Olivia Hunt's Off-Broadway Debut THE MISANTHROPE Premieres at HERE Arts Center's MainStage

Performances run July 31 - August 3.

By: Jul. 07, 2024
Olivia Hunt's Off-Broadway Debut THE MISANTHROPE Premieres at HERE Arts Center's MainStage
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HERE Arts Center will present a five-performance run of The Misanthrope, an original romantic comedy written by Olivia Hunt (Ratcracker, Rattlestick Theater), with direction from Nadiya Atkinson (Insertion, The Connelly, Cringe, 59E59) and design by Raven Zhan (Insertion, The Connelly, Cringe, 59E59).

The show is co-produced by Cheers to 40 and White Horse Theater Company, playing five public performances at the MainStage of HERE Arts Center (45 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10013) as the only selected MainStage production of their Summer SubletSeries.

The play follows two dysfunctional young people, Maddy (Clara Napolitano, The Seagull, Columbia Uni. MFA) and Hanes (Michael Saguto, Lobby Hero, Florida Rep.) who meet at a dive bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This is the kind of place that Maddy, nineteen, high-strung, has no business being in - for Hanes, twenty-five and already washed up, this is a regular Tuesday night. That is, until Hanes strikes up a conversation with Maddy, and they end up in an entanglement that undoes them both. Maddy must grapple with the expectations around sex and dating that are presented to young women from early adolescence, daring to ask the question of whether she enjoys the intimacy she seeks out, or if it has been a presence in her life for so long that she has simply become used to it.

The play's headliners are doubled by silent figures that communicate exclusively through movement - a Dancer (MaryKate Glenn, Transport Group, Teatr Zar) and Clown (Samori Etienne, National Theatre Institute), respectively. The dancer reveals a vast schism between Maddy's words and what she feels, while the clown exposes the self-resentment and vulnerability that Hanes obfuscates with his quick wit.

Through an experimental lens, The Misanthrope ultimately investigates why it is that two people who are so wrong for each other should need each other so desperately. This new work provides a much-needed disruption to our society's obsession with picture-perfect romance by centering messy human authenticity, the struggles of mental illness and the micro-traumas of a young woman's sexualization in its storytelling.

Olivia Hunt constructs a realistic picture of dating in New York City as told through her unique comedic voice, presenting an evening of exploring the more awkward and uncomfortable elements of whirlwind romance, all the while taking a moment to laugh at the imperfection of it all. The marriage of her vision with an all-female production team creates a story with echoes of personal experience.

Tickets (General Admission $25; Pay It Forward $35) are available for advance purchase at https://here.org/shows/. The performance will run approximately 80 minutes, with no intermission.

The Misanthrope is a co-production with HERE Arts as part of their Summer Sublet Series. Since 1993, HERE Arts Center has been one of New York's most prolific arts organizations, hosting such acclaimed artists and works as Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. Today, it bolsters multidisciplinary and experimental performance experiences. https://here.org/

Cheers to 40 is a bi-coastal collective of femme writer/producers for theater, film and television, founded to make space for narratives by and for young womxn. https://www.cheersto40.com/ c: cheersto40collective@gmail.com

White Horse Theater Company, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing and developing American plays, investigating and celebrating American culture by re-examining American classics and nurturing new American voices. https://www.whitehorsetheater.com/

This production has been made possible in part by The Bechdel Group as well as New York University's Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing.


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