Theatre Exile is excited to announce its 2020-21 season, featuring three productions that encapsulate the “grit” and provocative conversations that theater-goers have come to expect from the cutting-edge theater company. While gathering together in a theater is currently prohibited in the City of Philadelphia, Theatre Exile carefully and purposefully selected plays that can easily pivot to alternative storytelling formats. The first two shows will be presented virtually, allowing both local and national audiences to enjoy the upcoming season. A determination on whether the third show can be presented indoors or moved outside will be made in the forthcoming months.
The three plays selected for the 2020-21 season use humor and powerful storytelling and continue the South Philadelphia-based theater company’s 24-year tradition of producing provocative plays that explore the complexities of the human condition and contain a sense of Philadelphia grit and passion.
A major theme of the season is isolation and the consequences of being alone. In D-Pad, female video game developer Alex creates her own problems through self-isolation. During the course of the play, Alex slowly separates herself from family and cuts herself off from friends — a means of coping as she struggles to navigate the male-dominated industry of gaming. The play is a world premiere from Philadelphia-based playwright Jeremy Gable and was specifically adapted to be an online production from its original form. D-Pad will be directed by Brey Ann Barrett, Theatre Exile’s Interim Associate Artistic Director.
In the season’s second play, Sin Eaters, isolation is caused by external forces. Mary gets a temp tech job scrubbing social media feeds of violent, sexual, and otherwise disturbing imagery. Her new job, which has no health care or benefits and a big non-disclosure agreement, takes her down a road of emotions. The show starts as a satire examining the world of inappropriate online content but quickly turns into a drama where Mary can no longer connect with anyone as the stresses around her start to break her down. Mary is now forced to choose between a “good job” and her sanity. Sin Eaters is written by Anna Moench and will be directed by Theatre Exile’s own Resident Artist, Matt Pfeiffer.
Whether it’s navigating widespread misogyny, the abuse of the working poor, or systemic racism, another major, and timely, theme throughout the season is the inequity inherent in the world.
Theatre Exile’s final production of the 2020-21 season is the critically acclaimed play Pass Over, written by Antoinette Nwandu and directed by Ozzie Jones. The script’s structure echoes Waiting for Godot and the common feeling of being stuck in life. The play firmly plants itself on a street corner with two men driven to find a new place in society, only to be held back by the very world in which they want to enter. The powerful play sheds light on the types of violence and oppression directed towards Black men.
Lastly, in Spring 2021, Out of Exile will present the world premiere of The Ever Present (working title) by R. Eric Thomas and directed by Brett Ashley Robinson. Playwright Thomas is working with South Philadelphia community members to create a truly “magical” tale about an empty lot in the local
neighborhood. Full of folklore, the show will examine one neighborhood’s connections and attachment to place. More information to come.
Show & Ticket Information
*World Premiere* D-Pad By Jeremy Gable Directed by Brey Ann Barrett November 27 – December 13, 2020 | ALL PERFORMANCES WILL BE PRODUCED ONLINE. Opening Night: December 2 at 8 p.m.
D-Pad explores the world of independent gaming through the lens of a wunderkind developer as she creates something beyond entertainment. Written with humor, thoughtfulness, and humanity, D-Pad follows Alex as she finds herself in a nightmare of production delays, self-doubt, and a rabid fan base. Interactions with real and virtual characters lead her into self-isolation as she struggles with family and in her male-dominated industry.
Sin Eaters By Anna Moench Directed by Matt Pfeiffer February 11 – 28, 2021 | ALL PERFORMANCES WILL BE PRODUCED ONLINE. Opening Night: February 17, 2021 at 8 p.m.
Toeing the lines between satire and harsh reality, Sin Eaters is a hilarious, poignant, and brutal examination of the human experience and how the daily toil of life transforms our perceptions of ourselves and those around us. Mary is a “content moderator,” one of the unseen people who scrub our social media feeds of violent, sexual, and otherwise disturbing imagery. As she goes deeper into the recesses of the internet, she finds a graphic video that makes her question her relationship, her sanity, and her own capacity for violence.
Pass Over By Antoinette Nwandu Directed by Ozzie Jones April 22 – May 9, 2021 | Venue TBD Opening Night: April 28 at 8 p.m.
Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner – talking shit, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Award-winning playwright Antoinette Nwandu purposely crafts language that many deem “profane” into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the enduring human spirit of young men stuck in a cycle looking for a way out. A provocative take on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is a timely tale told by a bold American voice.
Pass Over is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. http://www.concordtheatricals.com