PRESS RELEASE: Single Carrot Theatre Hosts Continues Conversations Surrounding Lear

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Single Carrot Theatre Hosts Continues Conversations Surrounding Lear

Baltimore, MD – Single Carrot’s 11th Season is now open with its thought-provoking and
fast-paced regional premiere of Lear by Young Jean Lee. Like Shakespeare’s tragedy, Lee’s
text includes universal themes of family conflict, guilt, and madness; at the same time, it
takes a nuanced look race, wrestling with mortality, and the complex dynamics between
aging parents and their adult children. In the hope of continuing the conversations sparked by this vibrant production, Single Carrot will be hosting talkbacks with panelists from Morgan State University, Center Stage, the ACME Corporation, and Chesapeake
Shakespeare Company.

Race, Shakespeare, and Young Jean Lee
Sunday, October 15, following the 3pm performance

Join Gerrad Taylor of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and Shirley Basfield-Dunlap of
Morgan State University for a discussion on the complex relationship between modern audiences and classical material. Share your thoughts on Young Jean Lee’s frenetic adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, and engage with our panelists on issues of race, identity and performance.

Pride Night at Single Carrot Theatre!
Thursday, October 19, preceding the 8pm performance

Join us for cocktails, live pre-show music from Christen B, and a fabulous evening of theatre celebrating the 9th Annual LGBT Center Awareness Day! More about the artist: Christen B seamlessly blends electronic and acoustic instruments with transcendent vocals leaving listeners in a state of euphoria! This Baltimore native is changing the way people experience music. She allows the audience to watch as she masterfully layers unique sounds while looping them on the spot and leaving the crowd wanting more!

Adapting the Classics
Friday, October 20, following the 8pm performance

Join Gavin Witt of Center Stage and Lola Pierson and Stephen Nunns of The ACME Corporation as they discuss the complicated task of adapting famous classical texts for a modern audience. Nunns and Pierson collaborated last year on an original adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Stranger Kindness, which was recently named “Best Play” in City Paper’s Best of Baltimore Reader’s poll. Witt, along with Center Stage’s Kwame Kwei-Armah, is part of a national project to reimagine and update Shakespeare’s plays for a modern audience. Join them in a conversation on the nuanced process of bringing a well-known, perhaps beloved, text into the present.

About the Play:
Lear
By Young Jean Lee
Directed by Andrew Peters
Shakespearean drama meets millennial self-indulgence in this outlandish and driving take on King Lear. Boring, stuffy parents have been left for dead – consigning audiences to the not-so-tender mercies of a younger generation, a mix of heroes and villains indulging their own selfish whims. Despite sharp wits and sharper teeth, these Kardashian-esque kids are comically shallow, callous, and vain: more concerned with dancing and drama than their own doomed parents. But superficial pleasures can only reign for so long before their conscience catches up with them, unearthing ugly secrets, doubts, and fears. Regional premiere.

WHEN:
Previews: Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5 at 8pm
Running: October 6 – 29
Thursday- Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm

WHERE:
Single Carrot Theatre
2600 N. Howard Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Entrance on 26th Street.
Free parking available in adjacent lot and on the street.

TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Tickets: $10-$29
Web: singlecarrot.com
Phone: 443-844-9253
Email: boxoffice(at)singlecarrot.com
Twitter: @singlecarrot
Instagram: @singlecarrot

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PRESS RELEASE: Glass Mind Theatre Founder returns to Baltimore to direct a Lear focused on family and mortality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Glass Mind Theatre Founder returns to Baltimore to direct a Lear focused on family and mortality

Baltimore, MD – Single Carrot is thrilled to welcome director Andrew Peters back to Baltimore to helm its October production of Young Jean Lee’s Lear. Lee’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear is a challenging mix of postmodern satire, meditative exploration, and nuanced relationships. For Peters, these interpersonal conflicts are some of the most fruitful artistically.

