Theatre Exile Opens It's 2018/2019 Season With Itamar Moses's COMPLETENESS

By: Oct. 26, 2018

Theatre Exile Opens It's 2018/2019 Season With Itamar Moses's COMPLETENESS

Theatre Exile opens its 2018/2019 season with Itamar Moses's Completeness. Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, and the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. This incredibly seductive and ridiculously intelligent comedy by 2018 Tony Award-winner Itamar Moses explores the chemistry between smart, damaged people and what happens when they lose control of the science.

Completeness begins Thursday, November 29, 2018 and opens Wednesday, December 5, 2018. All performances are being held at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street.

The first spark for Completeness came when playwright Itamar Moses was taking Electrical Engineering 101 in college and learned about the Traveling Salesman Problem. "I remember liking how simple the problem was and that it had this evocative, non-science sounding name. It didn't occur to me that there might be a play in it, though, until many years later, when I received a Sloane Commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. I remembered the Traveling Salesman Problem, which is essentially a problem of choice-making when there are too many possibilities, and it suddenly occurred to me that it was a good metaphor for choosing a life partner. I immediately saw the seeds of a romantic comedy about someone working on the problem who also sees it manifest in his personal life, and my protagonist, Elliot was born." Moses explains.

Even though Completeness received a regional and New York premiere, Moses continued to tinker with the script. When asked about this he said "I think there's a common misconception that when a play premieres, or premieres in New York, that the playwright is necessarily done with it. Sometimes that's true, but it's just as often not true, there are usually at least some things that nag at you, that you never felt you got completely right. Sometimes you let it go, chalk it up to experience, and vow to get it right on the next play. But sometimes one of those nagging feelings is so strong that you keep thinking about the play and the work you want to do on it. That's what happened to me with Completeness. Finally, about four years after the New York premiere, while watching a small production in LA (directed by Matt Pfeiffer), I had the light bulb moment and saw how to fix the things that had been nagging at me. When I got back to New York, I sat down and did the rewrite...and finally felt satisfied. This was a few years ago now, and I haven't worked on the play since. One of the reason I'm so excited for the Theatre Exile production is it's the first one I'm going to be able to see that uses the newest version."

When director Matt Pfeiffer was asked why he wanted to take second crack at Completeness his response was, "It's a challenging play. Itamar's text is at times complicated and requires a keen intellect. Going through the process once, has given me some perspective on exactly how I think the play works. I was eager to tackle it again with that knowledge. I also feel that in working on it with James (Ijames) and Mary (Toumanen), I have an opportunity to explore the play from a new perspective."

As an audience member Matt wants you to "Be prepared to laugh. But also know that you're dealing with incredibly smart characters. So you'll have to buckle up and take the ride with them. You may hear a lot of new words and learn new concepts about the world. But it's not just for the sake of intellectual rigor, it's to get at something truly funny and human."

Production History
Completeness was originally commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club. The play was first presented by South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, on April 17, 2011. The play was first presented Off Broadway by Playwrights Horizons in New York City on August 19, 2011. Both productions were directed by Pam MacKinnon. Since then it has been produced at Theater Wit in Chicago in 2013, VS. Theatre Company in Los Angeles in 2014, and Normal Ave in New York, New York in 2018

About the Playwright
Itamar Moses is the author of the full-length plays Outrage, Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Yellowjackets, Back Back Back,Completeness, and The Whistleblower, the musicals Nobody Loves You (with Gaby Alter), Fortress of Solitude (with Michael Friedman), and The Band's Visit (with David Yazbek), and the evening of short plays Love/Stories (Or But You Will Get Used To It). His work has appeared Off-Broadway and elsewhere in New York, at regional theatres across the country and in Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Venezuela, Turkey and Chile, and is published by Faber & Faber and Samuel French. Awards for his work include Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, and Obie awards in New York, as well as awards from the Portland, San Diego, Dallas, and Bay Area Theatre Critics Circles. He's received new play commissions from The McCarter, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Rep, The Wilma Theater, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, and The Goodman. On television, Itamar has written for TNT's Men of a Certain Age, HBO's Boardwalk Empire, WGN's Outsiders, SHOWTIME's The Affair, and TNT's The Alienist. He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU and has taught playwriting at Yale and NYU. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Born in Berkeley, CA, he now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

About the Director
Matt Pfeiffer is a Philly born actor and director. Credits include: Arden Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre and 20 seasons with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Matt is a two-time Barrymore winner for his direction for Theatre Exile and a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award.

Cast and Design Team
The cast features Mary Tuomanen (Cock) as Molly, James Ijames as Elliot, Claire Inie-Richards as Lauren/Nell/ et al., and Justin Rose as Don/Franklin/et al all making their Theatre Exile debut.

The artistic team includes Set Designer Darcy Scanlin, Associate Set Designer Colin McIIvaine (Sing the Body Electric, Ideation, Lost Girls, Guards at the Taj, The Invisible Hand, Smoke, Red Speedo, Cock, The English Bride, The Edge of our Bodies), Costume Designer Alison Roberts(Buzzer, Guards at the Taj, North of the Boulevard, The English Bride, Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Lieutenant of Inishmore) Lighting Designer Alyssandra Docherty, Sound Designer Mike Kiley (Tommy and Me, The Invisible Hand, Rizzo, The Aliens), and Props Master Shaelyn Weatherup.

Ticket prices range from $10-$50. Tickets are available at Theatre Exile's Box Office by calling 215-218-4022; visiting; coming to the Theatre Exile Administrative Office, located at 2329 S. 3rd Street on the third floor; or arriving to the Box Office for Completeness an hour before each performance, located at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski