Obie Award-Winning Playwright Gina Gionfriddo Crafts a Modern Comedy Around Two Would-Be New York Celebrities
Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance kicks off its mainstage season with U.S. Drag, a play by Obie Award-winning playwright Gina Gionfriddo, on October 25–27. The play, a raucous riff on post-millenial New York City, follows two vapid but stylish young women who move to the big city in search of fame and fortune.
Main characters Angela and Alison, two newly-settled Manhattanites, are looking for love and happiness. But they may have to settle for rent money, as they get fired or walk away from jobs they deem beneath their talents and expectations. Along the way, they volunteer for a community advocacy group called SAFE (Stay Away From Ed), named after an elusive serial attacker terrorizing the city. Their new circle of “friends” includes their ruthless, socially stunted roommate; the celebrated author of a fictional memoir; a lonely man who develops friendships with crime victims; and a mousy “Ed survivor” reveling in her 15 minutes of dubious fame. Everyone is looking for salvation in a group where no one has very much to give in this biting, coming-of-age comedy that captures “the viciousness of a certain kind of New York dream”—New York Times.
American playwright Gina Gionfriddo writes for the stage and for television, and is the recipient of many writing prizes, including an Obie Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her most recent production, Rapture, Blister, Burn, premiered at Playwrights Horizons in June 2012.
Assistant Professor of Theatre Alex Draper ’88. The acting company includes Meghan Leathers ’13.5 and Caitlin Duffy ’15 in the title roles of Angela and Alison, and Chelsea Melone ’15, Noah Berman ’13, Greg Dorris ’13, Adam Milano ’15, Matt Ball ’14, and Charlotte Michaelcheck ’15. Katy Svec ’15 is the stage manager, and Sara Banerji ’15 is the assistant director. Costumes are by Artist in Residence Jule Emerson and Associate Costume Director Danielle Nieves; sets and lights are designed by Professor of Theatre Mark Evancho, and sound design is by Technical Director Allison Rimmer.
A Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion about U.S. Drag will take place on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 12:30 p.m., at the Seeler Studio Theatre at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The cast and crew will join and Associate Professor Matthew Kimble and Visiting Associate Professor Jennifer Sellers from the Department of Psychology to discuss the collective hysteria that runs through the play. Lunch is provided free of charge for Middlebury College ID card holders; pay-as-you-can community donations are welcomed.
A pre-performance meal, “Dinner and Conversation with Friends,” will be offered prior to the Friday evening performance. Dinner patrons will be seated family-style at large tables, with arts-related questions posted about the upcoming performance, as a spark for conversation. Attendees are then encouraged to jot down their responses, and post them on easels displayed in the lobby. This event is presented in conjunction with Americans for the Arts’ Creative Conversations program—local gatherings in communities across the country—part of a grassroots movement to elevate the profile of arts in America during National Arts & Humanities Month every October. The dinner will be held on Friday, October 26, 2012, at 6:30 p.m., in the Mahaney Center for the Arts lower lobby. Tickets are $25 and should be purchased in advance.
Performances of U.S. Drag will take place on Thursday-Saturday, October 25–27, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. each evening, at the Seeler Studio Theatre at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.