Paradise Park by Charles L. Mee
Paradise Park transports us to a Twilight Zone of sorts: a Disneyesque land where its vacationers and inhabitants include an Edgar Bergen-like ventriloquist and his sidekick dummies Charlie and Mortimer, a fractured family hoping to bury a family secret, and an assortment of charming and disarming existential hitchhikers looking for meaning and respite from their disordered and anxiety riddled lives. Through thirty one scenes featuring fruitcake tosses, square dancing, magic tricks and an encounter with a murderous pizza delivery man, the folks of Paradise Park wrangle, philosophize, sing and laugh on their coveted tiny island, as they wrestle with the bigger questions while they long for a little peace and contentment for the price of admission.
Paradise Park previews Tuesday, February 12, Wednesday, February 13 and Thursday, February 14 and opens Friday, February 15 running Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm through March 3, 2013 at the Walnut Street Theater Studio 5 in Philadelphia.
Paradise's cast of 9, playing 11 roles, includes new faces to the IRC stage: Sean Close, Colleen Hughes, and Shamus McCarty teaming up with IRC regulars Heather Cole, John D'Alonzo, Michael Dura, Tomas Dura, Robb Hutter, Bob Schmidt and Tina Brock, who also directs the show. Paradise set design is by Anna Kiraly (Gogol's Marriage (IRC)and Pig Iron Theater's Chekhov Lizardbrain; costume design, Erica Hoelscher (Gombrowicz's Ivona and Gogol's Marriage ( IRC); Colleague's Theater Company's (NYC) The Madwoman of Chaillot, Shakespeare in Clark Park); lighting design, Joshua Schulman (Gogol's Marriage (IRC)
Charles Mee is a playwright and author who has written Big Love, True Love and First Love; bobrauschenbergamerica and Hotel Cassiopeia; Orestes 2.0, Trojan Women: A Love Story; and Summertime and Wintertime, among other works. His plays have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, American Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theatre, Lincoln Center, the Humana Festival, Steppenwolf, and other places in the United States as well as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul and elsewhere. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the gold medal for lifetime achievement in drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and of the Richard B. Fisher Award.
He is also the author of a number of books of history, and the former editor-in-chief of Horizon magazine, a magazine of history, art, literature, and the fine arts. His work is made possible by the support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher and Richard B. Fisher.
His thoughts on his work: "My own work begins with the belief that human beings are, as Aristotle said, social creaturesthat we are the product not just of psychology, but also of history and of culture, that we often express our histories and cultures in ways even we are not conscious of, that the culture speaks through us, grabs us and throws us to the ground, cries out, silences us. I don't write "political plays" in the usual sense of the term; but I write out of the belief that we are creatures of our history and culture and gender and politicsthat our beings and actions arise from that complex of influences and forces and motivations, that our lives are more rich and complex than can be reduced to a single source of human motivation. .I like plays that are not too neat, too finished, too presentable. My plays are broken, jagged, filled with sharp edges, filled with things that take sudden turns, careen into each other, smash up, veer off in sickening turns. That feels good to me. It feels like my life. It feels like the world."
2012 marks the IRC's seventh season presenting difficult and rarely-produced absurdist gems from authors from around the globe. In September 2012 the IRC presented Polish playwright Witold Gombrowicz's Ivona, Princess of Burgundia for the Philadelphia Lie Arts and Fringe Festival to record-breaking attendance and critical and audience praise. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer "the IRC's spellbinding production compresses the epic scope of an opera into a microcosm of human malice...engaging and funny and insightful" Stage Magazine wrote: "(Ivona) offers wisdom through absurditythe absurdist-themed Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium soundly reaffirmed their position as the foremost purveyors of the genre in Philadelphia". Ivona was also featured in the Editor's Note of the Fall Preview edition of The Philadelphia Weekly: "there's a strange sort of spiritual affirmation that somehow bubbles up from it all, in part because it's hard not to see Ivona as a sort of Georgian-period Sweet Dee Reynolds from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," sufficiently smarter than everyone around her"
Paradise Park will operate under a contract with Actor's Equity. The IRC is a 501C3 non-profit organization, and a member of the The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The IRC's 2012 season is funded in part by generous grants from the Wyncote Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (Project Stream Fund), The Samuel S. Fels Fund and The Charlotte Cushman Foundation
Walnut Street Theater Studio 5 (FIfth Floor) (View)
825 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
|Minimum Age: 6|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|