Photo Flash: Bess Wohl Returns to Artists Rep with Critically Acclaimed Dramedy SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS

Starting October 7, Artists Repertory Theatre presents Bess Wohl's Small Mouth Sounds, directed by Shawn Lee. Artists Rep's 2016/17 season featured Wohl's American Hero, which was also directed by Lee. Small Mouth Sounds runs from October 7 through November 4 on the Alder Stage. For more information visit artistsrep.org.

In 2015, Wohl received the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for "establishing herself as an important voice in New York theatre, and having a breakthrough year." Small Mouth Sounds was a 2016 Critics' Pick in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York, and was selected for the 2015 Kilroy List.

Tired of not living their 'best life,' six broken individuals gather at a wellness center in the middle of the woods for a weeklong silent retreat to breathe and reset. As the voice from an omniscient guru drones on in broken self-help speech, the attendees struggle to find their inner calm while awkwardly combating their mental and physical desires. Over the course of five days, the group inexpertly attempts to navigate through hurt feelings, crippling faux pas, and exposed vulnerabilities to reach enlightenment. Absurdly funny and profoundly poignant, Small Mouth Sounds encourages us all to put down the phone and just be in the moment.

"Unplug and make a connection-that's at the root of this play," said director Shawn Lee. "Each character attending the silent retreat in Small Mouth Sounds has very little dialogue to express a whole lot of angst, desire, and heart. Our talented and brave actors have to reach deep within their physicality to portray a range of emotion with just an eye roll or a smile or a sly glance. It's exciting to see what gets uncovered when you take away speech."

"I'm thrilled to bring Bess Wohl's work back to Portland with this bold, funny, and quietly moving play," said Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez. "Wohl audaciously places her characters in a silent retreat and unlike most plays which communicate character and back story with language, Small Mouth Sounds mirrors real-life encounters where we are left to infer intention and often never learn the sources of joy or pain that friends, co-workers, and strangers carry with them."

Photo Credit: David Kinder

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