Simple Machine presents the New England premiere of rogerandtom, a play about a play within a play.
Penny is expecting an average night of family drama and excruciating theatre at her brother Tom's new play. But when the fourth wall isn't as solid as it seems, she starts to question everything she thought she knew. What's real? What is theatre? And who are all these people watching?
rogerandtom's puzzle-box conceit and wicked comedy have earned comparisons to Stoppard and Pirandello. Developed with Personal Space Theatrics, it has run in New York, Los Angeles, and had a critically-acclaimed production in the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Performing at the Davis Square Theatre located under Foundry on Elm at 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA
Tickets are $15 and are available here or cash at the door.
March 30 @ 7:30 pm
Run time: Approximately 80 minutes. There will be no late seating.
“Julien Schwab’s latest play takes theatre in new directions. . . Lots of intelligent sight gags, often relying on a well-designed yet deliberately bare set, call to mind the Marx Brothers and make sure that even a child wouldn’t be left un-entertained, and the self-referential joshing is never an intellectual burden.”
– Tanjil Rashid, EdFringe Review
– Ellen Marsh, EdFringe Review
– Asya Anderso, LA Splash
Penny: Anna Waldron
Director: Stephen Libby
Stage Manager: Nicole Smith
Simple Machine presents: rogerandtom from Veronica Barron on Vimeo.
A note from the author, Julien Schwab
rogerandtom is about theater. A play for people who love plays. Its origins, however, are in places far, far away from theater.
I’ve heard comparisons to Pirandello’s Six Characters In Search of an Author. I’ve also heard Ionessco’s Bald Soprano. These are certainly fair. But I tend to think more of my first true love: science fiction. I think of films like The Sixth Sense and The Truman Show. To be honest, (and I’m only a little ashamed to admit this) rogerandtom’s direct ancestor can be found in B sci-fi television. Specifically, The Big Goodbye, which to this day stands as my father’s single favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and placed a respectable third in my family’s ‘Best Of Next Gen-athon’, New Year’s Day 1994).
Even intrepid space explorers need to relax. Doing so aboard the USS Enterprise meant either drinking Romulan ale served by Whoopi Goldberg or visiting the Holodeck. The Holodeck was a room roughly the size of two squash courts that produced vividly real, fully interactive holograms. Feeling a little space fever? Raft down the Colorado River in the middle of winter. Stressed out over a pending battle with the Borg? Watch the 2001 World Series live…except this time, you are Derek Jeter. All without fear of injury or need to consider the holograms. After all, they were fully programma-ble, without any awareness of the outside world. All the Holodeck was a stage and the holograms merely characters.
Until, that is, a malfunction trapped Captain Picard inside without the ability to end the program. The safeties were damaged and the holograms, for the first time, became self-aware. They came to see the real world outside the only one they’d ever known. To understand their own hologram-ness.
The captain escaped, as he invariably did. And when he finally turned off the Holodeck, an act he had performed count-less times before without second thought, it was with a twinge of compassion for those left behind; the characters who could do no better than realize their own helplessness.
I initially intended rogerandtom to be not much more than that, a mind-bending episode of sci-fi pulp theater. But over the last eleven years of life and drafts, it’s become so much more.