Thursday, August 11, 2016

Two Plays Worth Your Consideration

The Cast of "Driftless" L-R: Alec Silverblatt, Tammy Tsai, Trevor Butler, Ken Bolden and  Siovhan Christensen

Looking for something to do over the weekend? Get indoors where it's cool and air conditioned and enjoy an evening of theater. Here are two productions worth considering.

Hatch Arts Collective presents Driftless, a new, evening-length play at the New Hazlett Theater. Written by Paul Kruse, Driftless traces the course of a family and one Catholic priest as they unearth the full cost of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Directed by Adil Mansoor, this production stars Ken Bolden, Trevor Butler, Siovhan Christensen, Alec Silberblatt, and Tammy Tsai. Strung between Eastern Minnesota and Southwestern Pennsylvania, Driftless maps the intimate connection between time, the land, and our bodies.

A young family sprouts from the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania. A Catholic priest from Eastern Minnesota embeds himself in a new community. Guided by the science and wisdom of two saints, Driftless discusses the effects hydraulic fracturing on our communities. Why must families choose between their health and a healthy economic future? Driftless brings an ongoing debate into the heart of our family kitchens and asks us to consider lives, relationships, and heritage.

Driftless is based on interviews with landowners, activists, and other community members, as well as extensive research and community-based workshops. After three years of artistic and academic exploration, this final production provides a nuanced look at a complicated issue. The show features haunting soundscapes by experimental duo slowdanger, set design by Michelle Carello, lighting design by Kathryn A Devlin, and costumes by Rebecca Harrison.

WHEN: August 11, 12, and 13, 2016 at 8:00 PM | August 14, 2016 at 2:00 PM WHERE: New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 COST: $15.00 advance; $20.00 door. Phone 412-320-46190
 Lobby opens 1 hour before showtime (lots to do and see, come on by early!)
Theater opens 30 minutes before showtime
The show runs 100 minutes (this includes one 10-minute intermission)

There is free street parking around the theater as well as $7 parking (CASH ONLY) in the Allegheny Health Network garage. More details about parking HERE.

Following each performance, a reception will be held in the lobby where community organizations will be present to connect audience members with more information about fracking and environmental justice in our region. Also, artists Maritza Mosquera and Mandy Kendall are both sharing work in the lobby that sheds light on different ideas present in the play. And, of course, what is a reception without FREE PECAN PIE for everyone!

Gayle Pazerski as Diane and Nick Mitchell as Nat in "The Birds" Credit: Andrew David Ostrowski.

The Pittsburgh Premiere production of The Birds concludes the 2016 Name Your Own Price season at the Studio Theatre at the University Of Pittsburgh Cathedral Of Learning, August 4 – 21, 2016.  The play is written by Conor McPherson and is directed by 12 Peers Theater Artistic Director Vince Ventura.  For tickets call 412-626-6784 or visit

Daphne du Maurier’s short story, also the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, is boldly adapted by Conor McPherson—a gripping, unsettling, and moving look at human relationships in the face of societal collapse.

In an isolated house, strangers Nat (Nick Mitchell) and Diane (Gayle Pazerski) take shelter from relentless masses of attacking birds. They find relative sanctuary but not comfort or peace; there’s no electricity, little food, and a nearby neighbor may still be alive and watching them.

Another refugee, the young and attractive Julia (Sara Ashley Fisher), arrives with some news of the outside world, but her presence also brings discord. Their survival becomes even more doubtful when paranoia takes hold of the makeshift fortress—an internal threat to match that of the birds outside.

The Birds features Gayle Pazerski as Diane, Nick Mitchell as Nat/Tierney, and Sara Ashley Fisher as Julia.  Creative team includes Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting design), Hank Bullington (set design), Angela Baughtman (sound design), Madison Hack (props and costume design), and Alex Barnhart (technical director).

About the Playwright
Conor McPherson was born in Dublin in 1971. His plays include Rum & Vodka (Fly by Night Theatre Company, Dublin), the Good Thief (Dublin Theatre Festival; Stewart Parker Award), This Lime Tree Bower (Fly by Night Theatre Company, Dublin/Bush Theatre; Meyer-Whitworth Award), St Nicholas (Bush Theatre/Primary Stages, New York), the Weir (Royal Court/Duke of York’s/Walter Kerr Theater, New York; Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle, George Devine Awards), Dublin Carol (Royal Court/Atlantic Theater, New York), Port Authority (Ambassadors Theatre/Gate Theatre, Dublin/Atlantic Theater, New York), Shining City (Royal Court/Gate Theatre, Dublin/Manhattan Theater Club, New York; Tony Award nomination for Best Play), the Seafarer (National Theatre/Abbey Theatre, Dublin/Booth Theater, New York; Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Tony Award nominations for Best Play) and the Veil (National Theatre). Theatre adaptations include Daphne du Maurier’s the Birds (Gate Theatre, Dublin/Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis) and August Strindberg’s the Dance of Death (Donmar at Trafalgar Studios).

Work for the cinema includes I Went Down, Saltwater, Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, the Actors, and the Eclipse. Forthcoming screen work includes an adaptation of John Banville’s Elegy for April for the BBC to be broadcast this year. Awards for his screenwriting include three Best Screenplay Awards from the Irish Film and Television Academy, the Spanish Cinema Writers Circle Best Screenplay Award, the CICAE Award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Melies d’Argent Award for Best European Film.

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