“The relationship between Lear and his daughters [in Shakespeare’s text] is so incredibly complicated,” he states. “We expect to see the madness, but we realize we are watching children cast off their father. It’s heartbreaking. Young Jean Lee’s Lear amps this up; we only see the young people of this world, confronting and accepting mortality, doing whatever that can NOT to think about Dad. And this comes back to bite them in the ass. Hard.”

He adds that the show is also particularly relevant “at a volatile moment in our history,”
drawing parallels between Lee’s characters and the contemporary reality of “families in
turmoil.”

“I feel the heartbeat of this play so strongly when I think of those relationships,” Peters
muses. “At some point in our lives we recognize that our parents are human beings. When have we wanted to throw them into ‘the storm’?”

But, he is quick to point out, while Lear’s themes are weighty, it is far from a dramatic,
existential meditation. “We watch these people within the frame of a specific world,” he
says. “We recognize how absurd they are, want to grab the popcorn and watch the
trainwreck unfold. But there’s a big turn. A lot of the rules of this world get broken and,
suddenly, we have to take a step back. Everyone in the room needs to, in some way,
participate in a meditation on mortality. This isn’t just about King Lear and his daughters. It’s about our relationship to our own families.”

Andrew Peters founded Glass Mind Theatre in 2009 and served as its Artistic Director for four years. He has directed numerous productions in Baltimore, DC, and Chicago, where he worked at DePaul University and Victory Gardens Theatre. He holds an MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University, as well as a BS from Towson University. Peters will also be teaching at Stevenson University this fall.

Lear
By Young Jean Lee
Directed by Andrew Peters

Shakespearean drama meets millennial self-indulgence in this outlandish and driving take on King Lear. Boring, stuffy parents have been left for dead – consigning audiences to the not-so-tender mercies of a younger generation, a mix of heroes and villains indulging their own selfish whims. Despite sharp wits and sharper teeth, these Kardashian-esque kids are comically shallow, callous, and vain: more concerned with dancing and drama than their own doomed parents. But superficial pleasures can only reign for so long before their conscience catches up with them, unearthing ugly secrets, doubts, and fears. Regional premiere.

WHEN:
Previews: Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5 at 8pm
Running: October 6 – 29
Thursday- Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm

WHERE:
Single Carrot Theatre
2600 N. Howard Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Entrance on 26th Street.

Free parking available in adjacent lot and on the street.

TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Tickets: $10-$29
Web: singlecarrot.com
Phone: 443-844-9253
Email: boxoffice@singlecarrot.com
Twitter: @singlecarrot
Instagram: @singlecarrot

PRESS RELEASE: Single Carrot Theatre kicks off Season 11 with Lear

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Single Carrot Theatre kicks off Season 11 with Lear

Baltimore, MD – Single Carrot Theatre’s 11th season begins with an outrageously original
take on a familiar story: Lear by Young Jean Lee. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s text
shuffles the titular king into the wings, allowing a younger generation to step into the
spotlight. With modern language, classical characters, music, dance, and fantastic violence, Lee crafts a masterful portrait of parents, children, and the exchange of power.
Young Jean Lee is an acclaimed writer and director whose work has been performed
worldwide – including at Single Carrot Theatre, where Lee’s Church was produced as part of the company’s 5th season. Lee will make her Broadway debut in 2018 with Straight White Men; she will be the first Asian-American woman in history to see her work produced on Broadway.

Lear will be directed by Andrew Peters, and feature Ensemble Member Paul Diem
alongside four other local actors. Final casting decisions will be announced in the coming
week.

Lear
By Young Jean Lee
Directed by Andrew Peters

Shakespearean drama meets millennial self-indulgence in this outlandish and driving take on King Lear. Boring, stuffy parents have been left for dead – consigning audiences to the not-so-tender mercies of a younger generation, a mix of heroes and villains indulging their own selfish whims. Despite sharp wits and sharper teeth, these Kardashian-esque kids are comically shallow, callous, and vain: more concerned with dancing and drama than their own doomed parents. But superficial pleasures can only reign for so long before their conscience catches up with them, unearthing ugly secrets, doubts, and fears. Regional premiere.

