“Our systems are failing us. We must question our privilege, our power structures, and the systems of oppression that echo through our social and economic realities,” said Artistic Director Allison Heishman. “Our 14th Season will bring us back to our home at The Drake with three productions that hold the mirror up to America while providing avenues to advocacy and inspiration for change.”
The company will premiere a new program for community engagement, PlayCircles. Developed by Alexandra King this innovative program works to engage the audience with relevant themes in each unique production, through storytelling and role-playing activities, culminating in a meeting with policy makers to discuss avenues to real change. PlayCircles aims to establish circles of dialogue by combining the disparate practices of playback theatre, forum theatre, and legislative theatre. PlayCircles offers artists and audiences the opportunity for conversation, cohesion, and collective action.
Additionally, following in the footsteps of the company’s friends and fellow Drake Resident Partners at Azuka Theatre, all performances during next season will be Pay What You Decide. After the performance, audience members decide what to pay for their experience, this removes the financial barriers associated with attending theater and provides an opportunity for new audience members to “try it before they buy it.”
The season begins with Simpatico Theatre Projectx: 4Solo, four solo performances in rep that explore the spectrum of maleness in America. The production will be part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and will run September 19-30, 2018. These solo performances work together to explore the repercussions and revelations of our hyper gendered society. These are true stories of tap dancing, the Titanic, Bjork, and broken hearts and include:
Idaho Shuffle written and performed by Jeremy Gable
Directed by Brey Ann Barrett
Jeremy Gable is normally a playwright, but he has this little-known talent as a tap dancer. In The Idaho Shuffle, he talks – or more appropriately, taps – about that hidden passion, and how in his teenage years, it came to both define and corrupt him. It’s a revealing portrait of the different ways masculinity holds power over men, and an honest look at how we let our achievements define us.
The Best of Me written and performed by J. Hernandez and Amanda Schoonover
Directed by Amanda Schoonover
On September 16, 1996, blood had begun to seep through the ceilings of an apartment complex in Hollywood, FL. Police enter the apartment above to find the body of a man covered in grease paint, along with 18 hours of video footage and a note on the wall reading “The Best of Me.” The videotapes … a series of recordings which capture his views on life, love, art, revenge, obsession, loneliness, and death, were confiscated by the FBI in their investigation when they discovered he put into motion an assassination attempt on the life of pop singer, Bjork, in his wake. Later, these videotapes would be released to journalists through their media center. Within a few years, they were anonymously released on YouTube for the entire world to see, where they remain online to this very day. This is Ricardo’s Lopez’s story.
Thomas is Titanic written and performed by Thomas Choinacky
A Kate Winslet obsession launches one man into playing all the parts, including the iceberg, of the blockbuster movie. Witness his untold journey, over-athletic imagination, and devastation with intangible love. Put your life vest on. You might get wet.
LUVR written and performed by Armando Batista
Directed by Ozzie Jones
What happens when you fall in love too easily, and get rejected by the object of your love’s affection? Can you handle the heartache? Can you handle the loneliness? Will you rise from the ashes to find love again? And why does texting suck?! This is the tale of LUVR.
The season continues with the world premiere of celebrated Philadelphia playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger’s CLICK. The University of the Arts Co-Production will run March 27 through April 14. This fast, bright, darkly humorous play follows a group of college students involved in a frat rape that goes viral. As we spin forward in time over a decade, the characters create virtual reality identities that blur time and space; designing new technologies to erase a past that’s impossible to forget, and grappling with the consequences of real life that can’t be changed, no matter how fast you code. It’s a uniquely theatrical Sherlock-ian thriller that explores questions of consent, technology and the shifting ethical boundaries between the two.
Simpatico’s season concludes with Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out, which runs June 5 through June 23. Directed by Tamanya Garza, the production will work in partnership with PAAL (Parent Artist Advocacy League) to create a family friendly rehearsal schedule, child-care opportunities for artists and audiences, and focus on the working parent/artist. The play focuses on two new mothers: Jessie a corporate lawyer with a glamorous Manhattan life, and Lina who has a night-school nursing degree and terrible credit— they are next door neighbors who live in different worlds, bonded by the struggles they face raising a newborn. Their intimacy is punctured when a stranger who lives in the mansion up on the cliff appears in the yard, asking if they would include his wife, who is having “a hard time with motherhood,” in their coffee dates. This is a town where the haves and the have-nots live in very close company and the privileges and pressures of life are combustible. Cry It Out which premiered at the Humana New Play Festival in 2017 takes an honest look at the power of female friendship, the dilemma of going back to work after an absurdly short maternity leave, and the effect class has on parenthood in America.
For more information on Simpatico Theatre, visit simpaticotheatre.org.