Photo Flash: Interact Theatre Company Kicks Off 2018 With World Premiere of SENSITIVE GUYS

Photo Flash: Interact Theatre Company Kicks Off 2018 With World Premiere of SENSITIVE GUYS

Is it enough just to be "working on your sh*t"? Lauded playwright MJ Kaufman's skewering play SENSITIVE GUYS, presented by InterAct Theatre Company as the second show of their 30th Anniversary Season, uses the "safe spaces" of a small liberal arts college, and the passionate yet naïve students who inhabit them, to explore pitfalls that lurk on the path toward undoing institutionalized patriarchal norms. This prescient piece, though developed a few years ago through InterAct's Core Playwrights program, speaks directly to the current cultural moment with humor, biting insight, and hopeful compassion.

Kaufman's play runs January 19 - February 11, 2018 at InterAct (opening January 24) and will be directed by Evren Odcikin. The cast features an ensemble of local artists including Barrymore Award-winner Bi Jean Ngo, as well as Emily Lynn, Maggie Johnson, Lexie Braverman and Brett Robinson. Performances take place in the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, located at 302 S. Hicks Street in Center City Philadelphia. Tickets cost between $25-$40 and are available online at interacttheatre.org, at the box office at boxoffice@interacttheatre.org, or by phone at 215-568-8079. Limited "INTER-HALF" half-price tickets are available after January 25 and must be purchased the same day and in-person at the box office (credit card fees apply).

"We are excited to premiere MJ's surprisingly timely play at this particular moment in American history" says InterAct's Producing Artistic Director, Seth Rozin. "Its themes have only become increasingly relevant - unfortunately - and MJ gives our audiences an artful and playful way to consider this very serious and pervasive issue."

SENSITIVE GUYS takes place on the campus of a small liberal arts college where a pair of extracurricular programs, the student-led Men's Peer Education Group and women's Survivor Support Group, work together on an ambitious plan to unlearn sexism and totally eradicate all sexual violence everywhere within just five years. Everything seems to be on track - until an incident throws all their ideals into question. Beginning as a satirical look at hyper-progressivism and modern gender tropes, the play casts a long shadow, asking what change might actually be possible when complicity is assured-intentionally or inadvertently-in the monolith of male-dominated society.

InterAct is committed to connecting stories on stage with issues facing our world today and to making their work accessible through discounted ticketing programs and special talkback opportunities. InterConnections, an audience engagement program presented by PNC Arts Alive, enables InterAct to partner on this production with Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), whose mission is toeliminate sexual violence through specialized treatment services, comprehensive prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of victims of sexual assault. WOAR will receive all proceeds from InterAct's Pay What You Can Final Dress on Thursday, January 18 and will host speakers for three "Speaker Sunday" events on January 28, February 4, and February 11 following Sunday matinee performances.In addition, InterAct will host community-based Social Action Happy Hours with WOAR on February 2 and 9. Attendees to these events will receive half-price tickets to that evening's performance (as available) as well as discounts on wine and beer. 50% of happy hour proceeds will go to support WOAR and their important work. The February 9 event will feature $15 tickets to SENSITIVE GUYS as part of Philadelphia Theatre Week.

During the run, InterAct will present further post-show audience conversations. Coffee Conversations occur on Tuesday andWednesday nights, featuring informal discussions with the artists and complimentary coffee from Rival Bros. Coffee and treats from Insomnia Cookies. Other evenings feature Audience Discussions after performances during the run (beginning January 26). These will be facilitated by local community members to foster conversation connecting the play to the larger community.

InterAct is also pleased to continue Parents' Day Out!, a new initiative for theatergoing patrons with children. During the matinee onSunday, February 4, InterAct will provide theatre-themed childcare at The Drake during the performance, allowing parents and guardians to see the show without worrying about the price or logistics of babysitting.

To engage the community further, InterAct will be offering an open captioned performance on Sunday, February 4 and a Spanish captioned performance on Friday, February 9.

Evren Odcikin is a San Francisco-based director and producer. He has directed productions and workshops at South Coast Rep, The Lark, O'Neill Theatre Center, Cleveland Public Theater, InterAct, Magic Theatre, TheatreSquared, and National New Play Network Showcase with such writers as Christopher Chen, Yussef El Guindi, Lauren Gunderson, David Jacobi, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Mona Mansour, Rehana Lew Mirza, Han Ong, Marisela Treviño Orta, Betty Shamieh, Caridad Svich, Lauren Yee, amongst many others. Recognitions include a 2015 National Director's Fellowship from NNPN, O'Neill, Kennedy Center, and SDCF; "Theater Workers You Should Know" selection by American Theatre Magazine in 2016; a 2013 TITAN Award from Theatre Bay Area; and being selected as an Emerging Theatre Leader by TCG for their AmEx Leadership Bootcamp in 2012. Evren serves as the Director of New Plays at Golden Thread Productions and is a founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with Middle Eastern stories. Upcoming productions: Guillermo Calderón's Kiss at Shotgun Players, and Mona Mansour's We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War at Golden Thread. odcikin.com

MJ Kaufman (Playwright) is a playwright and devised theater artist working in New York and Philadelphia. Their work has been seen at The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, Colt Coeur, National Asian American Theater Company, Huntington Theatre, and Yale School of Drama and performed in Russian in Moscow. In Philadelphia MJ has worked with InterAct, Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Headlong Dance Theater as an incubated artist. They taught at University of the Arts and served as a Teaching Artist in Residence at Philadelphia Young Playwrights. MJ also received a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant and a project grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. MJ is currently a member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group, WP Theater Lab, and a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. MJ has co-curated the 2016 and 2017 Trans Theater Festivals at The Brick and will launch Trans Lab, a fellowship for trans theater artists, in January 2018.

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