Friday, April 28, 2017

Off-Broadway Theater Review: The Profane

Lanna Joffrey, Tala Ashe and Francis Benhamou. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Profane
By Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Kip Fagan
Playwrights Horizons
Extended through May 7

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
The world premiere of a new play by Zayd Dohrn exploring just how far tolerance will stretch. Emina (Tala  Ashe) and Sam (Babak Tafti) are in love and want to get married. There's just one problem (well, more than one). Sam's parents, Peter and Carmen Osman (Ramsey Faragallah and Lanna Joffrey), are old school when it comes to religion: daily prayers on their prayer rugs and head covering for Carmen. Emina's folks, Raif (Ali Reza Farahnakian) and Naja (Heather Raffo) Almedin
are much more modern -- and Americanized. Their older daughter. Aisa (Francis Banhamou, who plays a dual role) is a bartender and likes to party a lot. She hides her lesbian leanings from them, but talks about everything with her sister, whose attraction to conservative Sam she doesn't understand. Neither do her parents. Naja had hopes that Emina would follow in her steps as a dancer and for Raif, a dissident novelist, his daughter's embracing traditions on which he turned his back is his worst nightmare. 

"I know these people," he says angrily -- before the two families meet.

While Sam waivers in his own devotion to the faith, Emina embraces it and feels more at home with the Osmans, even when Sam's secret, which could split the couple up for good, is revealed.

What Are the Highlights?
Dohrn writes compelling characters propelled by human emotion rather than a political agenda (kudos!). The play raises questions about how far tolerance stretches, but also about how much the people we become are the product of our parents and how much we take our freedoms for granted. Its timely and shows that prejudice isn't only found among white Americans.

Director Kip Fagan steers strong performances across the board.

Takeshi Kata's set creates the completely different homes for both families and then provides a nice side transition toward the end.

What Are the Lowlights?
The theme of how these folks might have encountered prejudices from non Muslim Americans might have been interesting to explore. It's a little hard to know why Emina has embraced Islam so easily.

More Information:
The Profane has been extended through May 7 at Playwright Horizons, 416 West 42nd St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 2 and 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2 pm. playwrightshorizons.org
 
Additional credits:
Costume Design by Jessica Pabst; Lighting Design by Matt Frey; Sound Design by Brandon Wolcott.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- Language
-- God's name taken in vain

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dolly, Anastasia, Come From Away Lead Drama Desk Nominations

2017 DRAMA DESK AWARD NOMINATIONS
 
Outstanding Play
If I Forget, by Steven Levenson, Roundabout Theatre Company
Indecent, by Paula Vogel, Vineyard Theatre
A Life, by Adam Bock, Playwrights Horizons
Oslo, by J. T. Rogers, Lincoln Center Theater
Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, The Public Theater
 
Outstanding Musical
Anastasia
The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
Come From Away
Hadestown, New York Theatre Workshop
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
 
Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Front Page
The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club
The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
 "Master Harold"... and the Boys, Signature Theatre Company
Picnic, Transport Group Theatre Company
 
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Falsettos, Lincoln Center Theater
Hello, Dolly!
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweet Charity, The New Group
Tick, Tick...BOOM!, Keen Company
 
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bobby Cannavale, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Daniel Craig, Othello, New York Theatre Workshop
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
David Hyde Pierce, A Life, Playwrights Horizons
John Douglas Thompson, Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club
 
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2
Amy Ryan, Love, Love, Love, Roundabout Theatre Company
Harriet Walter, The Tempest, St. Ann's Warehouse
 
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nick Blaemire, Tick, Tick...BOOM!, Keen Company
Jon Jon Briones, Miss Saigon
Nick Cordero, A Bronx Tale
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
 
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Christy Altomare, Anastasia
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Sutton Foster, Sweet Charity, The New Group
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Laura Osnes, Bandstand
 
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo, Lincoln Center Theater
Danny DeVito, The Price, Roundabout Theatre Company
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Jeremy Shamos, If I Forget, Roundabout Theatre Company
Justice Smith, Yen, MCC Theater
 
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll's House, Part 2
Randy Graff, The Babylon Line, Lincoln Center Theater
Marie Mullen, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, BAM
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
Emily Skinner, Picnic
Kate Walsh, If I Forget, Roundabout Theatre Company
 
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Jeffry Denman, Kid Victory, Vineyard Theatre
George Salazar, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Ari'el Stachel, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos, Lincoln Center Theater
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos, Lincoln Center Theater
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia
Nora Schell, Spamilton
 
Outstanding Director of a Play
Richard Jones, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Anne Kauffman, A Life, Playwrights Horizons
Richard Nelson, What Did You Expect?/Women  of a Certain Age, The Public Theater
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club
Daniel Sullivan, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
Daniel Sullivan, If I Forget, Roundabout Theatre Company
 
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Bill Buckhurst, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
David Cromer, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!
 
