Playwrights Horizons Opens Live for Five Lottery For New York Premiere of Lucas Hnath's THE THIN PLACE
Playwrights Horizons (Artistic Director Tim Sanford, Managing Director Leslie Marcus) is, from now through Thursday, November 14, accepting entries for the Live for Five online lottery, giving out $5 tickets to the first preview of Lucas Hnath's The Thin Place, directed by Les Waters. Since his "mesmerizing drama" (The New York Times) The Christians made its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2015, Hnath has received acclaim for two major Broadway productions (A Doll's House, Part 2 and Hillary and Clinton). He now returns to Playwrights with his most arrestingly intimate work to date. In the burgeoning friendship between two women-one who's recently experienced a strange loss, and another who communicates with the dead-Hnath crafts an unnerving testament to the power of the mind, and one mind's power to influence others. The Thin Place makes its New York premiere at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St), running November 22, 2019, through January 5, 2020.
Playwrights Horizons created Live for Five in 2007 as part of their Arts Access program to reach out to those who may not be able to afford the cost of a full-price theater ticket. Since its inception, thousands of theatergoers have been able to attend the theater thanks to the initiative. Live for Five makes a limited number of $5 tickets available for the first preview performance of each Playwrights Horizons production through a lottery via the company's website (www.phnyc.org).
The Live for Five lottery for The Thin Place will be for tickets to the first preview on Friday evening, November 22 at 7:30pm. The production officially opens Monday, December 12, and will play through Sunday, January 5. Details for the Live for Five lottery are as follows: as of today at 12 Noon, theatergoers can enter the lottery by filling out an entry form at www.phnyc.org/L45. Hopeful audiences can also enter this lottery via Instagram: by following @phnyc and tagging one friend on the account's #LiveForFive post on Monday. Entries will be accepted until Thursday, November 14, at 12 Noon. Winners of the lottery will be notified via email no later than 3pm on Thursday, November 14, with instructions on how to book their $5 tickets; they will have until Friday, November 15, at 12 Noon to book tickets. Unclaimed tickets will be offered via email to a limited standby list starting Friday, November 15, at 3pm on a first-come, first-served basis. One or two tickets may be purchased by winners for $5 each.
The production features Randy Danson (Playwrights: Arts and Leisure; Broadway: Wicked, Wonderful Town; Other Off-Broadway: Venus, Love and Information) as Linda, Kelly McAndrew (Playwrights: Men on Boats; Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Other Off-Broadway: Novenas for a Lost Hospital) as Sylvia, Emily Cass McDonnell (Off-Broadway: The Antipodes, Mercury Fur, Grasses of a Thousand Colors; Film: Ben Is Back, A Master Builder) as Hilda, and Triney Sandoval (Broadway: Marvin's Room, Macbeth, A Free Man of Color, A Man for All Seasons, Frost/Nixon) as Jerry. The creative team includes Mimi Lien (Scenic Designer), Oana Botez (Costume Designer), Mark Barton (Lighting Designer), Christian Frederickson (Sound Designer), and Paul Mills Holmes (Production Stage Manager).
The Thin Place is the story of two women, Hilda and Linda. Linda communicates, professionally, with the dead, who are still here, just in a different part of here, in The Thin Place. She can make those who believe hear them, offering them peace and closure and meaning. Originally from rural England, she's reestablished herself in the U.S.-birthplace of spiritualism-where she has continued to build a career out of her gift. Hilda, a keen listener and observer who's grappling with loss, takes a great interest in Linda's abilities. She befriends the veteran medium, seeking answers that lie across the fragile boundary between our world and the other one.
Hnath's play bristles with disquieting suggestion, probing the most timeless questions about reality, the impressionability of the mind, and the omnipresence of death as we float through life. Ever gifted at taking the pulse of the world around him, Hnath matches these universals with a timely resonance, distilling collective feelings of national chaos-and our political and spiritual vulnerabilities therein-to a chillingly personal scale.
The Thin Place began only as a name-brought up in a conversation between Lucas Hnath and Les Waters (former Artistic Director of The Actors Theatre of Louisville; Playwrights: The Christians; Broadway: In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)), when Waters and Hnath were workshopping another of Hnath's plays. Waters referred to a moment of that play as existing in a "thin place," and when Hnath asked him to explain, he said, "The place where the line between this world and some other world is very thin." In the town where Waters grew up, he recalled, there were several thin places. Hnath wrote it down as a title for a play that did not yet exist, with the intention-for when whatever it was came into being-of having Waters direct it.
"While Les is able to more easily make room for mystery, I'm more obsessively analytical," says Hnath. "So, very intentionally I tried to make this material come from the unconscious mind. I wanted to write something that would scare me-but I don't know that I can do that while I'm fully in my analytical mode. A monster does not scare me, but psychology, mind control, possession stories-those uncanny spaces that tie the most obviously into spiritualism-do. I had to work myself into a state of fear and deep anxiety to find my way into this play."
Waters adds, "Lucas and I both have a real interest in minimalism-in, say, using as little as theatrically possible to create an emotional effect, whether that's uncertainty or fear. How do audience members participate in conjuring that environment?"
Commissioned by The Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Thin Place made its world premiere at the Humana Festival, where Insider Louisville called it "a marvel" and Broadway World praised the play for the questions it asks, saying they "will perhaps never be answered, but the best horror allows us, tricks us, into thinking about them, and forces us into at least beginning to find some answers for ourselves."
The Thin Place runs November 22, 2019 through January 5, 2020, and officially opens on Thursday, December 12, 2019. For a full schedule, visit phnyc.org.