A dynamic two person show, THE NICETIES forces us to examine our history.
InterAct Theatre Company’s third offering of the season, THE NICETIES by Eleanor Burgess, is “provocative and blisteringly smart” (Don Aucoin, Boston Globe), building on InterAct’s strong season of timely plays showing the human dimensions of our most urgent public debates. With dialogue that is “expertly crafted to keep both the tension and the attention high” (Donna Herman, New York Theatre Guide), this Philadelphia premiere directed by Kathryn MacMillan presents a debate about race and privilege while also being “a drama about the destructiveness of internecine fighting” (Laura Collins-Hughes, NYT).
THE NICETIES tracks the conversations between a renowned history professor, Janine, and her brilliant student, Zoe, regarding Zoe’s thesis about the role slavery played in the American Revolution. Their discussion unexpectedly careens off course and threatens to derail their careers, their lives and the status quo. Two extraordinary women square off in a high-stakes debate over race, power, and who gets the final word on how history is written.
“As it turns out, Eleanor Burgess’s play really anticipated the debate that’s going on right now around the New York Times’ 1619 Project,” notes Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin, “both the arguments that it makes about how slavery is foundational to the idea of ‘America’ and the pushback that the Project is getting from historians who are saying, ‘But no, that’s not how you do history’. THE NICETIES takes that debate and humanizes it.”
“My sentiments bounced back-and-forth as I listened to these two big minds battle it out over who gets to tell history and how. THE NICETIES wasn’t available to us at that time, however, so we had to wait a while before we could commit to a production.”
“As it turned out, that wait may have been somewhat of a blessing. This production is especially well-timed with the race for the Democratic nomination for President. The emerging divide between true visionary progressives and the more pragmatic wing of the Democratic party is mirrored by Zoe and Janine, as they lay claim to both our future direction and our honoring of the past.”
THE NICETIES stars Ang Bey and Janis Dardaris. Bey, a recent college graduate themself, makes their InterAct debut as Zoe, following their critically acclaimed performances with Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Shakespeare in Clark Park. Dardaris, playing the role of Janine, is a Barrymore-nominated veteran of Philadelphia stages, with credits at theatres ranging from InterAct to Quintessence to People’s Light to the Wilma.
During the run, InterAct will present further post-show audience conversations after every performance, beginning April 2nd. Coffee Conversations occur on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, featuring informal discussions with the artists and complimentary coffee from Rival Bros. Coffee and treats from Insomnia Cookies. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances feature Audience Discussions, where audience members are encouraged to dive into the play, ask questions and share their experience. These will be facilitated by local community members to foster conversation connecting the play to the larger community. InterAct will host speakers for three Speaker Sundays on April 5, 12 & 19 following Sunday matinee performances.
InterAct will continue Parents’ Day Out!, a new initiative for theatergoing patrons with children. During the matinee on Sunday, April 12, InterAct will provide theatre-themed childcare at The Drake during the performance. Cost is $25 for 3.5 hours of childcare.
A “Pay What You Can” Final Dress Rehearsal will be held on Thursday, March 26t, at 8 PM. All proceeds will go to a local organization supporting a social cause.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
ELEANOR BURGESS (Playwright) Eleanor Burgess’s work has been produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Geffen Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre, Writers Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Geva Theatre Center, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Portland Stage Company, and Centenary Stage, and developed with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, the Lark Play Development Center, and the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop. She has been a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Page 73’s writers’ group Interstate 73, The Civilians’ R&D Group, and New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship. Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, she studied history at Yale College and Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch. She has also been a staff writer for Perry Mason on HBO. She grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, studied history at Yale College, and recently completed the M.F.A in Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.
KATHRYN MACMILLAN (Director) is so happy to return to InterAct, since directing GROUNDED in 2016. KC has directed nearly 50 productions in Philadelphia, off-Broadway, and regionally. She is the Producing Artistic Director of Tiny Dynamite, home of the popular series A PLAY, A PIE, A PINT. For Tiny Dynamite: THE ART OF SWIMMING, MARCEL’S BATH TME, and directing and co-writing THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN, ABRIDGED (Barrymore nomination: Outstanding Direction). A longtime company member of Lantern Theater, KC’s directing there includes ARCADIA, BETRAYAL, THE BEAUTY OF QUEEN LEENANE (named Best Production of the 2012/13 season by Philadelphia Weekly), THE BREATH OF LIFE (Barrymore nomination: Outstanding Overall Production of a Play), and THE HOTHOUSE (Barrymore nominations for Direction & Outstanding Production). Off-Broadway: UNRAVELED (MBL Productions, Theatre Row). Other local credits include Delaware Theatre Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Inis Nua, and several shows for Theatre Horizon, including Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Direction for THE REVOLUTIONISTS and I AM MY OWN WIFE. In 2015, KC was named one of Billy Penn’s Who’s Next: 16 Young Philadelphians Shaping the Arts Scene.