WHEN:
Previews: Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5 at 8pm
Running: October 6 – 29
Thursday- Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm

WHERE:
Single Carrot Theatre
2600 N. Howard Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Entrance on 26th Street.
Free parking available in adjacent lot and on the street.

TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Tickets: $10-$29
Web: singlecarrot.com
Phone: 443-844-9253
Email: boxoffice@singlecarrot.com
Twitter: @singlecarrot
Instagram: @singlecarrot

PRESS RELEASE: A Deeper look at STEREO Akt, the Hungarian Company behind Promenade: Baltimore

Single Carrot Theatre’s World Premiere of Promenade: Baltimore coming on June 2nd!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

BALTIMORE, MD – The ambitious international collaboration and world premiere, Promenade: Baltimore, opens next week at Single Carrot Theatre. Interviews and outreach to local community members continue to influence the shape of the show, a new element in the model first conceived by the ensemble of STEREO Akt, the Hungarian company whose Budapest-based show, Promenade: Urban Fate Tourism, served as the inspiration for this new endeavor. When Single Carrot’s Artistic Director, Genevieve de Mahy saw the show in 2015, she was inspired by the way the relationship between audience and city was changed and enhanced by the performance and began the process of collaborating across oceans.

STEREO Akt is a theatre production workshop based on the continuous collaboration of director Martin Boross and produce Anikó Rácz. Founded in 2011 and based in Budapest, the company’s work is focused on the – often silent – interaction of performers and viewers; they mount a diverse mix of stage performances, site-specific projects, and social actions with the help of an ever-growing group of artists and volunteers from the local community. Each STEREO Akt performance begins with a simple questions: what will happen to the viewer? This unique emphasis on experience – rather than text – provides the opportunity to move out of traditional theatre spaces allowing the magical and ordinary to blend against a backdrop of everyday life.

Amonst those who have traveled to the United States to collaborate on Promenade: Baltimore are Julia Jakubowska and Martin Boross, both of whom were involved in the original STEREO Akt production. Jakubowska, who is originally from Poland, first performed in Promenade when she was a newcomer to Hungary and spoke virtually no Hungarian. “I felt back then that I was an audience member more than a performer,” she recalls, adding that her original character – a woman contemplating suicide – was drawn from Jakubowska’s own feelings of loneliness and isolation. “Being here in Baltimore is much different… getting to know the city through the eyes of our actors, who are my first guide and teachers in the city. It’s an exciting and rich experience.”

Boross, who serves as director for both versions of Promenade, added that interviews with local community-members have been particularly inspiring: “One of our interviewees said that Baltimore either gives you a hug or punches you in the stomach. The city is full of paradoxes, and it has many faces… by getting in touch with the communities here, it becomes clear that there are an incredible number of citizens who want to act, who can articulate the problems of the neighborhoods, and are able to choose the right tools to move things forward.”

“Working with STEREO Akt on a project about Baltimore has been a process of exchange,” said Single Carrot Artistic Director Genevieve de Mahy. “They see Baltimore with fresh eyes and notice things I had forgotten about. I show them things that you would not see on the surface.”

“We’d like to make something that is entertaining and provocative at the same time,” Boross stated. “To create a plot that avoids the cliches, that is not harmful, but honest, and gives room for dialogue. To create something that makes people feel that they see themselves truly. Even if it’s a fragile state that image reflects, they can still be proud of this image.”

This immense international collaboration opens on June 2nd and runs through June 25th.

Show Synopsis:

Grab your buss pass and get ready to ride! Single Carrot Theatre and STEREO Akt present Promenade: Baltimore, a boundary-breaking production that invites its audience to board a bus and traverse the city, passing through neighborhoods both familiar and unknown. Audience members watch through the windows as actors on the street present poetic expression of everyday life in Baltimore, complimented by a live-mixed soundscape of music, narration, and stories based on and told by neighborhood residents. Promenade: Baltimore celebrates and explores all that is Baltimore: highlighting it’s complexity, struggles, treasures, and, ultimately, its undeniable  beauty. World Premiere.

