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Mercy: Is Someone In Pain Capable Of Forgiveness?

By Gary Wien

originally published: 07/01/2018

Mercy: Is Someone  In Pain  Capable Of  Forgiveness?Imagine losing your wife in a car accident and instantly having your entire world change.  Your father is mostly taking care of your new baby daughter; your boss is aggressively trying to comfort you; and you are hoping to get on with your life.  Then, everything changes once again when you inadvertently meet the man responsible for your wife’s death.  Is someone in this much pain capable of forgiveness?

That’s the premise behind the latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, a play called Mercy written by Adam Szymkowicz. Directed by Gail Winar, the production runs now through July 15th and stars Christopher Daftsios, Dan Grimaldi, Nandita Shenoy, and Jacob A. Ware.

According to Szymkowicz, the play is completely a work of fiction based on his own fears. “Cars seem like incredibly dangerous things to me and I don’t know how any of us have survived this long getting into them and hurtling through space as much as we do,” he said. 

He describes the work as a funny drama.  Since that’s not a combination often used, Mercy is generally called a dark comedy - as are many of his previous works like Rare Birds, Incendiary, Nerve, Deflowering Waldo, and 7 Ways To Say I Love You — five of his many plays to be published.

Szymkowicz was involved in the casting process and has attended several rehearsals at NJ Rep. His plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and in Canada, England, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Slovenia, South Korea and Lithuania. Still, he tries to be around for World Premieres as much as he can.

Mercy: Is Someone  In Pain  Capable Of  Forgiveness?



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“It’s been going great,” said the playwright. “They are a wonderful theater filled with stellar humans.  This is my first show with NJ Rep.  I had a reading with them of Mercy and they wanted to do it based on that reading.  I’m excited to be premiering the play with them.” 

This is not only his first time working with New Jersey Repertory Company, he believes it is his first full-length play to be produced in New Jersey.  

Szymkowicz received a Playwright’s Diploma from The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and an MFA from Columbia University where he was the Dean’s Fellow. He is a two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner, a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writer’s Guild of America, and was a member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group, the MCC Playwright’s Coalition and of the first Ars Nova Play Group.

His plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Playscripts, Original Works Publishing, and Indie Theater Now.  He has been featured in the New York Theatre Review, NYTE’s Cino Nights, Geek Theater, and numerous Smith and Kraus book.

Mercy: Is Someone  In Pain  Capable Of  Forgiveness?

 Aspiring playwrights can learn a lot from Szymkowicz’s blog. Not only will they see where his plays are being produced, but they can follow his path of readings, productions, and his annual reviews of his progress as a playwright.  In 2017, he wrote down every time he sent a play out.  At the end of the year, he added things up and realized he had submitted one or more plays to 195 places.  In his blog he notes that his goal to get the amount of productions he wants would likely require one submission a day or at least 300 per year. He estimates he can do this with as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day on the process.  Nevertheless, 2017 was another strong year for him with 23 productions of his full-length works and an additional 12 productions of work from his short plays.  

Mercy: Is Someone  In Pain  Capable Of  Forgiveness?One of the most interesting aspects of his blog involves interviews with playwrights. Although he does not add new interviews often anymore, he conducted hundreds of interviews from 2007 to 2017 - ultimately stopping when he reached 1,000.  The interviews are a great way for playwrights and theatre fans to learn more about the creative process and about the artists creating new works for the theatre.  

“It’s something I wish existed when I was starting out and knew nothing,” explained Szymkowicz.  “And it didn’t exist so I created it.”

His advice for aspiring playwrights is to write a lot and when plays are ready, send them out to a lot of places, and try to get them published.  Playwrights should “Expect a lot of work, some joy, but not much money,” said Szymkowicz.

Most of all, look for places like NJ Rep - that rare theatre company who seeks to produce new work.  “I think they’re amazing and I wish there were more more theaters of all sizes dedicated to new work,” he adds.





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Center Players Presents "The Emperor's New Duds"
(FREEHOLD, NJ) --  Center Players Dessert Theater will present a family-friendly production of “The Emperor’s New Duds” at Center Playhouse, 35 South St, in downtown Freehold, NJ from December 7 – 16. A musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s the “Emperor’s New Clothes,” the play was written by Bernice Garfield-Szita, who co-directed the production with Enid Bush.
Centenary Stage’s Young Performers Workshop presents 2018 Winter Festival of Shows
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Godspell is composed of various musical parables from The Gospel. Jesus Christ recruits a group of followers and teaches them various lessons through song and dance. Toward the end of the second act, the show begins to follow a more linear narrative as Jesus is betrayed by Judas and eventually crucified. Performances are Sunday, December 9 at 5:00pm; Saturday, December 15 at 8pm and Sunday, December 16 at 7:30pm.
The Shakespeare Theatre Presents "The Winter's Tale"
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run from December 5 to December 30. 
American Theater Group Announces Full Cast & Creative For "Tell Them I'm Still Young"
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- American Theater Group has announced the full cast and creative team for its World Premiere production of Tell Them I’m Still Young, a new play by Julia Doolittle, which will run at the South Orange Performing Arts Center from January 24 - February 3, 2019. Joining the previously announced Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Streets, Men of a Certain Age, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) andMichele Pawk (Hollywood Arms, Hairspray, Mamma Mia) are Janice Amaya (Seen/Unseen) and Seth Clayton (The Madrid).
Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.


Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
Broadway is in the house at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts with a Fearless live concert performance by Broadway star, Mandy Gonzalez!
"The Spitfire Grill" and Caitlin Geisser Return To Their Roots
“I saw something in her that you rarely come across,” recalled Ted Wioncek III, Artistic Director at Eagle Theatre in Hammonton. “She’s more than wise beyond her years; I believe she’s going to be a game-changer and a trendsetter for this art form.”
Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!










Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


MUSIC

THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

THE FAB FAUX A HARD DAY'S NIGHT AND REVOLVER IN THEIR ENTIRETIES @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


DANCE

BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


KIDS

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm


LECTURE

Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ Mainebiz Health Care Forum, Newyork - 8:00pm

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