Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Custom Made Theatre Co. and EXIT Theatre present a Workshop Production of YOU'LL NOT FEEL THE DROWNING

This April, You'll Not Feel the Drowning - written by Marissa Skudlarek and directed by Gabriel A. Ross - is the first play to be workshopped by Custom Made Theatre Company as part of their new play development program, Undiscovered Works, a project in collaboration with EXIT Theatre with the goal of creating more direct avenues from page to stage.

You'll Not Feel the Drowning is a play about coming to terms with the dangerous natural forces that surround us. Inspired by an award-winning New Yorker article about the likelihood of a cataclysmic tsunami striking the Pacific Northwest coast, it tells an intimate story of three people who make their lives in a tsunami zone. Greg (Jason Wong), a post-doctoral researcher in seismology, comes to a small town on the Oregon coast to do scientific research but encounters unexpected resistance from its citizenry. Susan (Terry Bamberger) is the mayor, a formidable woman who is aware of the tsunami risk but has done nothing to mitigate it. Laura (Maria Giere Marquis), Susan's daughter, is caught in the middle between Greg and Susan, between bravery and fear. In determining how to respond to the tsunami threat, all three learn that some of their beliefs are well founded, and some are built on shaky ground.

"I had already wanted to write about the part of the world where I'm from," says playwright Marissa Skudlarek. "Well, technically I grew up in the Portland suburbs but I wanted to write about Oregon's wilder parts, its beauty, the somewhat masochistic love I feel for wet, grey places. Oregon can make you a romantic. I thought about Schulz's article, and the twisted sea chanteys of Portland-based band The Decemberists, and the bleak cold grandeur of the Pacific. It was the idea of the tsunami that stuck with me, more than the earthquake itself. I've always found drowning a particularly scary way to go; yet at the same time, mightn't there be something oddly poetic about it?"

Given its first reading in May, with subsequent developmental readings in September and December, this 2017 workshop of You'll Not Feel The Drowning will present six performances by fully memorized actors who have been rehearsing with the director for two weeks. Basic costumes, sound, and lighting will help audiences envision what a full production would look and feel like. A key part of the development process in this work's progression to a full production, the workshop is like creating the blueprints for the building to come and gives the author an exciting new way to see the best aspects of her work, and what still might need development.

As part of this new play development program, two performances will include the opportunity for audiences to share verbal feedback and responses, in conversations led by dramaturg Allie Moss and program director Stuart Bousel. The writer will then utilize this feedback in the play's ongoing development and on the journey to a full production. Every performance will also give the audience a chance to provide written feedback.

April 13 - April 22, 2017
featuring talkbacks with the playwright on April 14 and April 21

Tickets are $15 and on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets
Marissa Skudlarek (Playwright) thanks Custom Made and EXIT Theatre for the opportunity to further develop You'll Not Feel the Drowning in this workshop production. This script was originally commissioned by the San Francisco Olympians Festival, an organization for which Skudlarek has written frequently. Her other Olympians Festival plays include the full-length Pleiades (produced by No Nude Men Productions in August 2014, to critical acclaim); the screenplay Aphrodite, or the Love Goddess; and the shorter plays Teucer, Laodike, The Dryad of Suburbia, and Macaria, or The Good Life. Skudlarek's other full-length plays include Juana, or The Greater Glory (which received a staged reading at the Loud and Unladylike Festival in 2016), Deus ex Machina (Young Playwrights Festival National Competition winner in 2006), Marginalia, and The Rose of Youth (Marilyn Swartz Seven Award and production at Vassar College production in 2008; staged reading at the EXIT Theatre in 2013). Her shorter plays and translations have been produced by PianoFight Productions, San Francisco Theater Pub, Un-Scripted Theatre, Wily West Productions, and the San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival. Skudlarek is an occasional contributor to American Theatre's website and, from 2012 to 2016, she wrote a twice-monthly column for the San Francisco Theater Pub blog. She grew up outside of Portland, studied Drama and French at Vassar College, and has lived in San Francisco since 2008.

Gabriel A. Ross (Director) has performed across the Bay Area for years. Recent roles include Isaac in Isaac's Eye (Custom Made), Antony in Julius Caesar (SV Shakespeare), Young Harry/Jack in Shakespeare Goes to War (World Premiere at Theatre Rhinoceros), and Charles/Ladvenu in Saint Joan (Jewel Theatre). He has toured California performing children's theatre and is also the Casting Director at Custom Made. He has directed numerous readings of original and classic works and productions such as The Book of Liz and The Actor's Nightmare at Custom Made. He recently directed Greetings! at Pacifica Spindrift Players. He is grateful to be directing this workshop and thankful for the support of the cast, crew, and the staff of Custom Made.

Allie Moss (Dramaturg) is a dramaturg and director. Her dramaturgical projects include MacBitch (upcoming at The Breadbox), The Realistic Joneses (American Conservatory Theater), Love and Information (as Assistant Dramaturg, American Conservatory Theater), and Let There Be Love (as Assistant Dramaturg, American Conservatory Theater). Her recent directing work includes Erinyes/Eumenides (Custom Made's Undiscovered Works Reading Series), The Vagina Monologues (A.C.T. V-Day Project), and Stop Kiss (A.C.T. Fellowship Project). Allie holds a BA in Theater from Goucher College and works as the Artistic Administrator at American Conservatory Theater.

The Custom Made Theatre Company, in its 18th season of production, is committed to producing plays that awaken our social conscience, focusing on the strength of the ensemble and creating an intimate theatrical experience. Custom Made became the proprietor of the theatre at 533 Sutter St. in August of 2015, and is now in the second season as resident company of the 99-seat stage which was formerly the home of San Francisco Playhouse. Previously, Custom Made ran the Gough Street Playhouse (attached to Trinity Church at Bush) and the mainstage at Off-Market Theatres in SOMA. Awards include the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics' Circle Best Overall Production in the Bay Area, under 100 seats, for In Love and Warcraft in 2015 and The Play about the Bay in 2012. Over the past two seasons, Custom Made has been honored with fourteen Theatre Bay Area Award finalists, and over twenty Critics Circle nominations. Custom Made recently received SFBATCC's Paine Knickerbocker Award for making a lasting contribution to Bay Area theatre. Recent world premiere productions include Sam and Dede, or My Dinner with Andre the Giant, Of Serpents and Sea Spray, The Braggart Soldier, and Little Brother. Recent regional premieres include In Love and Warcraft, Middletown, Slaughterhouse-Five, Peter/Wendy, and The Pain and the Itch. Custom Made is a member of Theatre Communications Group, National New Play Network (Associate member), and Theatre Bay Area. For more information, visit:

EXIT Theatre has been presenting indie theatre since 1983 and operates five storefront performance spaces in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. With a focused mission, the EXIT provides opportunities for artists to create and showcase their work and develop their audiences. In addition to housing the productions of 100 independent theatre companies each year, the EXIT is single-handedly responsible for the annual San Francisco Fringe Festival, the largest grass roots theatre festival in the Bay Area.

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You