WHEN:

June 2-June 25, 2017

Thursdays & Fridays at 6:30pm

Saturdays & Sundays at 2pm & 6:30pm

 

WHERE:

Single Carrot Theatre

2600 N. Howard Street Baltimore, MD 21218

Entrance on 26th Street.

Free parking available in adjacent lot and on the street.

 

TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Tickets: $10-$45

Web: singlecarrot.com

Phone: 443-844-9253

Email: boxoffice@singlecarrot.com

Twitter: @singlecarrot

Instagram: @singlecarrot

“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” -Paul Cezanne

Review: A Short Reunion at Single Carrot Theatre

By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy

Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with no intermission

Baltimore is full of quirkiness… there’s no way around it. However, it’s also filled with a certain charm that earns it the Charm City nickname. Adding to all this quirkiness and charm, independent theatres have been popping up all over the place and trying new things, stepping out of the traditional theatre experience and contributing to the overall personality of the city. Some have been around for a few years, ten to be exact, and Single Carrot Theatre’s latest offering, A Short Reunion, Directed by various Single Carrot folks, of past and present, and Written by various authors is a new, creative presentation of short plays that takes the audience on a little field trip through Remington, a little corner of Baltimore, and proudly puts the city’s quirkiness and charm on display for an evening of blending the older (original) Single Carrot Theatre with the new.

The evening started out by congregating outside of Single Carrot theatre and breaking up into groups with tour guides and I had the pleasure of being in cute-as-a-button Brian Gilbert’s group and after a few brief comments giving us the ground rules of the “tour”, we were off… all the way over to Parts & Labor Restaurant, which was about 20 paces. Whew! The agony! Once there, the performances hit the ground running with 36 Questions or Emily & Sanders by Adam Szymkowicz, Directed by the current Single Carrot Theatre Ensemble. It’s a cute, relatable piece about a couple, Emily and Sanders, on a first date, trying to break through the awkwardness when they finally decide to play a “game” where they have to get through 36 questions they’ve found on the Internet. This piece is a great way to start off the evening, though, outside of a traditional theatre setting, the performances seem a bit scripted and unnatural, but the text and story are authentic and entertaining.

Paul Diem and Ben Kleymeyer in Grand Mal. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Next, cute Brian guides us down the street a few blocks, all the while keeping us engaged with questions and anecdotes relating to the piece or personal stories, to Church of the Guardian Angel where, after climbing a flight of narrow, old stairs, the audience is escorted into the sanctuary where we experience Grand Mal by Shawn Reddy, Directed by Brendan Ragan, dealing with a funeral and the dead man’s son or… sons? The material covers some existential topics such as time and space and, well, traveling through time and space and might be a bit predictable, but is enjoyable none the less.

Jessica Moose Garrett and Elliott Rauh in The Ninth Planet. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Leaving the church, we trek down to a corner spot where The Ninth Planet by Olivia Dufault, Directed by Lauren A. Saunders starts its performances right there on the sidewalk. Performed beautifully by Alix Fenhagen, Jessica Moose Garrett, and Elliott Rauh, this piece tells the tale of an exceedingly bright young woman who ventures off to find a better place and something new while, at home, she doesn’t apply herself in school and is stuck in a crazy situation with a single alcoholic dad. It takes a moment to “get” the piece, but the actors are committed and the space is very intimate, automatically immersing the audience.

Rohaizad Suaidi and Lauren Erica Jackson in Tense White People Have Dinner. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

From there, the evening takes us to the Young Audiences offices for Tense White People Have Dinner by Jen Silverman, Directed by Dustin C.T. Morris. This funny piece takes us through a dinner party, of sorts, with two sisters who have very different relationships with their gentlemen. With eyeballs falling out and revelations being made, this piece is serious, yet funny with commendable performances, though Rohaizad Suaidi seemed rather scripted and over-animated, he still gives a committed performances to match the wonderful performances from Meghan Stanton, Matt Shea, and Lauren Erica Jackson. By the way, The Young Audiences offices is a great time to take a restroom break, should you need it!