Outstanding Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly!
Aletta Collins, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, Roundabout Theatre Company
 
Outstanding Music
Stephen Flaherty, Anastasia
Dave Malloy, Beardo, Pipeline Theatre Company
Richard Oberacker, Bandstand
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
David Yazbek, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
 
Outstanding Lyrics
Gerard Alessandrini, Spamilton
GQ and JQ, Othello: The Remix
Michael Korie, War Paint
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
David Yazbek, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Terrence McNally, Anastasia
Itamar Moses, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
Richard Oberacker, Bandstand
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
Joe Tracz, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
 
Outstanding Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Anastasia
Bruce Coughlin, War Paint
Benjamin Cox, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
August Eriksmoen, Come From Away
Jamshied Sharifi, The Band's Visit, Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Music in a Play
Daniel Ocanto, Graham Ulicny, and Sean Smith, Alligator, New Georges in collaboration with the Sol Project
Marcus Shelby, Notes from the Field, Second Stage
Bill Sims Jr., Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club

Outstanding Revue
Hello Dillie!, 59E59
Life is for Living: Conversations with Coward, 59E59
 
Outstanding Set Design for a Play
David Gallo, Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Laura Jellinek, A Life, Playwrights Horizons
Stewart Laing, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
 
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Lez Brotherston, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, St. Ann's Warehouse
Simon Kenny, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Jason Sherwood, The View UpStairs
 
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Jane Greenwood, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Murell Horton, The Liar, CSC
Toni-Leslie James, Jitney, Manhattan Theatre Club
Stewart Laing, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Ann Roth, The Front Page
 
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Toni-Leslie James, Come From Away
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Anita Yavich, The View UpStairs
Paloma Young, Bandstand
Catherine Zuber, War Paint
 
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent, Vineyard Theatre
James Farncombe, The Tempest, St. Ann's Warehouse
Rick Fisher, The Judas Kiss, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Mimi Jordan Sherin, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
Stephen Strawbridge, "Master Harold"...and the Boys, Signature Theatre Company
Justin Townsend, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
 
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Jeff Croiter, Bandstand
Mark Henderson, Sunset Boulevard
Bradley King, Hadestown, New York Theatre Workshop
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Amy Mae, Sweeney Todd: The Barber of Fleet Street
Malcolm Rippeth, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, St. Ann's Warehouse

Outstanding Projection Design
Reid Farrington, CasablancaBox, HERE
Elaine McCarthy, Notes from the Field, Second Stage
Jared Mezzocchi, Vietgone, Manhattan Theatre Club*
John Narun, Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia
 
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Mikhail Fiksel, A Life, Playwrights Horizons
Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, The Encounter
Brian Quijada, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Radio Drama Network
Leon Rothenberg, Notes from the Field, Second Stage
Jane Shaw, Men on Boats, Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb
Matt Stine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
 
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Simon Baker, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, St. Ann's Warehouse
Peter Hylenski, Anastasia
Scott Lehrer, Hello, Dolly!
Nicholas Pope, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Mick Potter, Cats
Brian Ronan, War Paint
 
Outstanding Wig and Hair
David Brian Brown, War Paint
Campbell Young Associates, Hello, Dolly!
John Jared Janas, Yours Unfaithfully, Mint Theatre Company
Jason Hayes, The View UpStairs
Josh Marquette, Present Laughter
Tom Watson, The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club
 
Outstanding Solo Performance
Nancy Anderson, The Pen (Inner Voices), Premieres
Ed Dixon, Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Marin Ireland, On the Exhale, Roundabout Underground
Sarah Jones, Sell/Buy/Date, Manhattan Theatre Club
Brian Quijada, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Radio Drama Network
Anna Deavere Smith, Notes from the Field, Second Stage
 
Unique Theatrical Experience
CasablancaBox, HERE
The Paper Hat Game, The Tank/3-Legged Dog
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, National Theatre of Scotland
The Ephemera Trilogy, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
 
Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Yen, MCC Theatre
Donal O'Farrell, Quietly, Irish Repertory Theatre
Michael Rossmy and Rick Sordelet, Troilus and Cressida, New York Shakespeare Festival
Thomas Schall, Othello, New York Theatre Workshop
Thomas Schall, The Hairy Ape, Park Avenue Armory
U. Jonathan Toppo, Sweat, The Public Theatre
 
Outstanding Adaptation
David Ives, The Liar, Classic Stage Company
Ellen McLaughlin, The Trojan Women, The Flea Theatre
 
Outstanding Puppet Design
Basil Twist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lyndie Wright, Sarah Wright, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, St. Ann's Warehouse
 
 
SPECIAL AWARDS:
 
Outstanding Ensemble
The Wolves, The Playwrights Realm: The superbly talented cast of Sarah DeLappe's debut play -Mia Barron, Brenna Coates, Jenna Dioguardi, Samia Finnerty, Midori Francis, Lizzy Jutila, Sarah Mezzanotte, Tedra Millan, Lauren Patten, and Susannah Perkins-jelled as one, proving that team spirit is just a alive on the stage as it is on the soccer field.

