EgoPo announces the finale of its 2020-2021 ISOLATIONS season, an interactive drive-in production of Adam Rapp’s Nocturne, with preview performances on April 27 and 28, an opening on Thursday, April 29, with a final performance May 9, 2021. The production is directed by Artistic Director, Lane Savadove, and will star Theatre in the X’s Walter DeShields, seen last season in EgoPo’s Buried Child. The play will take place in a North Philadelphia parking lot five minutes from Temple’s main campus, on Sedgley Avenue across from Reyburn Park, and welcomes both vehicle and lawn chair seating. Guests arrive in their vehicles and surround the nighttime performance space, shining their headlights to illuminate the show, and listen to the event through their FM radio feed. Ticket sales for this limited run event begin on April 5th. Nocturne will participate in Philadelphia’s Theatre Week as part of Theatre Philadelphia’s celebratory event of the year.
Nocturne is the conclusion of EgoPo’s season of radically intimate and socially distanced theatrical events that reinvent the way live theater is experienced. All four events have focused on achieving human connection during this period of physical isolation. The most contemporary of this season’s events, Nocturne, was written in 2001 and is a powerful meditation on how we can recover from catastrophic losses and dramatic disruptions to our lives.
“As we planned this season, we looked to create four very different, innovative ways to experience live theater safely. Each would re-envision the very nature of theater. Over the course of the season we wanted to slowly add more and more live interaction to mirror our process of living through this pandemic. We began by connecting with audiences through the mailing of letters and art objects (Emily), then through social media (Underground), then audiences came to our backyards and peered in through our windows (Rockaby). Now we will finally share a space together communicating through a car window – but in the same space!” says Savadove.
EgoPo’s staging in an abandoned nighttime parking lot highlights the weapon of destruction that sits at the core of the play: a car. In this immersive environment surrounded by the sounds of Amtrak train tracks, the audience sitting in their cars become not only observers, listening on their FM car radios, but active protagonists in our story as they shine their headlights directly onto the action of the play.
“I read Nocturne several years ago, and was absolutely devastated – never in my life had I been so shook by a play. Though it didn’t seem to fit EgoPo’s mission, I put it on my shelf hoping secretly I could direct it some day. At the start of the pandemic my mind went to drive-in theater, but I didn’t want to just use the form as a poor substitute for live theater. I wanted something that would be BETTER, that would be woken up, by using the drive-in form. And then it hit me: in Nocturne CARS are at the very core of the piece – they are the protagonists. What if we could amplify this extraordinary play by letting cars be the literal and figurative VEHICLE for performance?”
Audiences receive the GPS coordinates of the parking lot upon purchasing their ticket. They make their way into north philadelphia at sunset, arriving at the Sedgley Lot as the sun is going down. Upon entry they are given envelopes which contain directions for experiencing the piece, along with portable FM radios with headphones and flashlights. Cars are arranged into a massive semi-circle with lawn chairs brought by audiences scattered between – all safely enclosed and socially distanced. On cue, all the headlights go on illuminating this powerful, unforgettable, heart-wrenching tale.
“Now that I have a child – a 6-year old-daughter – I recognize the fragility of life in a new way. One horrible misstep, a child’s mistaken decision, a driver looking the other way, and our lives could be DESTROYED in an instant. This year reminds us that this is true of all life This year has been a reminder to celebrate this fragility, to see and value every breath. Our lives are magical, glorious…and are gone in a blink of an eye. Right now I want to make theater that acknowledges this. I want us all to be more present,” adds Savadove.
EgoPo’s Nocturne stars Walter DeShields (Egoli, Buried Child) as the unnamed narrator. Joining DeShields are Kirsten Quinn (The Seagull) and Kylie Westerbeck (The Women, The Lydie Breeze Trilogy), with Tasha Holmes, Emilia Weiss, Kayla Bowe, and Skyler Easterbrook making their EgoPo debuts.
“I chose Nocturne with the idea of having Walter DeShields in the role of the ‘Narrator’. He has worked with EgoPo for several years and is a highly focused actor with an incredibly powerful presence. He draws you inside that enormous depth with his voice and this brooding quality that makes him the PERFECT performer to take on this tour-de-force role.”
Savadove is joined by production team members Damien J. Wallace (Associate Director), Dirk Durossette (Scenic Design), Andrew J. Cowles (Lighting Design), Chris Sannino (Sound Designer), Natalia de la Torre (Costume Designer) and Jordan Chester (Stage Manager). The production is sponsored by Drs. Lisa and Glenn George.
