Philadelphia, PA - After a sold-out run for Theatre Exile Philadelphia Premiere of Lost Girls, Theatre Exile closes their 20th anniversary season with Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson. Gentrification comes to a head as the thought-provoking social drama fans the flames of love, race, class and privilege.
This Philadelphia premiere explores the effects of a changing neighborhood on three 20-somethings that share a long and winding history -- and a not-so-certain future. Buzzer is directed by Exile’s Associate Artistic Director Matt Pfeiffer and features Akeem Davis, Alex Keiper, Matteo Scammell. The show is presented with support from Honorary Producers Linda and David Glickstein, Associate Producer Gayle Smith, and Season Sponsor Bruce and Giuliana Zallie of Zallie’s ShopRite Supermarkets.
Previews for Buzzer begin on Thursday, May 4 and opening night is Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The show runs for a total of 22 performances through Sunday, May 28, 2017. This includes a special weekday daytime performance on May 25. Tickets are on sale for $10.00 to $40.00 at www.theatreexile.org or by phone (215) 218-4022.
“Buzzer is an unflinching and unapologetic examination of race in a post-racial America,” said Director Matt Pfeiffer. “The play is both messy and dangerous in how it discusses race’s role in the development of community.”
The darkly comedic and intensely gripping drama follows three young people as they move into a newly-rehabbed building in a lower class urban neighborhood that grapples with the effects of gentrification. Jackson, an upwardly-mobile black attorney, saw potential in his old ‘hood - and purchased an apartment for him and his girlfriend Suzy. When Jackson’s childhood friend Don leaves rehab to crash with them, the trio quickly becomes trapped between the tensions inside their own home and the dangers that may lurk outside.
“I have lived in neighborhoods that have been gentrified, and I have gentrified neighborhoods; the issue is always there,” said playwright Tracey Scott Wilson. “As our cultural and political landscapes change, we’re forced to confront issues of race, class, privilege and belonging—we see complications arise in this play because of who each person is in respect to the neighborhood and their openness to change.”
Wilson is hailed by the New York as a “singular new voice.” On television, she is currently writing for FX’s critically acclaimed KGB drama The Americans. Wilson has a local connection to the Philadelphia region - as she graduated from Rutgers University in 1989 with a BA in English and from Temple University with an MA in English Literature in 1993.
Wilson’s other current work includes The Story, which was first produced at The Joseph Papp Public Theater/NYSF, and transferred to the Long Wharf Theatre. The Story has since been produced at thirty theatres nationwide. Additional productions include Order My Steps for Cornerstone Theater's Black Faith/AIDS project in Los Angeles; and Exhibit #9, produced in New York City by New Perspectives Theatre and Theatre Outrageous; Leader of the People produced at New Georges Theatre; two ten-minute plays produced at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis; and a ten-minute play produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Ms. Wilson has had readings at the New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges Theatre, The Joseph Papp Public Theater and Soho Theatre Writers Centre in London. She earned two Van Lier Fellowships from the New York Theatre Workshop, a residency at Sundance Ucross, and is the winner of the 2001 Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the 2003 AT&T Onstage Award, the 2004 Whiting Award and as well as the 2004 Kesserling Prize.
“I have long admired Tracey’s writing. I most recently had her on my radar because of her involvement in one of my favorite shows, FX’s The Americans,” said Pfeiffer. “Tracey’s writing tends to be non-prescriptive. She has no clear point or agenda she wants to push. She tells it like it is and lets the audience decide. She doesn’t want to steer them in a particular direction or lead them to a specific conclusion. With Buzzer, the characters she brings to the stage ask, who are we now and who are we capable of becoming in the future? These are questions we can all ask ourselves. The answers we find within might surprise us.”
Buzzer features the talent of Akeem Davis (Exile’s Rizzo) as Jackson, Alex Keiper (making her Exile debut) as his girlfriend Suzy, and Matteo Scammell (Exile’s Smoke) as long-time friend Don. Pfeiffer said, “I am excited to have three of the most exciting young actors in the city. They are well respected, gutsy and multi-talented. The play will be performed in Exile’s signature intimate, in-your-face style, making you part of the story. There will be no holds barred as the actors bring out the honesty, vulnerability, fear and ugliness of the characters.”
Pfeiffer added, “The fourth character in Buzzer is the neighborhood itself. The tensions, the changes and the history. With the sound design, we want to especially illuminate what is happening around the apartment.”
Buzzer’s production team includes Exile regulars and some new faces - including Thom Weaver (Set Designer, Lighting Designer), Larry D. Fowler (Sound Designer), Alison Roberts (Costume Designer), Flora Vassar (PropsMaster), J. Alex Cordaro (Fight Choreographer), Jessica Darling (Production Manager/Stage Manager), Rob Edmondson, Jr. (Technical Director), AJ Garrigus (Master Carpenter), Jackson Katz (Master Electrician), Brad Pouliot (Sound Engineer) and Emily Jolley (Assistant Stage Manager).
Buzzer runs May 4 through May 28, 2017 (with opening night on Wednesday, May 10, 2017). Tickets are $10.00 to $40.00 and are available online at theatreexile.org or by calling the Theatre Exile Box Office at (215) 218-4022. Performances for Buzzer take place at Theatre Exile’s Studio X, 1340 S. 13th Street (13th and Reed Streets). Buzzer is supported by Honorary Producer Linda and David Glickstein , Associate Producer Gayle Smith and Season Sponsor Bruce and Giuliana Zallie of Zallie's ShopRite Supermarkets.
Theatre Exile looks beyond the season with the announcement of summer production, Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger. This autobiographical play recounts a seminal time in Ray Didinger's life as he helps his boyhood hero, Tommy McDonald, reach his goal of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This special engagement will take place August 3 through August 20, 2017 at FringeArts, 140 North Columbus Blvd. Tommy and Me will be directed by Founding Artistic Director Joe Canuso with Bruce Graham (The Philly Fan, Rizzo) as script consultant.
For more information about Theatre Exile, please follow on Twitter at @theaterexile, like on Facebook, call (215) 218-4022 and visit www.theatreexile.org.