The TownS PROJECT

Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Middletown by Will Eno
Directed by Peter Flynn

The cast of The Towns Project reading.

The cast of The Towns Project reading.

The Towns Project is a theatrical exploration of the evolution of race, bias, and community in America over the past 100 years. Using Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Will Eno’s Middletown, two plays set 100 years apart - one inspired by the other - a multicultural cast performs each play to illuminate and investigate where language and relatedness bolster community or encourage prejudice.  The evolution of race and community is explored by a mixed race company using Wilder’s script in its original form.

How do we listen differently when the the Webbs and Gibbs are multicultural families? How do we listen differently given our own life experience: what do we take for granted, what do we ignore? Gender bias, sexual discrimination, religious intolerance - have they always been in the fabric of our nation’s growth?

Will Eno’s Middletown answers Wilder’s play presenting a similar community but with more overt tensions. How do we grapple with police brutality, unconscious intolerance, and family dysfunction ignored by community? Does the digital age exacerbate prejudice or relieve it?  When presented with images instead of words, to which do we respond more and how does this affect our self-expression, relatedness, and ultimately our community?

The Towns Project is being developed with an intention to connect the work to the community it inhabits, and to generate conversation specific to the dynamics of that particular city--and in pursuit of a genuine dialogue between the art and the audience.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

MAC produced a developmental workshop on October 18, 2015 in NYC.

Cast: Jill Abramovitz, Andrea Bianchi, Elissa Bonito, Caroline Clay, Hudson Flynn, Erik Heger, Tyrone Henderson, Nike Kadri, Jaygee Macapugay, Emerson McKindles, Gregory Ramos, Godfrey Simmons, Will Sturdivant, Pearl Sun, Wally Dunn, and Tobias Wong.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Peter Flynn

Peter Flynn

Peter Flynn (Director) is the former Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York, as well as the Artistic Director of the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He debuted Adam Bock’s play The Receptionist, as well as developed new work by Glenn Slater, Stephen Weiner, & Rinne Groff, and collaborated with guest artists Stephen Schwartz, Jeanine Tesori, and Andrew Leynse (Primary Stages). He has also facilitated new work by writers Christopher Diaz, Josh Harmon, Maury Yeston; with directors Jennifer Nelson (African Continuum, Ford’s Theatre), Devanand Janki (BCTR); and worked with actors Danielle Brooks, Robert Cuccioli, Dee Hoty, Isaiah Johnson, Joaquina Kalukango, Emily Skinner, Andréa Burns, Natascia Diaz, Jerry Dixon, and Andrea Martin, among others.  As a freelance director, Peter’s credits include the Actors Fund concert of the 75th Anniversary of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town with Adriane Lenox, B.D. Wong, S. Epatha Merkerson; Lee Blessings’ Two Rooms at the Lion Theatre; On the 20th Century with Douglas Sills & Marin Mazzie; Chess with Josh Groban & Julia Murney; Funny Girl with Whoopi Goldberg, & Andrea Martin; and Rhapsody in Seth - Actors’ Playhouse starring Seth Rudetsky. He has created work around the country at theaters including the Guthrie Theater, Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre, and the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. where he is an Associate Artist. His work has won the Carbonell Award in South Florida and been nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award in New York.  Peter is the Director of Musical Theatre at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, on faculty at New York University’s Tisch Program, a graduate of Northwestern University, and a member of SDC.