Tuesday, October 25, 2016

En Garde Arts Presents The World Premiere of "Wilderness" by Seth Bockley & Anne Hamburger - At The Abrons Arts Center Through November 13th


There is a remarkable new play that has just opened at the Abrons Arts Center on Grand Street in the historic Henry Street Settlement in the Lower East Side. The play is the World Premiere of "Wilderness," a docudrama that tells the true stories of a handful of troubled teens whose parents arranged to send them against their will for weeks - or even months - of "Wilderness Therapy."

The play is brilliantly constructed by authors Seth Bockley, who also directs this production, and Anne Hamburger. The play is produced by En Garde Arts and is presented in association with Abrons Art Center. The structure of the play is that the role of the teenagers and their young counselors are played by actors. The real parents of the teenagers whose stories are being told have been filmed, and their interviews are interspersed with the live action and projected onto panels on the back wall of the stage. A brilliantly designed set by Carolyn Mraz consists of a wall, moveable chairs, and sliding panels that allow projections of parents to be isolated as needed. Costumes by Claudia Brown bring us into the wilderness, Lighting by Scott Bolman sets the mood and establish the time of day, and Sound, Video, and Projections by Mikhail Fiksel tie together the world of the parents and the wilderness experience of their troubled children. The production values are extraordinarily high - at the level that one would expect from a production with a much larger budget and further up town.

Actors double in roles as Kids and Field staff.  They are:

Holly DeMorro, Caitlin Goldie, Taylor Noble, Riley Suter, Jake Williams and Luke Zimmerman. Equity Actress Welker White plays The Mom, a live stand-in for all of the parents.

Cast
"Wilderness"
by Seth Bockley & Anne Hamburger
En Garde Arts & Abrons Arts Center
Through November 13th
The acting on the part of each member of this ensemble is so convincing that on several occasions I forgot that I was watching actors, and felt as if the real troubled teens were standing before me. The writing and acting weave together seamlessly to show us at a visceral level the anger of the kids, their sense of betrayal at being spirited off in the middle of the night by strangers to an unknown destination in order to "get fixed." We watch them slowly begin to open up and trust one another and the staff.  We hear the parents chronicle their own emotional wilderness journeys in trying to figure out how to handle a violent son or a daughter who refuses to communicate.

Cast
"Wilderness"
by Seth Bockley & Anne Hamburger
En Garde Arts & Abrons Arts Center
Through November 13th

This is a play worthy of a wide audience.  It is deeply moving and thought provoking.  It will run at this location through November 13th.


En Garde Arts Website

En Garde Arts serves as a fierce advocate of both established and emerging voices employing theatre as a means through which to bring together people who are not normally in conversation — and catalyze social change.


Enjoy!

Al

1 comment:

AZ Kelsey said...

We're so glad you liked the show! And touched that you've plugged it on your blog. Just a quick correction on behalf of our designers: Mikhail Fiksel is the Sound Designer and Michael Tutaj is the Video & Projection Designer. Very best, and thank you for joining us.