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Since 1961, New York City's La MaMa Experimental Theatre has changed the face of theater as we know it from Broadway and beyond. Many of the best known plays and playwrights of the 1960s and '70s found their roots at La MaMa's stages and workshops on New York's Lower East side. Director George Ferencz has been with La MaMa for 30 years and has directed hundreds of plays at the influential cultural institution. In a visit to the SIUC campus in spring 2008, Ferencz talked with Susan Patrick Benson, a former member of La MaMa and a faculty member in SIUC's Department of Theater, about how the group has become an international leader in experimental theater. Ferencz directed Benson in the lead role of the Karen Sunde play The Fastest Woman Alive both at La MaMa and in a new version at SIUC's Christian Moe Laboratory Theater earlier this year. The play tells the story of record-setting pilot Jackie Cochran.
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