VILLANOVA, PA – Villanova Theatre continues its 2014-15 season with the Philadelphia premiere of Rachel Bonds’ Michael & Edie, directed by James Ijames, and on stage Feb. 10 – 22, 2015.
In this deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Michael and Edie meet in a magical labyrinth of books, where they bury themselves amongst the stacks in an attempt to flee from the rest of their lives. Aisles turn into secret passages, snow falls from holes in the ceiling, desperate phone calls ring from tin cans, and tea kettles turn into crickets. It's a world full of illusions – illusions that give way to the poignant poetry of being young and a little bit lost in the world.
With her plays being hailed by critics as “heartbreakingly beautiful,” “witty, funny, and honest,” Rachel Bonds is sure to capture hearts as the voice of a generation striving to connect in a disconnected world (NYTheatre.com). Her charming and introspective writing invites readers in, and the experience of viewing her work is much like curling up with a good book on a rainy day. In 2010, Michael & Edie was selected as the Critic’s Pick by The New York Times, which called the piece “sublime” and “compelling.” Bonds’ already impressive oeuvre grapples with love, loss, and the pleasures and pains of memory. She will join the director, dramaturg, cast, and crew for a post-show talkback on Speakers Night, February 19th, 2015.
Michael & Edie also marks the Villanova Theatre directorial debut of Assistant Professor James Ijames, the Theatre Department’s newest faculty member and 2014 Barrymore Award Winner for Outstanding Direction of a Play. According to Ijames, who is himself an accomplished playwright, “What excites me most about this piece is the fact that seeing it for the first time will be much like cracking open a great book. The play will unfold over the course of the evening. We start with a world we think we know, and as we keep flipping through the pages, it becomes increasingly more complicated.”
Bonds’ play centers on Michael and Edie, two young people striving to figure “it” out in the wake of seemingly senseless loss. They find solace – and each other – in the aisles of a magical, mixed-up bookstore where they work. Their story, much like the titles they shelve, is about the journey to know thyself, evoking a classic coming-of-age tale with a hipster edge (à la recent films like Garden State, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 500 Days of Summer, and The Fault in Our Stars). Michael & Edie evokes a world of first dates and mix tapes, and promises to spirit audiences back to the wonderfully weird and wild days of adolescence, where each moment mattered more than the last.
Villanova brings this tender, wistful, and inventive new play to life with the help of a talented team of designers: Meghan Jones (Scenic Design), Jenn Lanyon (Costume Design), Jerold Forsyth (Lighting Design), John Stovicek (Sound Design), and Sarah McAfee (Dramaturg). Together, the creative team dreams up a world where the mundane and the magical unite to dazzling and unforgettable effect.
Ijames directs a gifted quintet of graduate student actors in this intimate chamber play featuring acting scholars Mitchell Bloom (Michael) and Kyle Fennie (Ben), Sophia Barrett (Edie), Sarah Ochocki (Sarah), and John K. Baxter (John).
Michael & Edie runs at Villanova Theatre from February 10-22, 2014. Villanova Theatre is located on the Villanova University campus in Vasey Hall (at Lancaster & Ithan Aves.). Performances will be held Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets run $21-$25, with discounts available for seniors, students, M.A. in Theatre alumni, and groups. Tickets may be purchased at the Villanova Theatre Box Office (M-S, 12 -5 p.m.) in person, by phone: (610) 519-7474, or online at www.villanovatheatre.org.
About Villanova Theatre: Villanova Theatre is a community of artist-scholars committed to transforming hearts and minds through the visionary production of classical, modern, and contemporary dramatic literature. Our work is fueled by the imaginative striving common to Villanova’s accomplished faculty, versatile staff, and energetic graduate students. Together, we are devoted to creating a vibrant theatre enriched by and overflowing with the ideas explored in our classrooms. In all of our endeavors, we aim to share the dynamic experience of collaborative learning with our audiences in order to engage the intellect and stir the soul. As a facet of Villanova University, Villanova Theatre serves the campus community as well as thousands of theatre-goers from the Main Line and the Greater Philadelphia area.
AboutVillanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.