Be ready for a challenging theater experience.
Know Theater of Cincinnati presents a rolling world premiere, THE ARSONISTS, by Jacqueline Goldfinger, October 20 – November 4, 2017 in Season 20 entitled Love is Love.
In eighty uninterrupted minutes, the piece is nervous and thought-provoking, characteristics of Know’s productions. Jim Stark, professor of theater at Hanover College in Indiana and equity actor, plays H with Erin Ward as M, a member of OTRimprov and Serials! They deliver excellent services. The two actors stand on stage the entire time in an emotional interplay of a father-daughter relationship in a tale of grief, loss, and redemption loosely based on the Greek tragedy of Electra. Stark has appeared on stages in the United States and is making his first and strong performance in Cincinnati.
Set deep in Tate’s Hell, a swamp in Florida, THE ARSONISTS is a contemporary myth that explores the parent-child relationship. The piece is runner-up at the Leah Ryan Price Prize 2016 and nominated for the Blackburn Prize and the Weissberger Award. It is the last piece in Goldfinger’s South Gothic trilology.
M loses her father in an arson that went wrong. She goes on a journey with his mind to regain her life and reshape her memory. The dialogue between M and M is intense and often full of conflict. The theatergoer has to listen carefully to grasp all the nuances of the father-daughter relationship. It’s complex and unsurprisingly emotional. Both Stark and Ward record their fights well. Be ready to hear heartbreaking conversation. This is not a game for the faint of heart.
The National New Play Network’s flagship initiative supports three or more theaters that choose to play the same new play, as well as develop, produce, and oversee the rest of the life of new plays within 12 months. Know is a member of NNPN. The production of THE ARSONISTS is Know’s third rolling world premiere and the 67th rolling world premiere for NNPN. Partner members also include the Azuka Theater in Philadelphia, the Perseverance Theater in Anchorage / Juneau, Arkansas and Capital Stage in Sacramento, California. THE ARSONISTS opened in Philadelphia on May 3rd.
The set was created by Andrew J. Hungerford and is the artistic director and resident stage and lighting designer. It’s easy. Untreated wood forms the bare floor and surrounding walls. Maybe he wanted to keep it simple. As a background, H & M created a white cord curtain on the front of the stage. Guitars hang on either side of the apartment. Both actors use them to accompany their singing and to play with enthusiasm. Their duos are particularly effective.
Music consists of seventeen traditional folk songs arranged by the actors and capturing the eerie beauty of swampy mystery. The songs are an integral part of the piece and include favorites like “I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger” and “You Are My Sunshine”. At the end of the game, H has a heart attack. Annoyed, M sings “Closer my God to you”.
Goldfinger is an accomplished playwright. In 2004 she graduated from the University of Southern California with an MFA. She is currently a playwright at the Azuka Theater in Philadelphia. She teaches dramaturgy and dramaturgy at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been produced at the Kennedy Center, LaMaMa, and Seattle Public.
The Know started in 1997 with artists traveling to different locations. By 2006 the theater moved to 1120 Jackson Street.
THE ARSONISTS runs from September 22nd to October 14th. With a PG-13 rating, tickets to shows Thursday through Sunday are available for $ 25. (513) 300-5669
Picture by: Daniel R. Winters
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