Meg Jabaily and Nathan Fulton in Bruce/Brenda/David. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Bruce/Brenda/David by J. Buck Jabaily and Nathan Fulton (with Aldo Pantoja and Meg Jabaily), Directed by J. Buck Jabaily is next on the tour, with cute Brain guiding a few steps away from the Young Audiences offices to right in front of Single Carrot Theatre and this piece, based on true events, is definitely a highlight of the evening. Simple and performed impeccably by Aldo Pantoja, Nathan Fulton, and Meg Jabaily, this piece gives us insight into a hermaphroditic young person and a scrupulous, but respected Johns Hopkins doctor and events leading the sad ending of a person named Bruce, then Brenda, then David. It is a poignant, important piece that promotes all kinds of feels.

At this point, we’re back to Emily & Sanders (from 36 Questions or Emily & Sanders) to check in and see how they were doing on their first date and they’ve gotten through most of the questions and seem to make a connection. At this point, we also lose cute Brian as a guide in a very over-the top, absolutely scripted (I hope it’s intended to be) hullabaloo between Brian and Ben Kleymeyer, who could pull back the acting a bit, if authenticity is the objective, and Brian is “fired” or “quits” in a huff, leaving Ben to guide us to our next destination.

This time, we join forces with another group and are back to Church of the Guardian Angel and we are guided upstairs to a space that had a past life as a small gymnasium to experience Live Through This by Caridad Svich, Directed by Genevieve De Mahy. I’m going to admit it. Someone is going to have to explain the purpose of this piece to me. In a nutshell, it was like an art installment of various points of history with a piece of hanging art in the middle of the room that theatre-goers could participate in its creation by pouring paint onto it. A disembodied voice blares out of a single speaker on one side of the room with ambient music backing him up. Everyone is so busy reading the descriptions of the exhibits, hardly anyone pays attention to the voice or what he is saying, so, this one might want to be thought through a bit more. Aside from the distractions from the text, the piece just doesn’t make much sense to me, but it could be my fault… Maybe I should have concentrated more on the disembodied voice?

Dustin C.T. Morris and Elliott Rauh in Itch So Bad. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

After scratching my head from Live Through This, we are walked down the street to the Miller’s Court Building where we are treated to Itch So Bad by Joshua Conkel, Directed by Ben Klemeyer. This piece is hilarious, performed bravely and confidently by committed, eventually scantily clad actors Elliott Rauh and Dustin C.T. Morris. Poking fun at promiscuity and the risks that go along with such a blithe attitude toward sex, this piece (which is set up more traditionally with seats to take a load off) is another highlight of the evening adding a rag-tag live band of “Scabies” to help the story along with familiar songs that add an extra bit of humor to the already funny piece.

Genevieve De Mahy and Alix Fenhagen in One More Time. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

The night begins to wind down in a garage/workshop across the street from Single Carrot Theatre with One More Time by Eric Coble, Directed by Brendan Ragan and this short piece, told completely through action, with one solitary word of dialogue, is practically silent but powerful. The actresses, Genevieve De Mahy and Alix Fenhagen are brilliant and exude so much emotion without speaking, it truly is a credit to their acting chops. The story tells of a reunion of sorts where both parties seems to have different ideas of what they want out of it and these actresses portray those feelings flawlessly.

Paul Diem in The Therapist. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Ending the evening in the same garage/workshop The Therapist by Charles Mee, Directed by Genevieve De Mahy and, the ending of One More Time seamlessly slides into this piece. The garage door is raised and the rest of the ensemble from all the other pieces are standing there like Walkers from The Walking Dead and they rush in to envelope the audience with a speech performed enthusiastically by Paul Diem about the state of the arts and about artists in general. His charisma is spot on for this piece, even as he’s stripping down to his unmentionables! The audience is given little flags and other accouterments as Diem leads them out of the garage and down the street as if it is a march for art, ending at Single Carrot Theatre, coming around full circle.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening and more like a leisurely stroll through Remington with the bonus of catching some theatre while out for a walk. The ensemble knows the materials and, more importantly understands the material and it all makes for a great night of Baltimore theatre.

