Wednesday-Friday: "M. Butterfly"

Sept. 6-Oct. 8

Over the summer, Everyman Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Vincent Lancisi met the disgraced French diplomat whose story is the basis for Lancisi's next directorial project—totally by chance. While vacationing in France, Lancisi told the Washington Post, he rode in a tour van whose driver and guide, it turns out, used to drive for Bernard Boursicot. One thing led to another, and Lancisi was invited to Boursicot’s nursing home along with actor Bruce Randolph Nelson, who will play the character inspired by Boursicot, and others from the Everyman team. There, they heard Boursicot’s story firsthand, acquiring a valuable perspective to inform their production of David Henry Hwang's Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning 1988 drama, "M. Butterfly." This kind of insight is particularly useful because Boursicot's story is almost too sensational to believe: In 1986, Boursicot was convicted of espionage in a honeypot trap along with his longtime lover, a Chinese opera singer, who at their trial Boursicot discovered was not a woman, as he had believed for the course of their nearly 20-year affair, but a male spy who convinced Boursicot to pass along secrets from the French Embassy. Yeah. Jeremy Irons played Boursicot in a film adaption and the play has been performed for 30 years, but with this happenstance meeting, Everyman holds a unique position in retelling the story. Through Oct. 8, Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette St., (410) 752-2208,, $25-$65. (Maura Callahan)

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