'Collected Stories' to be staged six times at Central Lakes College in Brainerd

'Collected Stories' is a play of friendship, betrayal and identity

Collected Stories_image 1.jpg
"Collected Stories" by Donald Margulies will start its run at Central Lakes College on April 27, 2023.
Contributed / Central Lakes College

BRAINERD — How much of a person's story, particularly the details of their life that is out in public for everyone to see, is truly theirs?

This is one of the central questions in the play "Collected Stories," by Donald Margulies, produced by Brainerd Community Theatre and presented by the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center.

"Collected Stories" will be staged at 7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, April 27-May 6, in the Dryden Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Doors for the two-hour show with intermission will open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at and at the CLC Box Office at 218-855-8199.

This two-character play stars Laura Busch as Ruth, a celebrated author, and explores her six-year relationship with her protégé, Lisa, a talented yet naive writer played by Kryston Wiseley.


The play is directed by Corrine Johnson, a theatre faculty member at Central Lakes College.

Joey Yow, director of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center, credits "Collected Stories" as being particularly relevant to modern times.

“How many of us have uploaded years of details about our personal lives to social media sites under the naïve assumption that only our friends and family would take note or interest?" Yow said in a news release. "As we’ve moved into the era of the mass repurposing of knowledge for the sake of fast reads and entertainment, I find myself so much more protective of what information I share with the world about my family, my accomplishments and my struggles.

"From regurgitated blog posts, analysis writers in media, homemade YouTube reaction videos, and AI-tools scrubbing the internet to create facsimile of human writing, it feels as if we are always having someone else’s thoughts and creations repackaged to us (usually, without credit.)," Yow said. "'Collected Stories' gets right at the heart of our modern conundrum — how much control do we have, or even should expect to have, of our own story, particularly when the cultural expectation is that we freely share that story? How much of what is known about us in the world can be changed or manipulated, and can we ever regain the truth?”

Johnson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and taught at St. Ambrose University, Luther College, Augustana College, the University of Oregon and the University of Minnesota.

As an actress, she most recently played Virginia in "Three Viewings," Linda in "Death of a Salesman," Aunt Julia in "Hedda Gabler," Virginia in "W;t," and Stevie in "The Goat, or Who’s Sylvia?"

Favorite directing experiences include: "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Pippin" and the premiere of "TUG: This Untoward Generation." In 2017, she was awarded the Kennedy Center American College Theatre’s Gold Medallion Award for excellence in theatre education.


"Collected Stories" received its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in 1996, where it won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Production of a Play and Best Original Play. The play was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

"Collected Stories" later premiered Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1997. The production starred Maria Tucci and Debra Messing and was directed by Lisa Peterson. It received the Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Play and was a finalist for the Dramatists Guild/Hull-Warriner Award for Best Play.

In 2010, the play was produced on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, with Linda Lavin and Sarah Paulson in the lead roles. The production was also a critical success, receiving multiple award nominations, including a Tony Award nomination for Linda Lavin.

Margulies is an American playwright and professor of English and Theater Studies at Yale University. He won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "Dinner with Friends" and was a finalist twice before for "Sight Unseen" and "Collected Stories."

His many other plays, which include "Long Lost," "The Country House," "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment," "Brooklyn Boy," the Tony Award-nominated "Time Stands Still" and the Obie Award-winning "The Model Apartment," have been produced on and off-Broadway and in theaters across the United States and around the world.

Margulies has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Margulies is celebrated for his ability to capture the complexity of human relationships and his insightful observations on contemporary life.

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