Pinky Swear Productions presents The Unclear Family: A Repertory of Three Plays
Pinky Swear Productions is thrilled to announce their first repertory production. They will present two world premieres by local playwrights: Benched by Allyson Currin and Bleed by Renee Calarco, and a third play, Smudge by Rachel Axler.
All three plays delve into the relationships of parents. Benched is about the friendships between three women who meet at a playground for some welcome adult time as their children play around them. Bleed explores how a profound loss affects a couple’s relationship. Smudge explores what happens when parents are dealt an unthinkable blow. Each show is insightful, poignant, and, yes, even funny.
“Any of these plays could stand on its own, but, together, they present a panoramic view of the many ways one’s family can change one’s identity and well-being,” said Pinky Swear co-artistic director Karen Lange “We are not just mothers, but spouses, friends, in-laws, daughters, siblings — in short, humans. We really wanted to present a full spectrum.”
When the bonds that hold the family together are broken, twisted, or begin to dissolve, what is the shape of the thing that’s left? Is it still a family, something less, or something more? This spring, Pinky Swear Productions presents three plays, including two world premieres by D.C. playwrights, that ask this question in the most startling of ways.
Bleed by Renee Calarco tells the story of a husband and wife playing the last round of a delicate game that’s defined their marriage.
Benched by Allyson Currin is about three friends and mothers whose friendship is threatened when one of them confronts one of life’s powerful changes.
Smudge by Rachel Axler explores the awful question that keeps expectant parents up at night: What happens if your child isn’t the perfect bundle of joy you hoped for? What if it comes out…wrong?
Smudge will be directed by Ryan Maxwell, of Pinky Swear’s Associate program. Matt Ripa will direct Benched and Bleed.
The shows will take place April 26 — May 19 at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Tickets are available at: pinkyswearfamily.brownpapertickets.com
When discussing how season planning came together, Pinky Swear's Co-Artistic Director, Allyson Harkey shared, "At Pinky Swear, we let the plays speak to us, then we see who the writer is. With this particular group, we already knew Renee and Ally, of course, but who they were and their bodies of work really had very little to do with our selection; we were intrigued by the three shows together, what they say about parenthood, our expectations of what "family" means, and what happens when things go awry. We need more women's voices in the theatre — far, far more — but interestingly, this time we weren't specifically looking even for women. Just plays we were excited about. I think they're all vibrant, interesting, textured writers."
“All three of these plays present women who are interesting, smart, and complicated,” explained Pinky Swear co-artistic director Karen Lange. “Their lives are about more than just dating and romance, which is, too often, the subject of plays. Instead, we have women who have married, who have divorced, who have given birth. Some are ambivalent about motherhood, which is something society still sees as taboo. Their relationships to the men in their lives are not pat and not about finding happily ever after. These characters are flawed, truthful, and they reflect real women."
About the Playwrights
RACHEL AXLER is a playwright and Emmy-winning television writer. Her play,
Archaeology, premiered at The Kitchen Theatre in 2009. Other plays of hers have been developed through The Lark Play Development Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Playwrights Foundation and the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Rachel has held fellowships at The Dramatists Guild and The Lark, and is currently working on commissioned plays for South Coast Rep and Lincoln Center Theater. Humor pieces of hers have been published in The New York Times, In Character and two editions of Monologues for Women, By Women. For television, Rachel wrote for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for several years, where she received the 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program and three Writers Guild Award nominations. She now writes for Parks and Recreation, on NBC. Rachel received her BA from Williams College and her MFA in Playwriting from UCSD. Member: Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America.
RENEE CALARCO lives and works in Washington, DC. Her play SHORT ORDER STORIES received the 2007 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. Other plays include THE RELIGION THING (2012 Helen Hayes Recommended), KEEPERS OF THE WESTERN DOOR, THE MATING OF ANGELA WEISS, BLEED, and IF YOU GIVE A CAT A CUPCAKE (commissioned by Adventure Theatre in 2011). Her 10-minute play WARRIORS was published by One Act Play Depot in 2010. Other short plays include SEMPER FIDELIS, POUNDS AWEIGH, and FIRST STOP: NIAGARA FALLS. Renee is an artistic associate with First Draft/Charter Theater, the program coordinator for Naked Ladies Lunch, and a proud member of both DC Area Playwrights and The Dramatists Guild of America. She teaches playwriting at George Washington University and improvisational comedy at The Theatre Lab, and is a licensed professional tour guide. www.reneecalarco.com
ALLYSON CURRIN is an award-winning playwright of over twenty plays. Previous world premieres of her work include: Hercules in Russia (Doorway Arts Ensemble, 2012); The Dancing Princesses (Imagination Stage, with composter/lyricist Christopher Youstra, DC Theatre Scene’s 2010 Pick for Best Family Show); and Treadwell: Bright and Dark (The American Century Theatre, 2010; DC Capital Fringe, 2011). She has written original librettos for several opera companies including “musica aperta” and The In-Series, and has written original work for The National Museum for Women in the Arts, Strathmore Arts Center and The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. She has several new plays in development, including the comedies The Colony, Caesar and Dada, The White Trash Grail Play, and a new musical (with composer-lyricist Matt Conner) commissioned by Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. She is the Playwright-in-Residence for the 2012-13 Season with First Draft at Charter Theatre and a member of 2012-2013 Locally Grown Festival at Theater J. She is Vice Chair of The Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival National Playwriting Program (Region 2), and she teaches in the Theatre and Dance Department at The George Washington University. She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild, The Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association.
The mission of Pinky Swear Productions is to produce modern plays with strong, engaging women’s roles. Pinky Swear’s goals are to build a company in which local theatre artists can make a living in the DC community; raise the profile of women’s voices in theatre by hiring women artists and technicians whenever possible; and enable artists to experiment with new avenues of expression.
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I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!