RIPE FRENZY Comes to Greenway Court Theatre
Jennifer Barclay's RIPE FRENZY is produced by Greenway Arts Alliance (Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz, Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors) at Greenway Court Theatre (544 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles), as part of a National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere with partnering theaters New Repertory Theatre in Boston and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta. Winner of the 2016 NNPN Smith Prize for Political Theatre, RIPE FRENZY is directed by Ovation Award-nominee Alana Dietze (Dry Land at the Echo Theater Company and Kirk Douglas Theatre) and projection designs by Obie Award-winner Jared Mezzocchi (Vietgone at Manhattan Theatre Club). Performances will play May 17 through June 17, 2018; with the press opening on Saturday, May 19.
RIPE FRENZY submerges us in the before, during and after of a mass shooting at a small-town high school theatre, during opening night of its 40th production of Our Town. Told from the perspective of the mothers of the town, the play questions our own culpability in the perpetuation of mass shootings in our country.
"Greenway is proud to collaborate with National New Play Network. This organization has been essential for launching new work that might otherwise be missed. We especially appreciate that NNPN aligns with our core values at Greenway, valuing the artist and creating solid avenues to develop and produce new work," said Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Whitney Weston of Greenway Arts Alliance.
"Jennifer Barclay explores the debris that remains from media sound bites and the 24-hour news cycle that create a 'frenzy' around important social issues rather than reporting on the nuances of sensitive subjects. For example, the reason young people have guns in dangerous neighborhoods is very different than gun ownership in middle and upper income communities," stated Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Pierson Blaetz of Greenway Arts Alliance.
"As a playwright, I am interested in raising questions, instead of trying to provide answers. With Ripe Frenzy, I question our own role as American citizens in this pandemic of mass shootings. When we obsess over the ever-present footage of violence, what does it do to our brains, bodies and society," questioned Jennifer Barclay. "This play was ignited by a conversation with my projections designer collaborator Jared Mezzocchi; we were curious about how social and journalistic media in our country may be perpetuating mass shootings by playing to the national audience. We wondered what we would discover if we turned the mirror on ourselves, on our society." She noted, "TV journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward had recently been shot live on-air in Virginia by a man wearing a GoPro. A triptych of his footage was later published on the cover of the New York Post, and everyone who saw the images in the news boxes were put behind his eyes and inside of his mind. The impact and horror of that event stuck with us as Jared and I began our collaboration."
"Ripe Frenzy is in conversation with Our Town, using the quintessential American play as a framework to explore community, motherhood, mortality and the legacy of history," explained Barclay. "The National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere has given me the opportunity to continue refining and digging deeper into the play from city to city. Jared and I are the only constants between the productions; otherwise each collaborative team and design is entirely different, and NNPN has facilitated fruitful cross-production conversations. The Greenway Court Theatre production will benefit from everything Jared and I have learned about the dramatic arc of the script and the projection design through our work with New Rep in Boston and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta."
In addition to projections designer Jared Mezzocchi and director Alana Dietze, the RIPE FRENZY creative team includes: set designer Amanda Knehans (Dry Land - Echo Theater Company and the Kirk Douglas Theatre; 2018 Ovation Award-nominee); costume designer Elena Flores (Dry Land - Echo Theater Company and Kirk Douglas Theatre); lighting designer azra King-Abadi (LA Phil and LA Opera productions), and sound designer John Zalewski (Belleville at Pasadena Playhouse).
Following each performance of RIPE FRENZY, Greenway will host "Coffee and Conversation," an informal porch gathering facilitated by a member of the production team that will allow audience members the opportunity to express their feelings directly following the play with their fellow audience members. In addition to the post-show engagements, Greenway Court Theatre is partnering with the Greenway Institute of the Arts to offer an art contest to the students of Fairfax High School in conjunction with the production. Students will be given art supplies and the prompt "Gun violence in schools: #ENOUGH." One winner will receive tickets to Disneyland and two finalists will each win gift cards. A gallery and showing will be scheduled for Friday, May 25 where the winner will be announced at that evening's performance. Each participant and a parent will receive free admission to the show that evening. The paintings will continue to be on display on the Greenway Court Theatre porch and in the lobby throughout the run.
Greenway Arts Alliance continues their 20th Anniversary celebration year. Last October, Greenway kicked off their milestone at the Melrose Trading Post with a community event and accolades from Los Angeles' Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz, Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, West Hollywood's Mayor John Heilman and LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King. For two decades, the nonprofit GAA has been uniting communities through art, education and social enterprise. Greenway, a community leader and role model in social enterprise, runs the Greenway Court Theatre (a professional 99-seat theater), the Greenway Institute for the Arts (an arts education program at Fairfax High School, Title 1 high school in Los Angeles) and the Melrose Trading Post (a weekly open-air arts based marketplace).
RIPE FRENZY will play at Greenway Court Theatre, 544 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. The production will play from May 17 through June 17, 2018; with the official press opening on Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 p.m. Preview performances are on Thursday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m. and Friday, May 18 at 8:00 p.m. Ticket prices for preview performances are Pay What You Can. The regular performance schedule is Fridays at 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Note: There will be two Sunday matinee performances at 4:00 p.m. on May 20 and June 17 (the final performance). General admission ticket prices are $34; senior (65+) discounted tickets are $20; and student tickets are $15. Tickets are available online at GreenwayCourtTheatre.org/RipeFrenzy. For more information call 323-673-0544 or visit GreenwayCourtTheatre.org. Free parking is available in the lot on Fairfax and Clinton, directly adjacent to the theatre. The parking lot is shared with other events, please allow for ample time to park.