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Azuka Theatre Kicks Off 18th Season with THE GAP

Azuka Theatre Kicks Off 18th Season with THE GAP

Azuka Theatre kicks off their 18th season with the world premiere of The Gap by Emma Goidel. Rebecca Wright directs this dark comedy and mystery that centers around family secrets, performing, and sisterhood. Audiences will ask themselves, what's ultimately worse: forgetting or remembering? Presented in the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, The Gap previews begin Wednesday, November 1, opens on Saturday, November 4 and runs through November 19, 2017. All tickets for The Gap and other shows this season are Pay What You Decide, whereas audience members see a show first, and pay what they decide after the performance. For additional information about the show, season and Pay What You Decide ticketing, please visit azukatheatre.org. Azuka's production of The Gap is supported by Honorary Producers David & Linda Glickstein.

"For our 18th season, Azuka celebrates theater by Philadelphians for Philadelphians," Producing Artistic Director Kevin Glaccum. ""We want to showcase our commitment to local playwrights by producing three world premiere plays - all by nationally recognized and award winning Philadelphia writers - Emma Goidel, David Jacobi and R. Eric Thomas. The Gap kicks off the season as we take a closer look at what lies beneath the surface of what we consider normal - in family, and in our own memories. What happens when we question the status quo?"

In The Gap, Nicole thinks she was abducted by aliens. Lee thinks Nicole is insane. But Nicole is her sister, so Lee goes on a performance art journey to discover the truth about that strange moment in their life that neither of them can exactly name.

"The story explores the relationship between two sisters, for reasons they can't understand or identify, why they never got along. It is about a performance artist (one of the sisters) trying to understand that relationship by making a piece about it with her undergraduate student," said Goidel. "The show is both a dark comedy and a mystery. It touches on memory and the things we do to survive our lives."

Director Wright added, "It is a play about making a play. It is an artist writing about an artists' process. The story talks about the act of using art to finding truth and constructing personal narrative."

The Gap was developed in several theaters, with the first draft taking place while Goidel was a playwright in residence at fellow Drake partner, InterAct Theatre Company. Goidel then went on to develop the script at the Labyrinth Theater Co. and at Ars Nova in New York. The Gap then had a reading in Philadelphia last year by Theatre Exile. Azuka had worked with Goidel by producing Local Girls in 2016 (hailed as "one of the smartest things that's happening in Philadelphia" by Philadelphia Magazine). Following the success of Local Girls, Azuka wanted to bring Goidel's work back to the stage.

"I just loved Emma's voice," added Glaccum. "We talked about a new play and she sent us The Gap. I read it, loved it and said we must do it. She is incredibly funny and her work shows an amazing amount of heart in what she has to say. Azuka does shows that are about the outskirts of society, and Emma's characters tend to live in that place permanently."

The Gap is directed by Wright and stars Ciera Gardner, Maggie Johnson, Jaime Maseda, Geneviève Perrier and Alice Yorke. The production team features Apollo Mark Weaver (Scenic Design), Masha Tsimring (Lighting Design), Jillian Keys (Costume Design), Michael Kiley (Sound Design), Jorge Cosineau (Video Design), Joe Daniels (Technical Director), Avista Custom Theatrical LLC (Properties), Lauren Tracy (Production Manager) and Michele Volansky (Dramaturg).

The Gap runs for 90 minutes with no intermission. Previews begin on November 1 and the final performance is on November 19, 2017. Performances for The Gap take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street. Parking is available in nearby garages and at meter spots in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.

Azuka continues to show its support for Philadelphia playwrights by dedicating an entire season to world premieres by talented local playwrights. Following The Gap, Azuka will present Ready Steady Yeti Go by David Jacobi (February 21 to March 11) and Mrs. Harrison by R. Eric Thomas (May 2 to May 20). The Gap follows Azuka's recent sold-out world premieres of Sh_theads by Douglas Williams and The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger.

Warning: The Gap discusses PTSD and common causes of trauma. For more information about this warning, please contact us at info@azukatheatre.org or (215) 563-1100. Ticket reservations and season information is available at azukatheatre.org or by phone at (215) 563-1100.

PAY WHAT YOU DECIDE

Azuka continues its commitment to the community by extending the innovative Pay What You Decide box office initiative for another full season! "This "try it before you buy it" model allows you to determine the value of your experience after you've seen the show," said Glaccum.

A city that celebrates so many historic "firsts" is the perfect place to launch the only full-season model of this kind in the United States. The program, that debuted during the 2016-2017, now enters its second season.

Audience members will make a reservation for a show, see the production first and then pay what they decide based on the value of the experience. Pay-what-you-decide is designed to bring in new audiences and remove financial barriers to theater. The program is supported by a $55,000 grant from The Barra Foundation.

