Great Barrington Public Theater Premieres SURVIVAL OF THE UNFIT In July

Great Barrington Public Theater's summer heats up July 6-July 21 with the American premiere of this new comedy.

By: Jun. 17, 2024
Great Barrington Public Theater Premieres SURVIVAL OF THE UNFIT In July
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GB Public Theater stages American premiere of Survival of the Unfit, a whip-smart new comedy by Oren Safdie, directed by Matthew Penn. Ensemble cast includes Emmy winner Carolyn Hennesy; Obie winner Daniel Gerroll; Helen Hayes Award winner Vincent Randazzo; and breakthrough Berkshire-based actor Sarah Keyes.

Great Barrington Public Theater's summer heats up July 6-July 21 with the American premiere of an ice-cool, new comedy that upends the too-familiar comic trope of the anxiety and predicaments that ensue when the new girlfriend meets the boy's parents for the first time over dinner. Written with a sharp satirical point by accomplished playwright Oren Safdie and helmed by top-tier screen and stage director Matthew Penn, Survival of the Unfit takes a daring, unflinching look into odd aspects of post-millennial, post-pandemic character and personalities: men living at home well into their adulthood; helicopter mothers who refuse to let go; fathers adrift, along for the ride; and buttoned-up, accomplished women in eager pursuit of unattainable men. Survival of the Unfit fits them all into a dead-on, meet-the-parents dinner that dishes up a series of head-spinning surprises.

The play recently had its world premiere at the Moscow Theater of The Modern Play, where audiences loved the Chekhov-like portrayal of a modern family facing old dilemmas and new realities. As the story unfolds it encompasses themes of love, loss, loyalty, the acceptance of others' shortcomings, and redefines what family means.

“We look for new work that can nudge expectations and boundaries. This is a strap-into-your-seat comedy that will make for conversation and classic theatrical comparisons,” GB Public Artistic Director Jim Frangione explains. “It's a dinner where icebreaking chat leads from one trap door to another, ultimately bringing the comedy of schadenfreude to an entirely zany place—standing on its head.”

The outstanding ensemble cast includes General Hospital favorite and Emmy winner Carolyn Hennesy as the mother whose iron grip, interference and scathing tongue has no boundaries; Obie winner Daniel Gerroll as the blasé father who’s retired into permanent cocktail hour; and a pair of top actors, Helen Hayes Award winner Vincent Randazzo as the hapless, live-at-home son barely able to stand in his own sneakers, and luminous Berkshire-based actor Sarah Keyes as the psychologically tightly-wrapped but totally unprepared newest girlfriend.

“When Jim sent me the script I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice,” director Matthew Penn says. “I read it that afternoon and was laughing out loud. I am a tough laugh in the theater. While I can find something funny, it doesn't always result in a ‘guffaw'. However, Survival of the Unfit is an exception. Alone in my office I was laughing out loud.  I finished reading, picked up the phone and told Jim ‘I'm in!'

Oren has given us what looks like a typical situation comedy, until suddenly oddness, idiosyncrasy and hidden agendas emerge. Now the situation becomes both funny and painful. It is a play where four people find themselves confronting issues face-to-face. When the smoke clears, who will be left? There are plenty of laughs as you trip down the comedic rabbit hole with this quartet, all of whom hide their own secrets.”

Tickets

Survival of the Unfit (July 6-July 21) plays Thurs.-Sat. 7:30pm; Sat. & Sun. 3pm, in the McConnell mainstage theater, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon's Rock, 84 Alford Rd., Great Barrington, MA, 01230. Reservations can be made on the Great Barrington Public Theater website, or by emailing or calling the box office GBPTboxoffice@gmail.com, 413-372-1980.

 




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