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The Niceties show poster

The Niceties at Silver Spring Black Box Theatre

Dates: (3/8/2024 - 3/23/2024 )


Silver Spring Black Box Theatre

10305 Crestmoor Dr
Silver Spring,MD 20910

Tickets: $25 - $34

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  3. The Niceties

Zoe, a Black student, meets with Janine, her White history professor, to discuss Zoe’s paper for a class on revolutions. What begins as a polite clash in perspectives explodes into an urgent debate about race, history, and power.

Eleanor Burgess’s The Niceties was originally developed at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in 2017. Peter Marks of the Washington Post called it “one of the best plays I’ve seen about who gets to tell the story of America and how.” When The Niceties had its world premiere at Huntington Theatre Company, the Boston Globe wrote “Burgess generates a verbal whirlwind with a words-per-minute velocity that rivals Aaron Sorkin.”

Cast and Creative team for The Niceties at Silver Spring Black Box Theatre


Sue Struve

Sue (she/her) is delighted to be returning to Perisphere Theater, where she appeared as Margrethe Bohr in Copenhagen. Previous roles include multiple characters in Hard Times (Washington Stage Guild); Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories (Peter’s Alley Theatre Productions), Mother in The Wedding Dress (Spooky Action Theater), Queen Margaret in Richard III, Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mrs. Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (Annapolis Shakespeare Company); and multiple roles in Enron (4615 Theatre). Sue understudied the role of Ginnie in Admissions at Studio Theatre and played 17 characters in Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Secret Journey at Compass Rose Theater.

Hannah Taylor

Hannah (she/her) is a Washington DC-based actress, and she’s so excited to make her professional theater debut in this production! She recently portrayed Gretchen in Freaky Friday The Musical (The Little Theater of Alexandria), Hildegard von Bingen in Rejoicing in Broken Pieces (Catholic University of America), and Juror 8 in 12 Angry Jurors, (CUA).

Creative Team

Eleanor Burgess

In addition to The Niceties, Eleanor Burgess’s (she/her) plays include Wife of a Salesman, Start Down, Chill, Sparks Fly Upward, and Galilee, 34. Her work has been produced at theaters across the United States, including Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Geffen Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, Huntington Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Merrimack Rep, the Alliance Theatre and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Eleanor has been a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Page 73’s writers’ group Interstate 73, The Civilians’ R&D Group, and New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship. She has also written for film and television, including work on Perry Mason for HBO, WeCrashed for Apple TV+, and Interview With The Vampire for AMC, and screenplays for Bad Robot, Amblin, and Anonymous Content. Originally from Massachusetts, she studied history at Yale College and Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.

Kevin O'Connell

Kevin (he/him) took over as artistic and executive director of Perisphere Theater in 2019 and has produced its last four plays. He was the founding artistic director of Barabbas Theatre Company, which produced highly acclaimed plays in the Capital Fringe Festival. These included H5x7, O’Connell’s faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V; the world premiere of Alexandra Petri’s Never Never; and the D.C. area premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s, Exit, Pursued by a Bear. He holds a M.A. in dramaturgy from the Catholic University of America and an M.A. in history from the State University of New York at Albany.

Jeff McDermott

Producer/Props Designer
Jeff (he/him) is a founding board member of Perisphere Theater. He has been an attorney with the federal government for 14 years, currently serving as investigative counsel to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State. He is also the President of the Capitol Hill Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, having previously served as its Treasurer and Secretary. He was a member of the editorial board of the monthly periodical The Federal Lawyer from 1999 to 2010. Jeff has produced, directed, and acted for several theaters in the Washington area. He has been a member of the Rockville Little Theatre Board of Directors since 2012 and currently serves as its Treasurer. Jeff received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary and his J.D. from Georgetown University.

Paige Washington

Stage Manager
Paige (they/them/theirs) is a local DMV stage and production manager. Recent credits include Albert Herring with The Maryland Opera Studio; Alceste with INSeries; The Wilting Point with Keegan Theatre; Requiem with INSeries; and Tempered: A Cabarage with 4615 Theatre Company. In addition to their management work, they are a director and choreographer. Credits include There is No Hope in the City of Chaos with Keegan’s Boiler Room Series; By the Hands of a Woman with Keegan’s Boiler Room Series; The Headwound with Post Shift Theatre. They are also the Executive Director at 4615 Theatre Company and Associate Production Manager at Imagination Stage. They are thrilled to be doing work that puts queer, brown, and indigenous bodies and minds at the center.

Jessica Trementozzi

Scenic Designer
Jessica (she/her) is honored to be working with Perisphere Theater once again. Jessica has worked with many theaters on the East Coast, including The Public, Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, The Kennedy Center (Theater for Young Audiences), Georgetown University and more. She received her MFA in Scenic Design from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and her BA in Theatrical Design from Anderson University. Jessica is an award-winning theatrical designer who thrives when working with people and is passionate about effective storytelling, the use of design to encourage empathy, and using art as a medium for social change.

Trinity Joseph

Lighting Designer
Trinity Joseph (she/her) is a creative from Baltimore Maryland. She is currently a junior in the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University studying Theater Technology with a minor in Photography. She enjoys exploring other creative outlets such as embroidery and traditional arts, and enjoys mixing ideas and techniques from one medium of art to another. Recent/Favorite lighting design credits at Howard University include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Heathers, and Vivify dance showcase featuring Dilika, and the American stage premiere of Black is Beautiful for the Complexions Contemporary Ballet company.

Steven Leshin

Master Carpenter
Steven (he/him) gladly accepted the invitation to return as master carpenter for The Niceties production. He has either led or assisted in the construction of theater sets for many theater companies in the Maryland-DC area, for both professional and volunteer community theaters. He thanks all the wonderful behind-the-scene workers for their efforts to create the settings that showcase the actors and hopes you enjoy the show.

Jessica Utz

Costume Consultant
Jessica (she/her) is a DC-based costume designer and technician whose work has been seen at Perisphere Theatre (Costume Designer: Hazardous Materials, The Storehouse); Montgomery College (Costume Designer: The Visit, Cabaret, In The Heights); Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Associate Costume Designer: Incendiary); Theater J (Associate Costume Designer: This Much I Know); Constellation Theatre Company (Assistant Costume Designer: Orlando). She has also been a stitcher, craftsperson, first hand, and tailor at Signature Theatre, Arena Stage, Round House Theatre, and many more.

Gerrad Alex Taylor

Fight Choreographer
Gerrad (he/him) is an award-winning director and multidisciplinary theater artist based in the greater Baltimore region and an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In 2021 he was named one of Baltimore’s “40 Under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal. In 2020, he founded Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Black Classical Acting Ensemble, an affinity space for Black artists in the region interested in examining the classical canon. He has worked as an actor, director and educator for theaters and educational institutions across the country, centering his work on creating space that preserves and celebrates the history and culture of the Global Majority. In 2021, he directed Time Is On Our Side, by R. Eric Thomas, for Perisphere Theater. Gerrad holds an MFA in acting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a B.A. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. On April 1, Gerrad will take over as a joint artistic director of Perisphere Theater.

Katie McCreary

Lighting Consultant

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