Maybe this should be one of those rubrics of health you see in all of those “Does your city not suck?” type articles: Does your city have a dedicated collective of playwrights who want break the ars dramatica out of its only-old-people-go existential funk? Who are furthermore using numbers and hard data to measure whether or not they are actually successful? Philly has one of those, and it’s called Orbiter 3. And their plan is this: Between 2015 and 2017, they’ve embarked to produce seven new plays by local writers (they’re already four in); next year, they’ll release documentation of of what they’ve done, and see what’s next. Their artistic brief is as simple as it elusive: “Our productions offer Philadelphia inclusive, accessible theater that embraces risk, values local artists, and chases the playwright's vision.”
Opening this week, with Rebecca Wright directing, Mary Tuomanen’s Peaceable Kingdom is…
“A dark comedy about the Quaker settlement of Pennsylvania. Inspired by the famous series by Philadelphia painter Edward Hicks (1780 - 1849), Peaceable Kingdom is a fable about the longing for utopia. In a mythical Quaker colony inhabited by wild creatures both native and foreign to the Americas, the audience is offered a bird's-eye view of two cultures encountering each other for the first time. Peaceable Kingdom is also a warning: an exploration of how ecosystems are impacted by invasive species, be they squirrels, giant cats, or human beings.”
Yes, that painting - one of the most recognizable pieces in PAFA's collection, by the way. With actors, and “professional singers.” See? That’s weird. That’s good. It's healthy, even.
Runs from May 10 through the 28th. Tickets available here.