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BWW Previews: LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT HAS WORLD PREMIERE OF THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS at American Stage

BWW Previews: LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT HAS WORLD PREMIERE OF THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS  at American Stage
Photo by @JoeyClayStudio

When director Chris Crawford read the script for Natalie Symons' dark comedy about The People Downstairs he was in awe by how relatable the content was.

"Whenever I read a new play, I'm looking for how universal the themes are. Will this be a period piece in a few years or stand the test of time? What l love about Natalie's writing is she writes about what it's like to be a human being. I was so moved by the play because, in essence, it's about the forgotten people, people who don't feel seen or known," he said. "No matter where you are in your walk of life, you will identify with something in this play. There's something for everybody."

The St. Petersburg-based playwright developed the play in collaboration with American Stage leadership and artists, selected from 2019's 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival to be a part of the 2019-2020 American Dreamscape season.

Opening on March 13 and running through April 5 at American Stage, the world premiere of The People Downstairs tells the story of Mabel, a lonely, middle-aged shut-in, a visually-impaired woman who lives with her funeral home custodian father, Miles in Buffalo, NY. When a court-appointed guardian threatens to put them in a nursing home, Miles sets out to find true love for his daughter.

"This is a play about people that for all intents and purposes, by society's standards, should end alone. But they find each other. They find a connection."

The People Downstairs stars Sara Oliva (Mabel Lisowski), Allen Fitzpatrick (Miles Lisowski), Teri Lazzara (Shelley Williams), and Matthew McGee (Todd Schneider).

When asked to describe the play in three words, Chris took a moment to consider.

"Laughter. Love. Loss," he said. "It's a family story. It's a friendship story, a companion story, a saving the day story. It's a little bit of everything. I think the message of the show is to encourage people to - A - go out and live your life to the fullest and B - don't stop and hesitate to notice people because everybody has a story to tell. I hope this play inspires people to talk to new people in a world where polarizing is popular. We often forget the people with the quieter voices."

The People Downstairs is March 13 - April 5 at American Stage, 163 3rd St N, St. Petersburg. For more information, visit http://americanstage.org/PEOPLEDOWNSTAIRS. The show features adult language and theme.


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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley