The latest group of new publications from Samuel French runs the gamut, beginning with a family drama in the Hamptons to a gripping play based on a photograph of an American ragged through the streets in Mogadishu. Learn more below.
Harbor by Chad Beguelin
Tony Award-nominee, Chad Beguelin tells the story of two newlyweds, Kevin and Ted who live in an affluent subset of the Hamptons. When Kevin’s fifteen-year-old niece Lottie and her ne’er-do-well mother Donna drop in unannounced on the couple’s beautiful Sag Harbor home, all hell breaks loose. The bonds between kith and kin are tested in this alternately biting and touching comedy about the constantly shifting nature of the meaning of family.
The Gathering by Arje Shaw
Arje Shaw blends history and family politics in his Broadway dramedy, set in 1985. The Gathering explores the conflicts between grandfather, father, and son which arise over the dinner table when they discuss President Ronald Reagan’s planned visit to Bitberg, site of burial grounds for Nazi soldiers. The stakes are high in the discussion because the grandfather (Hal Linden) is a Holocaust survivor and his son is a speechwriter for Reagan. Caught between them is the young lad, who is preparing for his bar mitvah. With a multi-generational cast, The Gathering asks poignant questions about understanding and forgivness in the face of tragedy.
Middletown by Will Eno
Middletown is a deeply moving and funny new play exploring the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between.
Gnit by Will Eno
Is laziness the opposite of love? Is the search for the Self for total nobodies? These are questions posed through the prolific pen of Will Eno, one of America’s leading contemporary playwrights, whose talents for playful idiosyncratic language shine through in Gnit. Watch closely as Peter Gnit, a funny-enough but so-so specimen of humanity, makes a lifetime of bad decisions, on the search for his True Self, which is disintegrating while he searches. A rollicking and very cautionary tale about, among other things, how the opposite of love is laziness. Gnit is a faithful, unfaithful, and willfully American misreading of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, a 19th century Norwegian play which is famous for all the wrong reasons, written by Will Eno, who has never been to Norway.
The Open House by Will Eno
People have been born into families since people started getting born at all. Playwrights have been trying to write Family Plays for a long time, too. And typically these plays try to answer endlessly complicated questions of blood and duty and inheritance and responsibility. They try to answer the question, “Can things really change?” People have been trying nobly for years and years to have plays solve in two hours what hasn’t been solved in many lifetimes. This has to stop.
The Body of An American by Dan O’Brien
Dan O’Brien’s gripping and provocative play, The Body of an American speaks to a moment in recent history when a single, stark photograph – of the body of an American dragged from the wreck of a Blackhawk through the streets of Mogadishu – reshaped the course of global events. In a story ranging far in time and place, from Rwanda to Afghanistan to the Canadian Arctic, and in powerful, theatrical language, Dan O’Brien explores the ethical and personal consequences of Paul Watson’s photograph, as well as the interplay between political upheaval and the experience of trauma in an age saturated by images and information.