Running January 25 – February 18th, get your tickets HERE.
“Childs and Greer’s comic skills have only grown with time, and they give ample evidence here of their status as Philadelphia living treasures”
The Flatlanders Written by Bruce Graham Starring Jennifer Childs and Scott Greer
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer
A Poconos blizzard puts a chill on a couple’s relationship in this brisk comedic romp. Stuck in a cabin belonging to total strangers, “flatlanders” Ronnie and Michael uncover truths, secrets, and new ways to heat things up between them. But will their relationship weather the storm?
Shattered Globe Theatre’s new play, Flood, is about family issues—parents who don’t understand their children, children who never call home, elderly parents who ignore the realities of today’s world. There may be nothing new about that, but the clever script by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen starts a smart, lightning-quick conversation about the looming climate disaster. The result is an entertaining play that will make you wince in recognition of its righteousness.
Flood is skillfully directed by Kenneth Prestininzi. His staging creates dueling scenes between parents Edith and Darren, apparently living in the 1950s, and adult son and daughter Edith Junior and Darren Junior, in today’s world—or in the future. In their world, the water is rising, rising, rising but Edith (Linda Reiter) and Darren (H.B. Ward) can’t see that from their 19th floor apartment. Darren is obsessively building his wooden matchstick masterpiece and ignores Edith’s pleas for him to finish so they can have a cup of tea, sit side by side, and look out the window at their beautiful view.
Meanwhile, Darren Junior (Carl Collins) and Edith Junior (Sarah Patin) call home on the available tin-can phone system and desperately ask to talk to their father. But Darren is too busy and will call later, after he finishes his masterpiece.
Playwright Deen’s script features plenty of examples of theater of the absurd and may even remind you of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth with its climate disaster theme. His stage directions specify that Darren wears a mask that covers most of his face; the playwright notes that the mask is “something we see and he does not.” At times during the play, the wall behind Darren’s worktable becomes a window that displays clouds, a heavy rainstorm or other inclement weather. (Projection design is by Smooch Medina.)
Chicago theater veterans Reiter (London Road, Rose) and Ward (Rock n Roll, Chimerica) provide compelling, realistic performances as Edith and Darren. (I almost didn’t recognize Ward without his mustache.) Collins’ and Patin’s roles are smaller but give them the opportunity to display their comic talents.
Lauren Nichols’ scenic design perfectly represents a mid-century living room (that starburst wall clock!), properly lit by Jared Gooding. Danny Rockett’s sound design, which we always appreciate in his role as resident sound designer at Trap Door Theatre, brings eerie and watery sounds as the flood approaches. Yvonne Miranda’s costume designs are especially clever in preparing Edith and Darren Junior for the watery end of the world. I also admired her choice of Edith’s spectator pumps.
Deen’s script shows his talent for sharp, witty dialogue and realistic character conflict. His other plays include The Betterment Society, The Vessel and The Shaking Earth. Director Prestininzi directed Flood in its world premiere at Kansas City Rep in 2022; Chicago actors Laura Fisher and Matt DeCaro starred. He teaches at Connecticut College and the National Theater Institute and has directed plays across the US and in other countries.
Flood by Shattered Globe Theatre continues through March 9 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $15-$52 for performances Thursday-Sunday. Buy tickets and get more info at sgtheatre.org or call the Theater Wit box office at 773-975-8150,
Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage has announced the cast and creative team for the world premiere of Kia Corthron’s Tempestuous Elements. The production will run at the Mead Center for American Theater’s Fichandler Stage February 16-March 17, 2024.
Tempestuous Elements explores the trailblazing career of Black feminist Anna Julia Cooper, who served as principal of D.C.’s historic M Street School at the turn of the 20th century. While facing sabotage attempts from colleagues and neighbors, Cooper fights for her students’ right to an advanced curriculum and greater education equity. Psalmayene 24 will direct.
The cast features Kelly Renee Armstrong (Our War), Peter Boyer (Holiday), Renea S. Brown (Change Agent) Gina Daniels (Roe), Jasmine Joy (POTUS), Paul Morella (All My Sons), Kevin E. Thorne II (Seven Guitars), Renee Elizabeth Wilson (Seven Guitars), Joel Ashur (Confederates), Ro Boddie (The Mountaintop), Jonathan Del Palmer (The Winter’s Tale), Brittney Dubose (The Window King), Yetunde Felix-Ukwu (Nollywood Dreams), Lolita Marie (The Brothers Paranormal), and Monique Paige (Breath, Boom).
“I was researching my play Fish, about the contemporary public school system, when I came across legendary writer/activist/speaker and primarily educator Anna Julia Cooper,” Corthron says. “She was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and lived to be 105, so had a long career. I was especially interested in her tenure as principal/teacher at D.C.’s renowned M Street School in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. So, when Arena Stage offered me a commission for a new play (the subject matter was up to me), I was eager to explore this Washington treasure.”
The creative team includes set designer Tony Cisek, costume designer LeVonne Lindsay, lighting designer William K. D’Eugenio, hair and wig designer LaShawn Melton, choreographer and associate director Tony Thomas, dialect and vocal coach Lisa Nathans, text director Anita Maynard-Losh, dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zöe, casting director Joseph Pinzon, stage manager Christi B. Spann, and assistant stage manager Jalon Payton. The production also features original music and sound design by Lindsay Jones.
Tempestuous Elements is presented as part of Arena Stage’s Power Play Initiative, which commissions original works on politics and power in American history. The initiative focuses particularly on works which emphasize presidential, African American, and/or female voices; musicals that celebrate political ideas and events; or plays that present an exclusive perspective on the complex workings of American institutions or cultures.
The seventh annual Berkshire Theatre Critics Association Awards, known as the Berkies took place this week, where a total of 27 awards in 22 categories were presented for shows that were produced between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2023 at theaters in and around the Berkshires.
The Sally and Robert Sugarman Award for a world premiere of a new play or musical was presented to playwright Mark St. Germain for The Happiest Man on Earth, produced by Barrington Stage Company. Kenneth Tigar’s performance in St. Germain’s play as concentration camp survivor Eddie Jaku earned him the award for outstanding solo performance.
Winners were announced Monday, Nov. 13, in ceremonies at Zion Lutheran Church on First Street, hosted by BTCA president J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin.