(UNION, NJ) -- The Theater Project, a leading incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists which recently received a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, will be presenting ‘Pot Odds’, a drama dealing with buried secrets, bottled anger and bluffed intentions, as part of its Young Actors Showcase, August 20-25. The live Zoom performances, August 20-22, and the live stream recordings, August 23-25, begin at 7:30pm.
‘Pot Odds’ brings together two award winners—writer Gabrielle Wagner and director Joy Kelly—as part of The Theater Project’s ongoing programs during the pandemic. The Theater Project has gained regional recognition for its annual Young Playwrights Competition, ARK (Actors Reading with Kids) program and its recently launched “The Theater Project Thinks About” podcasts.
“During the current theater lockdown, we’re trying to provide these talented, young professionals an outlet for that talent and a great chance to gain valuable experience,” said The Theater Project Artistic Director Mark Spina. “The fact that these actors will get to perform a play written by an award-winning writer and be directed by an award-winning director will only enhance their talents while the public gets to see the future stars of entertainment.”
In the play, Jasmine, Natalie’s sister has recently died from cancer. Kendra and Jasmine had been longtime partners and recently married. Kendra and Natalie seem to have nothing in common except they both loved Jasmine. Joe, Natalie’s estranged husband in spite of being issued a restraining order by Natalie has been stalking her. Panic attacks, pot brownies and pocket aces help them deal with buried secrets, bottled anger and bluffed intentions.
Wagner is an actor/singer turned playwright/screenwriter who recently returned to the NYC area after 20 years in Los Angeles. Among her many credits, City of Light, her full-length musical, won Best Musical and Best Ensemble at the SheNYC Summer Theatre Festival, directed by Tony winner, Cady Huffman.
“Working with young actors can be a good thing because I can help them develop the ‘character’ and narrow down who that character is,” said Kelly, a Tennessee native who now calls Manhattan home. In addition to her 17 years with Theaterworks USA and her stint teaching directing at City College of New York, a Kelly production won Best One Act play with Manhattan Repertory Theatre. “This is my first time directing a play by Gabrielle, and I’m xcited to be working with such a talented writer.”
The performance is made possible, in part, by a Union County Local Arts Program Grant (LAP).
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased online. Purchasers will receive a link one hour before the performance.
The Theater Project was founded in 1994. For over twenty years, under the leadership of Mark Spina, Artistic Director, they have provided well-rounded programs on a relatively small budget to audiences who relish and seek out stimulating, new theater. Providing a forum to express ideas that spark the imagination, and challenge the mind is what they strive to do. Encouraging our audiences to think beyond the status quo and elevate the discourses around important contemporary issues is germane to their purpose. Most importantly, our audience is willing to take a chance on a title or author they have never encountered before, knowing they will be engaged, challenged and entertained.