Nocturne runs from Tuesday, April 27th through Sunday, May 9th, 2021. You choose whether to attend as part of the front row of participating vehicles, or arrive with your personal lawn chairs to set up in socially-distant formation. A guide will be onsite to direct you to your designated parking area by ticket purchase, where you will be handed suggested instructions on how to watch and interact with the events of the night. Tickets pricing begins at $25 per person and can be purchased online at www.egopo.org/nocturne beginning April 5, 2021. Pre-sale is required as walk-up sales will not be permitted. Masks are required and an ADA accessible toilet will be available.
Fifteen years ago, his life was changed in an instant. Now, he proceeds on an epic internal journey to discover peace and redemption, with you as his intimate observer. Before the event, you receive directions to an abandoned parking lot in Philadelphia. You arrive in the night, your vehicle illuminating the empty landscape. He appears out of the darkness, blinded by your headlights. Through your FM radio, he begins to share the story of his journey. You, and your car, become essential players in this theatrical nightmare as his life (re)emerges out of the darkness and silence.
EgoPo’s Isolations Season
EgoPo Classic Theater’s 2020-2021 Season of Isolations is a festival of four radically intimate theatrical events experienced in innovative socially distanced formats. EgoPo saw social distancing as an opportunity to create new ways of experiencing and watching theater – sometimes even redefining what theater can be. Each piece of this special season re-examines the interaction between audiences and performance, creating intensely intimate events that can be experienced safely in the midst of our ever-changing environment. The season reflects our communal experience of isolating over the last year by using the classic literary mode of the solitary artist choosing to live in self-imposed isolation in order to seek transformation.
In the Fall/Winter of 2020, EgoPo invited audiences to experience two original theater works from the safety of their homes. Brenna Geffers and Natalia de la Torre’s Emily was a five-week mail event inspired by Emily Dickinson and was featured in American Theatre Magazine for its unique, play-by-mail format. Underground was a virtual film event, created by EgoPo Associate Producer, Dane Eissler, and Philadelphia-based artist, Damien J. Wallace. Hailed as “captivating” and a “strong, unapologetic work of political theater” by Broadstreet Review, the multi platform event transformed Donstoyevsky’s 19th century novel into a modern-day tale through the eyes of a Black Man, with Philadelphia’s controversial racial history as the backdrop. Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby was presented in early spring as a one-on-one performance in three Philadelphia neighborhoods through the glass window of a house. Next up and concluding our Isolations season will be a drive-in version of Adam Rapp’s Nocturne. All four pieces are curated to provide an intensely human and connected experience while we continue to remain physically apart.
General Ticket Pricing will start at $25, and go on sale on April 5, 2021. Advanced purchase required. No walk-up sales will be permitted.
North Philadelphia parking lot across from Reyburn Park
Previews: April 27 and 28th
Opening: April 29
Regular performances: April 30, May 1, May 2, May 4-9, 2021
All performances at 8pm, Lot opens at 7:30pm
Director: Lane Savadove
Associate Director: Damien J. Wallace
Scenic Designer: Dirk Durossette
Lighting Designer: Andrew J. Cowles
Costume Designer: Natalia de la Torre
Sound Designer: Chris Sannino
Stage Manager: Jordan Chester
Show Sponsors: Drs. Lisa and Glenn George
Associate Producer: Dane Eissler
Managing Director: Katrina Foy
Artistic Director: Lane Savadove
Narrator: Walter DeShields
Mother: Kirsten Quinn
Little Sister: Emilia Weiss
Red-Headed Girl with the Grey-Green Eyes: Tasha Holmes
Ensemble: Kayla Bowe
Ensemble: Skyler Easterbrook
Ensemble: Kylie Westerbeck
About EgoPo Classic Theater
EgoPo Classic Theater is a Philadelphia-based, non-profit theater company committed to revitalizing the great classics of theater and literature. Founded in 1991 by Artistic Director, Lane Savadove, EgoPo strives for virtuosity in vocal and physical performance in order to create innovative and provocative theatrical events.
EgoPo’s uniqueness is found in its season structure, which curates year-long festivals that focus on a playwright or theatrical genre and are designed as a journey guiding audience members through mainstage productions and special events all themed to the season. The result is a deep immersion into a richer and more visceral experience for our community of audience members.
Winner of 2017 Barrymore Awards for Best Evolving Theater and Best Production for Chekhov’s The Seagull, EgoPo has staged productions nationally in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco; internationally in Indonesia and Croatia; and on National Public Radio.