No money is exchanged before the show. Tickets will be available to reserve in advance as usual, but there is no obligation to pay until after the show. Patrons can then decide on a price which they think is suitable based on their experience. Ticket payment can be made after the performance by cash, check or credit card. Patrons can also make a payment after the show on the Azuka website. All money collected helps to pay Azuka artists and further support future productions.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT


Emma Goidel is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia's critically acclaimed producing playwrights collective. She is delighted to return to Azuka with The Gap, developed at Ars Nova and Labyrinth Theatre Co. in NYC, and InterAct Theatre Co. and Theatre Exile in Philadelphia. Her other plays include A Knee That Can Bend (Orbiter 3, finalist for seven 2016 Barrymore Awards, American Theater Critics Association/Steinberg Award nominee); Local Girls (Azuka Theatre, developed at Playwrights Realm); and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (Tiny Dynamite & InterAct Theatre Co. in Philly, Òran Mór in Glasgow, Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC). Her work has been supported and developed through residencies and fellowships at Ars Nova and Playwrights Realm in New York, the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, SPACE on Ryder Farm, New York Stage & Film at Vassar, and InterAct Theatre Company and The Foundry in Philadelphia. Emma was a finalist for the 2016 F. Otto Haas Award, the 2016 Independence Foundation Award for an Outstanding New Play/Musical, and the 2015 Princess Grace Award, and was a 2017 Lanford Wilson Award nominee. Love to Ilana, who is now, finally, her spouse.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Rebecca Wright is a Philadelphia-based director-creator, and the artistic director of Applied Mechanics, with whom she has created ten original immersive plays. Recent credits include Peaceable Kingdom with Orbiter 3, At Home With the Humorless Bastard with Annie Wilson at FringeArts, Marcus/Emma at InterAct Theatre Company, Articles of Faith with Cynthia Hopkins, Close Music for Bodies with Michael Kiley, Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Shaw's St. Joan with Quintessence Theater Group, Sarah Flood in Salem Mass at The Flea, Sophie Gets the Horns with The Riot Group, and FEED and We Are Bandits with Applied Mechanics. Next up: Ibsen's The Wild Duck at Quintessence, L. Feldman's A People with Orbiter 3, and a new Applied Mechanics piece premiering in Spring 2018.

ABOUT THE CAST

MAGGIE JOHNSON -

Maggie Johnson is stoked to be part of this project. Azuka debut. Pronouns: they/them. Past credits include: An Octoroon (Wilma Theater), Rodgers' Romance (East Lynne Theater Co.), A Children's Hour (EgoPo Classic Theater), Cat in the Hat (Arden Theatre Co.), Bitter Homes and Gardens (Bearded Ladies Cabaret), and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Philadelphia Artists' Collective) among others. TV: "HBO's Masterclass Series with Patti LuPone." Training: BFA musical Theatre from the University of the Arts. They are a YoungArts Finalist and Silver Winner in Theatre. Thanks to Becky, Emma, and Azuka for the opportunity to at long last play an out queer person onstage. The arrival is so sweet. www.maggie-johnson.com

Alice Yorke -

Alice Yorke is an actor and deviser. She is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special, with whom she created and performed in Hackles, Let the Dog See the Rabbit, and San Everything. She is the lead artist on Lightning Rod Special's newest piece, Unformed Consent, a dark comedy with original music that reveals the absurdity, hypocrisy, and misogyny of the abortion debate in America; the piece is currently in development and set to premiere in 2018. Other performance credits include Alex Bechtel's The West, Pig Iron's 99 Beakups and Pay Up, InterAct Theatre's Down Past Passyunk, and dancing with clown-funk band, Red 40 and the Last Groovement. Proud graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.

CIERA GARDNER -

Ciera Gardner recently graduated from both The University of the Arts '16 with a BFA in Acting, as well as the Headlong Performance Institute '15. Within one yearsince graduation, Ciera became a new member of the interdisciplinary art collective, Plant Me Here, and has worked and performed with Shakespeare in Clark Park (Coriolanus) and The National Trust of Clievden (Liberty to Go to See). This ones for Rabbit! You continue to live on through my art and ambition.

Jaime Maseda -

Jaime Maseda is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. He is one half of No Face Performance Group, a collaborative partnership with NYC-based artist Mark McCloughan. Working with a revolving group of associate artists, they've been making performances using a wide variety of processes and sources since 2007. Jaime has also performed and created with Lightning Rod Special, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Mel Krodman & Kelly Bond, Miguel Gutierrez, Magda & Chelsea, George & Co., Alex Torra, and Orbiter 3. He is currently a printmaking apprentice at the Fabric Workshop & Museum.

GENEVIEVE PERRIER -

Geneviève Perrier is thrilled to be returning to Azuka after appearing in 'Twas The Night. Some credits include: Photograph 51 Lantern Theater, The Women EgoPo, and Detroit Philadelphia Theatre Company. She has also worked with the Berserker Residents in The Annihilation Point the Abrons Art Center in NYC. Geneviève is a two-time Barrymore winner and five-time nominee. She is a teaching artist at Rowan and West Chester Universities. Thank you to all these amazing artists for their collaboration and to Azuka for this chance to play. Love always to my D, S, and M.

ABOUT AZUKA THEATRE

Azuka Theatre strengthens the connection and shared humanity among its diverse audiences by giving voice to the people whose stories go unheard. Located in Philadelphia, Azuka was founded in 1999 by a group of young artists participating in the Arden Theatre Company's nationally recognized Professional Apprentice Program. Azuka Theatre has built a reputation for accessible, thought-provoking and socially conscious theater and been hailed as "a company to watch" and a "major player on the Philadelphia alternative theatre scene'" by Philadelphia Weekly. Azuka is currently at are currently at 39 productions, 18 world premieres, 17 Philadelphia premieres. Azuka is a Resident Partner at The Drake and an Associate Members of the National New Play Network.

Photo: Maggie Johnson & Alick Yorke; photo credit: Johanna Austin/AustinArt.org


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