Final thought… A Short Reunion presented by Single Carrot Theatre is a bold, innovative piece that the traditional theatre-goer might find a bit taxing, but it has a very personable feel and gives one a chance to explore the little corner of Baltimore where Single Carrot calls home – Remington. Roughly a mile walk, keep an eye on the weather and dress accordingly… you know how Maryland can get all bi-polar with its weather! Also, just as a note, if you have any disability that makes it difficult for stairs, unless Single Carrot has made arrangements for any foreseeable situation, there will be an issue in seeing a few of the performances because of stairs. You might want to give them a call ahead of time if you have any questions. Overall, the performance is quite enjoyable (and I got to experience it during a beautiful spring evening) and exudes the charm and quirkiness with which Baltimore drips. The tour is well-designed and thought out so there’s no unnecessary detours and though I may enjoyed certain performances more than others, I enjoyed all of them, as a whole. It’s called A Short Reunion but it’s also a short run so if you want a different kind of theatre-going experience; something new and quirky… and quite enjoyable… get your tickets now!

Short plays included in A Short Reunion:

36 Questions or Emily & Sanders by Adam Szymkowicz

The Ninth Planet by Olivia Dufault

Tense White People Have Dinner by Jen Silverman

Grand Mal by Shawn Reddy

Bruce/Brenda/David by J. Buck Jabaily & Nathan Fulton (with Aldo Pantoja and Meg Jabaily)

Itch So Bad by Joshua Conkel

Live Through This by Caridad Svich

One More Time by Eric Coble

The Therapist by Charles Mee

This is what I thought of Single Carrot Theatre’s production of A Short Reunion… What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment!

A Short Reunion will play through April 30 at Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 N. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (443) 844-9253 or purchase them online.

Email us at backstagebaltimore@gmail.com

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Review: Samsara at Single Carrot Theatre

By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy

samsaramain

Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission

Birth – Life – Death… That’s pretty much what Samsara means: We’re born – We live – We die. It’s what happens along that journey is what’s different for everyone and even the start is starting and ending is different. Single Carrot Theatre’s latest offering, Samsara by Lauren Yee, directed by Lauren A. Saunders, with Scenic Design by Jason Randolph, Lighting Design by Thomas P. Gardner, and Sound Design by Steven Kriegle, gives a thought provoking look into what it takes to bring a child into this world, even when it’s not your body your using. It delves into the intricacies of having a surrogate half way across the world and imagines the unknowns of unborn children who sometimes have more common sense than grown adults. It puts human faces on surrogacy and tells a story from both sides of a surrogate pregnancy.

The space at Single Carrot Theatre is intimate and they use the space wisely. From what I understand, the seating chart changes depending on the production and this set up for Samsara gives us a wide stage with room for Jason Randolph’s simple, but impressive Set Design. His use of movable blocks saves space and lends itself to multiple locations, not giving exact detail, but enough for the audience to know where they are. The curves in both the set and the hanging screen gives a whimsical, magical feel and the projections are spot on. Overall, the production value of this piece knocks it out of the ballpark. Set Design, Lighting Design, and Sound Design are worth the admission price alone.

Speaking of Lighting Design, Thomas P. Gardner does a superb job lighting this magical, fanciful piece with just the correct colors and levels, setting the mood for each scene and moving the story line along nicely. Along with Gardner’s work, Steven Kriegle’s Sound Design is on point. Every bit of recorded sound that comes out of the speakers is befitting and well placed. Whether it was Kriegle himself or a collaboration with the director, the music choices are spot on the Sound Design, as a whole, is impeccable.

Taking the helm of this production, Director Lauren A. Saunders does a fantastic job putting this piece on the stage. Her casting is outstanding and her staging is minimal and fanciful, but gives the audience enough to keep up with the complex story. She understands the script, the delicacy of the piece, and the intimate space and presents the story in an accessible way as to not overwhelm the audience but bring them along for the journey. Her understanding and handling of the piece makes for a very enjoyable evening of theatre.

The small ensemble of Samsara puts on an impressive show and the chemistry, for the most part, is clear and these actors are comfortable with each other which makes it easier for the audience to follow along and get engrossed in the touching story their telling.

