The Conservatory Celebrates The New Year With GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory will start 2020 with the surprisingly delightful Gruesome Playground Injuries, a contemporary play by 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rajiv Joseph. Ashley Teague directs the story of two people and the unique relationship they build over a lifetime of injuries, both physical and emotional. This sharp-witted and dark comedy will run from January 1 - 19, in the Cook Theatre with a pay-what-you-can (minimum $5) preview night on December 31.
We follow Doug and Kayleen through the ebb and flow of their relationship over the course of 30 years, where it seems that nothing remains constant - except for the calamities that bring them back together time and time again. Meeting at 8 years old in the school nurse's office, an injured Doug and a sick Kayleen compare what hurts. A mutual fascination of each other's wounds creates a non-traditional but powerful intimacy between the two. Their wavelengths only sync up every so often but "the humor in these missed connections and the chemistry between these characters' is what makes the play both moving and incredibly entertaining," says director, Ashley Teague.
Teague, who directed The Rehearsal at the Conservatory in 2018, thinks audiences will relate to these imperfect characters. "They keep messing it up! They keep getting hurt, and hurting each other. But they keep trying. [It] is truly a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and our universal desire to find love." Teague is a recipient of the 2017 Embark Fellowship Award for Social Innovation in Entrepreneurship and is the founding Artistic Director of the Notch Theatre Company. Teague has been nominated for Best Direction by Motif's Theatre Awards and received Broadway World Critics' Picks for Best Director/Choreographer, Best Musical, and Best Ensemble Cast.
Rajiv Joseph wrote Gruesome Playground Injuries in 2009. The inspiration came while drinking and sharing stories with an accident-prone friend, saying "I realized that if you were like him, you could mark the chapters of your life with injuries. As soon as he got up to get us more drinks, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down the title of the play" (Playbill). The story isn't all that gruesome, however, Variety "finds as much humor as horror in the play's bizarre events." Gruesome Playground Injuries had its world premiere in Houston's Alley Theatre, October of 2009. In 2010, Joseph was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
The creative team for this production includes Set and Lighting Design by Chris McVicker, Costumes by Sofia Gonzalez, Sound by Alex Pinchin, Vocal and Dialect Coaching by Patricia Delorey, and Movement Coaching by Eliza Ladd. Rachel Morris is the Stage Manager with Assistant Stage Manager (and first year student), Derek Sikkema. First years will crew the show.
To purchase tickets to Gruesome Playground Injuries, call 941 351.8000 or 800 361.8388, visit asolorep.org/Conservatory, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The box office is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM when there are no evening performances, and phone reservations close one hour before all performances.