SAMUEL: An Audio / Visual Experience for the Theatre

Image by Jonny Ag

Four adult sisters can’t agree on anything. Did mom make sweet potatoes with marshmallows or thyme? What did Grandma’s face look like? Didn’t we have a brother once? Wasn’t his name Samuel? SAMUEL – a new audio-visual experience for the theatre – invites audience members to listen to audio scenes on their own devices as they explore an unnerving visual world of collective loss, existential fear, and the everyday trauma of family relationships. Fashioned after a self-guided audio museum tour, each observer will allow the immersive soundscape in their ears to guide their journey as the sisters struggle to maintain their connections to themselves, each other, and an ever-shifting sense of reality.

With support from: The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts.

Written by Alexis Roblan
Directed by Dara Malina
Produced by B.J. Evans and The Tank NYC
July-August 2021

CREATIVE AUDIO TEAM

Chris Adler | Mastering Engineer
Ray Archie | Audio Production Supervisor
Caroline Eng | Recording Engineer/Dialogue Editor
Stephanie Singer | Composer/Sound Designer

CREATIVE VISUAL TEAM

Kate McGee | Lighting Designer
You-Shin Chen | Visual Designer
Ant Ma | Installation Artist
Nina Pan | Installation Artist
Jonny Ag Design | Graphic and Web Designer

Brittany Crowell | Production Manager

CAST

Jess M Barbagallo | Samuel
Morgan McGuire| Jane
Keilly McQuail | Charlie
Carolyn Mignini | Mom
Lori Elizabeth Parquet | Delia
Lynnea Prunty | Alice
Amy Staats | Wynette

PRESS FOR SAMUEL:

Vulture (Helen Shaw):

“Director Dara Malina and creative producer B.J. Evans are serving the eerie thriller by Alexis Roblan, a gifted writer whose audio play consists of disagreements among four sisters. These fights about the facts of their childhood veer past the hilarious and into the terrifying: Who played piano? Who was Dad’s favorite? Who remembers the serial murders? The youngest is also pretty sure they had a brother named Samuel, and his disappearance — into a grave or a nightmare — lurks at the back of every conversation. All the performances are deliciously lurid; the sound designers Ray Archie and Stephanie Singer make the (empty?) rooms prickle with supernatural dread. Be warned: The team has worked out how to manipulate the dreaminess incurred by audio drama. If you space out while listening, you’ll catch the eye of a baby doll whose head is on backwards. I jumped more than once.”

Lighting and Sound America (David Barbour):

“Indeed, Samuel, which can also be read as a portrait of a family sitting on a mountain of secrets, feels strangely appropriate for the current moment, when so many of us cannot agree on the fundamental principles of reality. Without ever addressing today’s key issues, the play seems to function as a mirror of our current muddle. Maybe we are all slipping down a collective memory hole in pandemic-plagued America.”

Photo by Toby Tenenbaumhttps://photobytenenbaum.com/
Photo by Toby Tenenbaum
Photo by Toby Tenenbaum

SAMUEL DEVELOPMENT:

Front Porch Readings at MTC Studios
Directed by Maddie O’Hara
May 2018

Clubbed Thumb (NYC)
Summerworks Reading
Directed by Jess Chayes
June 2017

Judson Memorial Church (NYC)
Magic Time Reading
Directed by Dara Malina
October 2016

Finalist, Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission
December 2015

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