I’ll readily admit here that I have a deep love and admiration for teenage angst — a kind of nostalgia for a time when all experiences were new. Even while in my teens I felt a kind of specialness going through those moments of wonderment, utter pain and hormone-driven emotionality that accompany growing up. When I look back at my years spent crying over albums that spoke to me, or partners who burned me, and lessons I learned “the hard way,” I feel a kind of yearning for the time when your feelings are so big and the stakes of your life seem to fill every room you walk into.
This is ultimately why I fell in love with theatre. The heart-pounding, gut-wrenching enormity of the emotions that are somehow lost from the majority of daily adult life is found in plays. In the theater we are given space to let our emotional lives run wild.
This year we are bringing stories that will allow you to tap into your squishy teenage heart. Cry, scream, fall in love, and be as passionate as you were in high school. These stories will go right along with you — they will meet your highs and lows.
From the story of high school girls struggling to espcape their go-nowhere small town, to the tale of eight people trying to survive the apocalypse by the skin of their teeth, we plan to spark your emotional, high-stakes hearts and remind you what it’s like to feel that super-sized passion.
Samie Spring Detzer
Literary Manager and Co-Artistic Director
By Josh Conkel
Directed by Ali el-Gasseir
The first production that will take place in 12th Ave Arts will be the world premiere of Josh Conkel’s darkly hilarious new black comedy, Sprawl. Cornish Alum and Playwright of the Ensemble’s Season 8 smash success Milk Milk Lemonade, Conkel’s Sprawl nestles a group of friends and frenemies in a Washington suburban model home for a book club meeting, only to be interrupted by… THE-END-OF-THE-WORLD. Part Mars Attacks and part Serial Mom, the brutally-campy Sprawl reminds us that beneath suburban tranquility, nasty secrets are waiting to emerge that are as wicked as they are hilarious.
By Meg Miroshnik
Directed by Kelly Kitchens
The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik (Season 9 Playwright of critically-acclaimed The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls) is a grim Dust Bowl era tale of a struggling high school women’s basketball team in the small town of Poor Prairie. The Tall Girls follows this group of young women as they strive for escape from their isolating and vast “grave town” through any means necessary. Intimate and gripping, The Tall Girls asks: what is the real cost of mortgaging your dreams for a meal ticket?
Curated by Washington Ensemble Theatre and ACT’s Associate Artistic Director John Langs and Literary Manager Anita Montgomery, Construction Zone provides playwrights with opportunities to develop and share new work, while giving audiences a personal invitation into the process. One of the four plays read during the current Construction Zone season at ACT will be given a full Co-Production at ACT Theatre’s Bullitt Cabaret.
Created and Performed by Jonah Von Spreecken & Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir
The fourth installment of Von Spreecken and el-Gasseir all-ages weekend morning live-action cartoon series follows two German rabbits trapped on a “R.A.F.T.” attempting to cross the Atlantic to find their fortunes in America. This epic adventure pits bunny versus bunny on a harrowing journey. Will they survive sharks, squabbles, and the Bermuda Triangle or will an even greater mystery sink these two industrious bunnies? Stay tuned!