STT Announces Regional Premiere of LELA & CO. by Cordelia Lynn
Second Thought Theatre continues its 2019 season with the area premiere of Lela & Co. by Cordelia Lynn. STT alum Natalie Young (The Great God Pan, Bull, Red Light Winter) is Lela, a woman recounting the unspeakable horrors she faced in the middle of a war zone. Garret Storms (Martyr) portrays the series of men who interrupt Lela's story, and her life, as they use and abuse her for their own profit. Kara-Lynn Vaeni returns to direct after making her STT directorial debut last season with Enemies/People. Lela & Co. begins with previews on Wednesday, April 3 and runs through Saturday, April 27. All performances of Lela & Co. will take place at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Campus, 3400 Blackburn Street. Tickets to Lela & Co. can be purchased online at secondthoughttheatre.com.
"In 2019, as most of the western world wrestles with #metoo and #timesup, it is easy to forget that in many parts of the world women continue to struggle for basic personhood," said Alex Organ, STT's Artistic Director. "In telling Lela's story, not only does Lynn ask us to acknowledge the existence of these forgotten women and girls, she forces us to reckon with our own American privilege in ways most of us have never considered."
Director Vaeni agreed, noting that, "We are approaching the story as a fairy tale that goes extremely wrong." She continued, "What follows is a devastating, often funny, always recognizable journey away from home, through the mountains, to the ocean, and back again. It requires the endurance of an Olympic athlete for the actor playing Lela. It's a bigger challenge than Hamlet. She never leaves the stage. It's a marathon for Natalie, and she attacks it voraciously every night."
Lela, a young storyteller, sets the stage to tell the story of her beautiful, magical life. She also wants to be honest and tell "the whole truth and nothing but the truth." Set against the backdrop of a refugee crisis in an unnamed foreign country, the play charts Lela's eventful journey from girlhood to womanhood. Separated from her childhood by the soldiers at the border of her country and the soldiers in the bedroom of her new home, Lela gains strength and wisdom that are hard-won and far beyond her years.
Lela & Co. was first presented in London at The Royal Court Theatre on September 3rd, 2015. An up-and-coming British playwright, Lynn's body of work includes Best Served Cold, Believers Anonymous, After the War, and her newest play, One for Sorrow. Based on true stories from conflict zones all over the world, Lela & Co. traces a precarious path from girlhood to womanhood and celebrates the resilience of those who make the journey.
STT Artistic Associate Aaron Johansen (Incognito, Revolt. She said. Revolt again.) will design lights, and Jason Biggs returns to design sound after making his Second Thought design debut with Enemies/People. Amanda Capshaw returns to design costumes, having previously designed Empathitrax and Martyr. Making his Second Thought scenic design debut is New York-based designer Nick Francone.
Lela & Co. opens with previews on Wednesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 4 at 7:30pm. Opening and press night is Friday, April 5 at 8:00pm. The PWYC performances of Lela & Co. will take place on Wednesday, April 3; Thursday, April 4; Monday, April 8; Monday, April 15; and Monday, April 22 at 7:30p. PWYC tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to the start of the performance and are subject to availability. Lela & Co. runs through April 27. Tickets to Lela & Co. are on sale now at secondthoughttheatre.com and can be purchased for $25.
Second Thought Theatre (STT) provides an intimate and unique theatrical experience by empowering top local theater artists to take risks, and by showcasing writers who boldly tackle the difficult and demanding questions of our rapidly changing world.
Photo Credit: Evan Michael Woods