The Providence Of Neighboring Bodies
By Jean Ann Douglass. Directed by Jess Chayes.
2/14 - 3/11 2017 at Theater 511. An Ars Nova Fling. 8/2 - 8/26 2018 at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Named one of The Guardian’s 2018 “Top Picks of the Fringe”
In a black comedy about female friendship, social anxiety and our relationship with ‘other’, two characters crave connection but live in their own heads, over-analysing all interactions. Dora and Ronnie form a tentative friendship from conversations over the balconies of their provincial Rhode Island apartments, flexing their rusty social skills and trying to act as normal people do. But the dynamic of their jittery new friendship takes a turn when a beaver moves in. Set in a Rhode Island town that no one ever seems to leave, filled with parking lots, strip malls, and nail salons, The Providence of Neighboring Bodies examines what happens when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones and are faced with something unknown.
It’s an exciting day for Dora in North Providence, Rhode Island. Today is the day Dora is going to make coffee, go outside, and make friends with Ronnie. Ronnie lives in the apartment next door, her balcony just adjacent to Dora’s, both overlooking the parking lot and the weird hill across the street. Ronnie isn’t sure how she wound up living in North Providence for all these years, but here they both are, where nothing exciting has really happened since the great beaver purge of the mid-20th century. And then out of nowhere, Jane appears.
Playwright Jean Ann Douglass said, “I wrote this play to theatricalize the less-than-sexy thoughts that take up most of our days. I know I am not alone in spending too much time mentally preparing for social interactions, evaluating how conversations are going as they’re happening, and analyzing them after the fact. Interacting with other people makes us self-conscious, and that self-consciousness can reach dizzying and dangerous heights when dealing with people that are different, who we’re not used to interacting with, or we perceive as an ‘other’. In this way, this tender play about women struggling to connect through the fog of their own loneliness becomes about prejudice: the kind that results from small mistakes, inaction from not knowing the right thing to do, and valuing personal comfort over doing what’s right.”
Jean Ann Douglass is a playwright, performer and artist. Her plays include Ladycation, Seneca Falls, Nondisclosure and Some Editing and Some Theme Music. She is also one half of Human Head Performance Group, who came to the Fringe in 2017 with Obfuscation. The Providence of Neighboring Bodies first premiered at Ars Nova in New York
WORKSHOP June 2nd 2015. Cap 21 Studios.
After its great success in the 2014 Loose Leaf Reading Series, Dutch Kills Theater happily produced a week long workshop of this strange and feminine piece featuring Kate Benson, Anna Abhau Elliott and Anne Gridley. Design by Sara C. Walsh