and a damned good one. Taking those duties seriously, she funnels us toward a real neck-snap of a conclusion — the earth shakes a little.” – New York Magazine

Catherine Trieschmann

(Playwright) Her plays include The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Crooked, How the World Began, Hot Georgia Sunday and The Most Deserving. Her work has been produced Off-Broadway at Women’s Project Theater, the Bush Theatre (London), Out of Joint at the Arcola Theatre (London), South Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Denver Theater Center, and Florida Stage, among others. She has received commissions from South Coast Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Denver Theatre Center. She is the recipient of the Weissberger Award, the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award from the Inge Theatre Festival, and the Edgerton New Play Award. Her work is published by Samuel French in the U.S. and Methuen in the U.K. She also wrote the screenplay for the film Angel’s Crest, released by Magnolia Pictures. Originally from Athens, Georgia, she now lives in a small town in western Kansas.

Adam LeFevre

(Dwayne Dean) Broadway: Devil’s Disciple; Our Country Good; Summer and Smoke; Footloose; Mamma Mia; Guys and Dolls; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Off-Broadway: Old Friends (Signature Theatre); Him (Primary Stages); How the World Began (Women’s Project Theater); Doctor Dilemma, Cyrano, the Marriage of Bette and Boo, (Roundabout); Goose and Tomtom and Henry V (NYSF). Regional: Alley, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Huntington Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Capital Rep, La Jolla, Westport, Wiliamstown, Yale Rep– new plays and classics. Film: Featured in over 75 films, among them The Return of the Secaucus 7, Only You, The Ref, Fool’s Gold, She’s Out of My League, The Lucky One. TV: “Recount”, “Empire Falls”, HBO; “Storm of the Century”, ABC mini-series; “No Ordinary Baby”, Lifetime, and guest-starring roles in numerous episodics. Writer: Everything All At Once, Wesleyan University Press; Ghost Light, Finishing Line Press; A Swindler’s Grace, forthcoming in 2015 from New Issues Press.


(Director) For Women’s Project: Sheila Callaghan’s Lascivious Something (in partnership with Cherry Lane), Trista Baldwin’s Sand. Upcoming; Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India (Magic Theatre, SF), Stefanie Zadravec’s Electric Baby (Quantum Theatre, PA). Recent productions include: Catherine Treischmann’s How The World Began (South Coast Rep in association with WP), Carla Ching’sSugarhouse at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi Theatre), Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre), Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 (Theatre J, DC), Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End (Epic Theatre), Susan Bernfield’s Stretch:  A Fantasia(People’s Light and Theatre Company), Caridad Svich’s Instructions For Breathing (Passage Theatre), Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City (New Georges), Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard’s Pool Boy (Barrington Stage)and the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Daniella has been the Artistic Program Director of the Lark Play Development Center and the New Works Program Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. She is an NYTW Usual Suspect, an EST Member, a member of the Lark’s Artistic Cabinet and Board of Directors and is a WP Lab alum.


(Susan Pierce) – New York City: Circle Mirror Transformation(Playwrights Horizons; 2010 Theatre World Award, OBIE Award for Ensemble, and Drama Desk Award for ensemble), The Language Archive (The Roundabout), Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (Two-Headed Calf at HERE, OBIE Award for performance); and productions with Target Margin, The Foundry, Clubbed Thumb, 13P, The Talking Band, and SPF. RegionalThe world premiere of In the Wake (Center Theatre Group; Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Top Ten performances of 2010, L.A. Times), The Old Masters at Long Wharf, and plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Empty Space, Bay Street Theatre, New York Stage and Film, Sundance Theatre Lab, On the Boards, Printer’s Devil Theatre in Seattle, and Theater of War in Japan. Film/TV: The Good WifeLaw & Order: SVUHedda Gabler, Perfidia. As a playwright, Heidi’s work has been produced by Rattlestick, New Georges, Printer’s Devil, On The Boards, and Page 73; and published by Samuel French, the New York Theatre Review and Rain City Press.


(Micah Staab) recently graduated from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts with a BFA in acting and is excited to be making his New York debut with Women’s Project. Regional:Twelfth Night as Valentine/Fabian (Westport Country Playhouse directed by Mark Lamos), The Odd Ball as Rick (Mile Square Theater). Favorite MGSA Credits include Marat/Sade as Duperret (Directed by Anders Cato), The Hostage as Leslie (Directed by Sue Lawless) and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe/Sam Wanamaker Festival).