Utkarsh Rajawat as Amit, Paul Diem as Craig, and Saraniya Tharmarajah as Suraiya. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Utkarsh Rajawat as Amit, Paul Diem as Craig, and Saraniya Tharmarajah as Suraiya. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Single Carrot Ensemble members, Paul Diem and Alix Fenhagen take on the roles of Craig, the kind good-hearted father sent off a half a world away on his own and Katie, the wife and childless mother who, because of her own issues, would not travel with her husband a half world away to experience the birth of their child. Diem and Fenhagen played these roles to the hilt and I can feel the unspoken tension between the characters as they are trying to navigate through a rocky marriage with the difficulty of not being able to have children. It is revealed that neither of them able to produce and that’s where the Indian surrogate comes into play. Why India, you may ask? Well, it’s simply financial and an Indian surrogate is actually much cheaper… thousands of dollars cheaper than an good old American surrogate. The question is, are both of these people ready for a child? Also, to add to the drama, these two characters seem to differ on their ideas of what a surrogate is and how much involvement one should have in a surrogate’s life, making for some pretty intense drama between these two characters.

Diem has a complete handle on this character and is confident in this role. His uncertainty is unmistakable and his kindness shines through making him a very likable character. The character of Craig might be a bit annoying at times, making unwise choices while in India, but Paul Diem gives an admirable performance having great chemistry with both Fenhagen and Saraniya Tharmarajah. Alix Fenhagen also gives a good performance, but seems a bit flat and monotone, in parts where I would prefer little more emotion, but she seems to be playing it subtly and gives a commendable performance.

Dustin C. T. Morris, as the imaginary Frenchman and sub-sequential “dream man” of Katie, is a bit of comic relief and he is 100% to this role. He also takes on the role of the doctor caring for the surrogate in India and he shines in this role, as well. As an imaginary character, he manages to move the story along, giving a backstory to Katie and her ideas of what she wants her child (and perhaps her life) to be as well as the possibilities that frighten her. Morris is radiant and confident and gives a praiseworthy performance.

Saraniya Tharmarajah as Suraiya and Utkarsh Rajawat as Amit. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

Saraniya Tharmarajah as Suraiya and Utkarsh Rajawat as Amit. Credit: Single Carrot Theatre

At the heart of this story is Suraiya, the surrogate for Craig and Katie played masterfully by Saraniya Tharmarajah, whose performance is one of the highlights of this production. She is natural and comfortable in this role and her delicate performance is befitting of this character. Tharmarajah manages to bring forth a silent strength in her character and her chemistry with Rajawat, the unborn Amit, is charming and heart-warming. Kudos to Tharmarajah for her superb performance in this piece.

Speaking Utkarsh Rajawat, he is another highlight of this production as he tackles the role of Amit, the unborn child for whom everyone is waiting patiently. Rajawat’s performance is both charming and poignant as his character is in the mind of the surrogate and he is inquisitive and in awe of everything as he talks with her. Not having been jaded by the world just yet, this character seems to have the only common sense in the group and he has some of the funniest lines in the piece and handles the comedy and comedic timing beautifully. He masterfully plays this character as a doe-eyed child, wanting to learn everything he can about the world he is about to enter and Rajawat’s lovable portrayal makes it hard to feel anything but good, warm, and gooey things for this character. Kudos goes to both Tharmarajah and Rajawat for jobs well done.

Final thought…Samsara is an interesting look into surrogacy and relationships of surrogacy, touching on the deep and intense thoughts and feelings of all parties involved that aren’t always discussed at the dinner table. Single Carrot Theatre’s production is an approachable and accessible expression of those unsaid thoughts and feelings, giving the audience an insight only parents and a surrogate mother can have. This well-put, thought-provoking production should not be missed this season.

This is what I thought of Single Carrot Theatre’s production of Samsara… What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Samsara will play through February 12 at Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD. For Tickets, call the box office at 443-844-9253 or purchase them online.

Email us at backstagebaltimore@gmail.com

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Follow Backstage Baltimore on Twitter (@backstagebmore) and Instagram (backstagebaltimore)