'To the Orchard' premieres at Dobama

Playwrights Local 4181 announces the world premiere of Cleveland-based writer Les Hunter’s “To the Orchard.” Directed by Dale Heinen, the play ran through June 5 at Waterloo Arts in North Collinwood, and from June 10–12 at Dobama Theatre. This is the first full production for Playwrights Local, a 501(c)3 company whose recent presentations have included the 2015 Cleveland Playwrights Festival.

In “To the Orchard,” college student Rachel Bergman reveals her sexual identity to her Orthodox Jewish father, who is struggling with his own secret. In coming to terms with each other—and themselves—the pair must reconcile the conflicting pulls of tradition and individual desire. The play takes place in Brooklyn in the recent past, but incorporates dreamlike visits to turn-of-the-century England and the lost Jewish Eastern Europe. The spirits of Robert Plant and Virginia Woolf add a touch of magic realism to this intimate work about making mistakes, coming clean, and the power of history and family.

“[The play] examines contemporary issues, but within the context of timeless concerns,” said David Todd, artistic director of Playwrights Local. “It also balances a compelling narrative with moments of heightened theatricality. It sends a strong message for our company, which is that we’re interested in exposing Cleveland audiences to a very up-to-date style of playwriting as practiced locally.”

Prior to this world premiere, “To the Orchard” received a grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. June performances are June 3–5 at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts (397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland), and June 10–12 at Dobama Theatre (2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights). Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. For more information, visit www.playwrightslocal.org.

Playwrights Local 4181 is a new theater company located in Cleveland. Billed as a playwrights’ center, the organization’s goal is to provide a home base for dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. Playwrights Local offers classes and workshops, produces original plays, provides professional development opportunities, and engages the community through site-specific projects.

Tom Hayes

Tom Hayes is the managing director of Playwrights Local 4181, the only theater in the Cleveland area devoted to locally written works.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 5:46 PM, 05.31.2016