Lisa D’Amour’s Pulitzer Prize finalist play, Detroit, will make its Beloit College debut in late February. The New York Times called Detroit, “a sharp X-ray of the embattled American psyche as well as a smart, tart critique of the country’s fraying social fabric.”
Detroit runs Thursday, Feb. 25 to Saturday, Feb. 27 and again Thursday, March 3 to Saturday, March 5 in the Kresge Theatre of the Neese Performing Arts Center at Beloit. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. The production is for mature audiences only. Tickets are $4 for students, $5 for seniors and college faculty, and $8.50 for all others. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, contact the Beloit College Theatre department box office at 608-363-2755. The Neese Performing Arts Center is located at the corner of Prospect Street and Bushnell Street.
Detroit follows two sets of neighbors getting to know each other in a suburb of a Midwestern American city over the course of a summer. “Although the play is named Detroit, it could be any city whose core is being hollowed out,” says John Kaufmann, assistant professor of theatre arts at Beloit. “I think that’s a metaphor for the characters as well.”
Some of the characters may even feel very familiar to audience members. “Detroit feels very much of today,” Kaufmann says of the play, which debuted at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2010. “It feels uncomfortably close. The characters are people we know, or people we think we know.”
“These people are dealing with primal concerns. They’re barbecuing, they’re playing music and dancing,” Kaufmann says. “Through these primal connections, barriers begin to come down, both the literal barrier between backyards as well as the social barrier—what you talk about, what you earn, what you share. The truth is bared in a funny, savage, and uncomfortable fashion.”
After a number of show-stopping numbers and a big theatre during the college’s popular run of Rent last fall, Kaufmann is pleased to return to a very intimate theatre setting. His goal is to make sure the audience feels very close to the action.
Detroit stars Alice Gehrke (grey top in photo) as Mary, Phillip Timmons (light blue) as Ben, Silvia Abelson (red dress) as Sharon, Conor Fogarty (orange shirt) as Kenny, and Omid Niliaram (not pictured) as Frank.