Philadelphia's Simpatico Theatre's 2019-20 Season Examines The Impact Of Gun Violence
For Simpatico Theatre in Philadelphia, their 15th season No Place/Like Home looks at how and where we live, especially in the face of gun violence. The season asks the question: what happens when we find ourselves a stranger in our own home or neighborhood? All productions will take place at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, Philadelphia.
Simpatico's 2019-20 season begins with NATURAL SHOCKS by Lauren Gunderson. Based on Hamlet's "To be or not to be," NATURAL SHOCKS is a new 65-minute, one-woman tour-de-force play that bursts to life when we meet a woman waiting out an imminent tornado in her basement. She overflows with quirks, stories, and a final secret that puts the reality of guns in America in the audience's lap. The play is part confessional, part stand up, and part reckoning. The New York Times raved, "Gunderson's Natural Shocks raises important points about the need to take action in times of crises."
Simpatico's production will star Philadelphia favorite award winning actress Amanda Schoonover and will be directed by Elise D'Avella of Svaha Theatre Collective. The production will run from December 4-22, 2019.
The season continues with the World Premiere of rising star Philadelphia playwright Stephanie Kyung Sun Walter's ESTHER CHOI AND THE FISH THAT DROWNED. Esther Choi is a favorite all-American, overachieving-Asian teen except she has a ghost. Anthony Gibson is Esther's best friend and (spoiler alert) he's dead. Mr. Choi is Esther's grandfather and he owns a haunted dry cleaner on Cheltenham Ave. In an (un)likely turn of events, Esther must grapple with grief, loneliness, and winning first chair in high school orchestra, all while living up to her grandfather's new expectations. Shaun Leisher of the New Play Exchange wrote that ESTHER CHOI is "an absolutely haunting memory play and fascinating character study."
ESTHER CHOI AND THE FISH THAT DROWNED was developed through PlayPenn via The Foundry and will be directed by Cat Ramirez of Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists. The production will feature performances by Claris Park and Aaron Bell and will run March 25 - April 12, 2020.
"These plays look at the lives of Americans struggling to find their place in a country that has in many ways abandoned them," says Artistic Director Allison Heishman. "Gunderson and Walters bring humor and heart to the struggle we face as a nation to feel safe in our own homes."
Additionally, Simpatico Theatre is thrilled to support the development of Jouska PlayWorks. Jouska PlayWorks is an assembly of playwrights of color conceived by lead artist and founder Teresa Miller and co founders Keenya Jackson and Quinn Eli, all of whom are committed to creating works for the stage that will shift perceptions and inaccuracies about the African Diaspora by bringing to the foreground stories and experiences that have too long been untold. The goal is to use theatre as a means to enrich, entertain, empower and awaken the moral conscience, and to provide a lab/development setting for playwrights of the African Diaspora to hone their craft and achieve excellence through readings and workshops.
Also, don't miss Simpatico Welcomes Our Robot Overlords - Holiday Edition. This comedy favorite is back again, just in time to get the Robot Overlord take on the holidays! Join us Tuesday, December 10 at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake for a night of comedy brought to you by the best comedians Artificial Intelligence can provide. From the folks at Botnik Studios and the best and worst corners of the internet, Philly's funniest actors will make you laugh 'til you cry, and - at least momentarily - forget the impending robot take-over...
The Pay What You Decide ticketing program will continue for all performances in the 2019/2020 Season. After the performance, audience members decide what to pay for their experience. This removes the financial barriers associated with attending theater and provides an opportunity for new audience members to try something new.