(Scenery & Costumes) – WP: Sand, Transfigures. NY: Public Theater, Second Stage, New York Theater Workshop, Lincoln Center Theater, Mint, Red Bull, Juilliard, Clubbed Thumb, Ma-Yi, Naatco, New Georges, PS122, HERE, others. REGIONAL : Alliance, Guthrie, La Jolla, OSF, CalShakes, ART, Williamstown, Denver Center Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Asolo, Kansas City Rep, Merrimack Rep, Chautauqua, Opera Boston, Opera Theater of St. Louis, many others. INTERNATIONAL: Rijksteatern (Stockholm), Thalia (Bucharest), Teatro Pilipino (Manila), Barbican (London), Kanon (St. Petersburg), O’Reilly (Dublin) HONORS: TDF Irene Sharaff, 2 ATW Henry Hewes Award, Drama Desk Award nom, NYTW Design Fellowship, Audelco, IRNE, Elliot Norton. UPCOMING: When The Rain Stops Falling (LCT, directed by David Cromer), Ruined (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).


(Lights) – With SITI Company: American Document, Antigone, Freshwater, Who Do You Think You Are, Radio Macbeth, Hotel Cassiopeia, Death and the Ploughman, bobrauschenbergamerica (2004 Henry Hewes Design Award), systems/layers, War of the Worlds – The Radio Play.  With Rude Mechanicals: The Method Gun, Lipstick Traces, Big Love, Cherrywood, Matchplay. Classic Stage Company: The Age of Iron, Hamlet, Richard II, Richard III, The Tempest.  With Playwrights Horizons: Dead Man’s Cell Phone.  With NYTW: Songs From an Unmade Bed.


(Sound) – is an award winning sound designer whose work for theater and dance has been heard in over 500 productions nationally and internationally, on Broadway and off. His accolades for sound design include the 2010 Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award, the 2006 Lucille Lortel and AUDELCO Awards, the 2004 and 2005 Henry Hewes Design Award, the Princess Grace, The Village Voice OBIE Award, and the Entertainment Design Magazine EDDY Award. Sound designer and founding member of Anne Bogart’s SITI Company. Former Resident Sound Designer Actors Theater of Louisville and the Williamstown Theater Festival.


(Casting Director) is the Casting Director for Playwrights Horizons and The Huntington Theater in Boston. Theater credits includeDeadman’s Cellphone with Mary Louis Parker (PH), Grey Gardens (PH and Broadway), Walmartopia the musicalKnights of Prosperity (ABC), ED (NBC). Currently in the works is This with Parker Posey at Playwrights Horizons.   She credits Lisa Donadio as co-casting director for How the World Began.


(Assistant Director) is a member of the WP Lab 2010-2012. Recent credits include:  Sladjana Vujovic’s The Tender Mercies (One Year Lease at Teatro Circulo, NYC), Mia McCullough’s Lucinda’s Bed(Chicago Dramatists), Alena Smith’sIt or Her (soloNOVA Arts Festival at PS122, Berkshire Fringe Festival, 2010 Frigid Festival Audience Choice Award, NYC) Jeff Grow’sCreating Illusion (terraNOVA Collective, 2 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, NYC),Johnna Adams’ Angel Eaters (Flux Theatre Ensemble, 6 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominations, NYC), The Children’s Hour (Astoria Performing Arts Center, NYC), as well as many new plays in development at The New Group, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, Red Fern, Diverse City, among others.   She has recently been Staff Repertory Director for The Acting Company, a Director-in-Residence at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and a guest director at Fordham, NYU/Strasberg, NYU/Tisch and Long Island University.  Jessi is a transplant to NYC from Chicago where she lived for eight years working as a freelance director and Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre, an ensemble based company dedicated to developing and producing new plays. She is currently Director of terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers new play development program and an Affiliated Artist of New Georges.  Jessi is a recipient of the Denham Fellowship from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and was recently named a finalist for the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. MFA: Yale School of Drama. Visit

  • How the World Began — Trailer

  • How the World Began – Q & A with Playwright and Director

  • How the World Began – Cast Q & A

  • HOW THE WORLD BEGAN with Adam LeFevre, Heidi Schreck & Justin Kruger
    Photo by Carol Rosegg

  • HOW THE WORLD BEGAN with Adam LeFevre & Justin Kruger
    Photo by Carol Rosegg

  • HOW THE WORLD BEGAN with Adam LeFevre & Heidi Schreck
    Photo by Carol Rosegg

  • HOW THE WORLD BEGAN with Heidi Schreck & Justin Kruger
    Photo by Carol Rosegg