Plays & Players to Launch New Interactive Theatre for Young Audiences: P.L.A.Y.

Plays & Players to Launch New Interactive Theatre for Young Audiences: P.L.A.Y.

Plays & Players will launch a new yearly series dedicated to introducing young audiences to the power of live theater. This season, P.L.A.Y. (Philadelphia Local Artists for Youth) premieres with Delaware Mudtub and the Mighty Wampum, a work that explores mythic animals local to the area -- the great blue heron, the red fox, and the box turtle, as well as the stories of the people once indigenous to the Delaware River -- the Lenni-Lenape.

The Lenape, meaning "the people," thrived in the Delaware Valley and passed down folktales about the animals in their midst. They were well-known for crafting wampum beads -- the beads, strung together, created wampum belts that told the stories of the Lenape families.

Performances run March 13-29, Wednesday-Friday at 10am, Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 2:30pm at 1714 Delancey Place. Tickets are $10-$20. Delaware Mudtub is appropriate for ages 4-104 (and highly recommended for 4-10 year olds)!

"Turtle carries the world on her back, fox stares back at us, her smile unveiling her sharp teeth. Silent, determined, the Great Blue Heron enters, searching. Otters Earle and Pearl, brother and sister, raft together, drifting with the current of the Delaware River. The ground vibrates, the wolf howls are getting closer, the moon's reflection sings a lullaby, and the animals must survive the land and each other." In this immersive, interactive theatrical experience that turns the playing space into the lush Delaware Valley, we invite you to join the wildlife of Philadelphia, to participate in their stories, helping the creatures weave together the wampum belt of their lives.

Philadelphia Local Artists for Youth, or P.L.A.Y. is truly a local endeavor; a local playwright telling local stories utilizing local actors, directors, and designers. Each play is developed and workshopped throughout the summer and presented the following spring. The P.L.A.Y. program is conceived by Producing Artistic Director Daniel Student, who utilizes his background in children's theater produced in Europe and Australia. With his leadership, in collaboration with director Candace Cihocki and writer Greg Romero, Delaware Mudtub uses physical theater techniques, shadow puppetry, found object instrumentation, and even acro-yoga as a basis for the production. At its core, P.L.A.Y. seeks to respect the artistic judgment and aesthetic of a young person, and invites them to participate in the magic of the theatrical experience, engages their creativity to help build and spark each performance, and share in the living stories that capture the magic all around us.

All performances are at Plays & Players, at 1714 Delancey Place, in the third floor Skinner Studio. Please note: the historic theatre is not ADA accessible. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door for general admission. Discounted group rates of $12 for groups of 10 or more and weekday student matinee tickets are $10. Tickets may be purchased online at www.playsandplayers.org or by phone at 866-811-4111.

Delaware Mudtub and the Mighty Wampum begins performances on Thursday, March 13, 2014 and closes on Saturday, March 29. Performances are: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10am; Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 2:30pm

CAST & CREATIVE TEAM:

Greg Romero is originally from Louisiana. His plays, site-specific projects, and sound art collaborations include The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard, The Milky Way Cabaret, Of Plastic Things and Butterfly Wings, Radio Ghosts, Dallas, and The Babel Project, and have been presented in theaters and found spaces in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, Baltimore, Washington DC, Louisville, New Orleans, as well as Toronto and Zurich. Romero has been a finalist for the Heideman Award, a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, nominated for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theater Artist, and was selected as the first-ever Resident Writer of the ArtsEdge Residency. He is one of three playwrights to inaugurate the Philadelphia Dramatists Center/Plays & Players Playwriting Residency and is an alum of the 2012 WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory. He is published by Heinemann Press, YouthPLAYS, and Playscripts, Inc. and is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. Romero received an MFA in Playwriting from The University of Texas-Austin where he held the James A. Michener Fellowship.

Candace O'Neil Cihocki is a Director and Choreographer. She is a New York City, Vermont, Florida transplant who has settled in Philadelphia. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from Florida State University in 2010. This year in Philadelphia, she has had the pleasure of serving as a Co-leader for the new Acting Residency program at Plays and Players Theatre, as well as the new Company Manager for FlashPoint Theater. Candace earned her BFA in Acting from Adelphi University in 2001, where she also studied modern dance and choreography. Her past directing work has been seen at On the Square Productions in NYC, Hybridge Arts Collective, The Philadelphia Fringe, Plays and Players, and FlashPoint Theatre. She currently works and practices at Dhyana Yoga, is a Holistic Nutritional Health Coach focusing on completing her 250 hour Yoga Teacher Training. Recent adventures include dance projects, exploring acrobatics, Acroyoga, and community based nutritional education programs. You can visit www.the-ethical-eater.com for wellness information!

Starring Andrew J. Carroll, Erin Elizabeth Carney, Heather Cole, Katie Croyle, Tyler Garamella, Maria Konstantinidis, and Mary Beth Shrader

Set Design by Colin McIlvaine, Lighting Design by Andrew Cowles, Costume Design by John Hodges, Dramaturgy by Laurel Hostak, Puppet Design by Leila Ghaznavi

About Plays & Players: Over 100 years old, Plays & Players was reborn in 2011 as a professional theater under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Daniel Student. As a coalition of theatre artists and enthusiasts, Plays & Players strives to provide intelligent, inclusive, and diverse plays that engage and entertain audiences, to invest in local talent, and to preserve its historic landmark home. Plays & Players' 2013-14 season focuses on Brothers and Sisters; those with whom we are closest, those who share our blood, and those with whom, familiar or unknown, we seek connection. Through rituals old and new, we continue searching for those who are both distant from and deeply within us as we attempt to unwrap the simplest of notions: brotherhood. Plays and Players began the season with the provocative and poignant Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet, which was followed up with the world-premiere one man play by former Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Mike Boryla, The Disappearing Quarterback. The season will conclude with legendary Puerto Rican playwright José Rivera's Cloud Tectonics, directed by Allison Heishman and starring Taysha Canales, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, and Eric Scotolati, running June 5-22.

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