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Theater Professor Brings ‘Finish Line’ to the Stage

Play about marathon bombings has roots in the classroom

Story Series
News Feature

Lisa Rafferty believes theater can be a powerful tool to document real life events. Through her new play about the Boston Marathon bombing, the visiting lecturer in theater is demonstrating that potential.

Finish Line, now premiering as a co-production of the Boch Center and Boston Theater Company, is a documentary play that tells the story of the 2013 Marathon tragedy and its aftermath through the eyes of people who lived it.


The play, which has gained attention as the anniversary of the Marathon bombings approaches, is based on 95 interviews that Rafferty, co-creator Joey Frangieh, and volunteers undertook with survivors, first responders, and others directly affected by the event. Their actual words are spoken by a cast of 12 actors.


“With every person we interviewed, the importance of providing a platform for these stories would come through” Ms. Rafferty said. “It’s not just a story of what happened that day, it’s what happened over the next year as we saw the rediscovery and resilience of the community that arose from that day.”


Ms. Rafferty, who has been writing, directing, and producing plays for two decades, said the inspiration for Finish Line was a “teaching moment” she had in one of her BSU classes the day after the bombings.

The class coincidentally was then learning about documentary theater and “I told them if you are going to create theater about what happened yesterday, you have to talk to the people who were there,” Ms. Rafferty said. “At that moment, I knew that I wanted to do it.”

Ms. Rafferty said she hopes that the play, which does not depict the bombers, will spur people to remember that day as a time when “goodness was the last word, not evil.”


Performances through Sunday, March 26.  

The theater is running a special promotion called, “Pay What Your Heart Feels.” Anyone can buy tickets the day of the show in person at the box office for as little as $3. Proceeds from the show benefit the Martin Richard Foundation. Tickets and information can be found here. (Photos: Paul Marotta, courtesy of Boch Marketing/Wang & Shubert Team)

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