Special Award to Phil LaDuca: Proving that character comes from the ground up, the designer's innovative flexible dance shoe ensures that hoofers on any stage remain on point.

Sam Norkin Award: Lila Neugebauer:  During a season that saw her helm the original worksThe AntipodesEverybody, Miles For Maryand The Wolves, and resurrect the works of esteemed playwrights Edward Albee, Maria Irene Fornes, and Adrienne Kennedy inSignature Plays, director Lila Neugebauer has shown that her dauntless insight into the human condition knows no bounds.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Anastasia Leads Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

Anastasia at Hartford Stage. Photo: Joan Marcus
Outer Critics Circle
2016-2017 Award Nominations

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo
Sweat

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
Anastasia
A Bronx Tale
Come From Away
Groundhog Day
Holiday Inn

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
If I Forget
Incognito
A Life
Linda
Love, Love, Love

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
The Band’s Visit
Hadestown
Himself and Nora
Kid Victory
Spamilton

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Terrence McNally     Anastasia
Itamar Moses     The Band’s Visit
Chazz Palminteri     A Bronx Tale
Danny Rubin    Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein     Come From Away

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens     Anastasia
Alan Menken & Glenn Slater     A Bronx Tale
Tim Minchin    Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein     Come From Away
David Yazbek     The Band’s Visit

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Front Page
Jitney
The Little Foxes
Othello
The Price
  
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Finian’s Rainbow
Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon
Sunset Boulevard
Sweeney Todd

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Lila Neugebauer     The Wolves
Jack O’Brien     The Front Page
Daniel Sullivan     The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman    Indecent
Kate Whoriskey     Sweat

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Christopher Ashley    Come From Away
David Cromer     The Band’s Visit
Darko Tresnjak    Anastasia
Matthew Warchus    Groundhog Day
Jerry Zaks     Hello, Dolly!

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Andy Blankenbuehler    Bandstand
Warren Carlyle     Hello, Dolly!
Savion Glover     Shuffle Along
Kelly Devine     Come From Away
Denis Jones     Holiday Inn

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Alexander Dodge    Anastasia
Nigel Hook     The Play That Goes Wrong
Mimi Lien     Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Scott Pask     The Little Foxes
Douglas W. Schmidt    The Front Page

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Linda Cho     Anastasia
Susan Hilferty     Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto     Hello, Dolly!
Ann Roth     Shuffle Along
Catherine Zuber     War Paint

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical)Christopher Akerlind    Indecent
Donald Holder    Anastasia
Natasha Katz     Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King     Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Kenneth Posner     War Paint

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN
(Play or Musical)Duncan McLean    Privacy
Jared Mezzocchi    Vietgone
Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions     Oslo
Aaron Rhyne    Anastasia
Tal Yarden     Indecent

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN
(Play or Musical)Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin     The Encounter
Gareth Owen     Come From Away
Nicholas Pope    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Matt Stine     Sweeney Todd
Nevin Steinberg    Bandstand

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS
Doug Besterman    Anastasia
Larry Blank     Holiday Inn
Bill Elliott & Greg Anthony Rassen    Bandstand
Larry Hochman     Hello, Dolly!
Jamshied Sharifi     The Band’s Visit

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Daniel Craig     Othello
Michael Emerson    Wakey, Wakey
Kevin Kline     Present Laughter
David Oyelowo    Othello
David Hyde Pierce     A Life

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Janie Dee     Linda
Sally Field     The Glass Menagerie
Allison Janney     Six Degrees of Separation
Laura Linney     The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf     A Doll’s House, Part 2

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Christian Borle    Falsettos
Nick Cordero     A Bronx Tale
Andy Karl     Groundhog Day
David Hyde Pierce    Hello, Dolly!
Tony Shalhoub     The Band’s Visit

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Christy Altomare    Anastasia
Christine Ebersole    War Paint
Katrina Lenk     The Band’s Visit
Patti LuPone     War Paint
Bette Midler     Hello, Dolly!


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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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