Merrill Meltz & Gerry DeVito
BAY AREA PREMIERE
STARTS June 19
- In The News
- Program Notes
Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, is a wickedly funny satire about our uncertain, deflating economic times. Barely middle class Ben and Mary fire up the grill to welcome Sharon and Kenny, a couple who moves in next door (suspiciously without furniture). But as this foursome bonds over backyard barbecues, remembered dreams and helping hands, their neighborly connection turns dangerous, threatening to destroy more than just their friendship.
"Funny as hell." - New York Post
RUNTIME: 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission
Disclaimers: Water-based haze is used in this production.
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News
The San Francisco Examiner
East Bay Express
The Daily Californian
Bay Area Reporter
LUISA FRASCONI - Sharon
WESLEY APFEL* - Stage Manager
Our country's economic crisis—whether you call it the Great Recession, the Global Economic Downturn, or the Subprime Mortgage Crisis—left lasting scars not just on Detroit, but on our nation's middle class and on the American psyche. Even as unemployment numbers drop and the economy seems to recover, people across our country are learning to live with a frightening level of uncertainty about the future. A recent New York Times article, "Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up," cited layoffs and falling incomes as key factors in the shrinking number of people who can afford to own a home or save for retirement. The idea of a single-income family living in a comfortable home in the suburbs and paying for their kids to go to college has become a vanishing, half-remembered dream.
Lisa D'Amour's Detroit isn't set in the city of Detroit. She wrote the play in 2009; it opened at Steppenwolf in 2010 before a run at Playwrights Horizons in New York and productions all around the country. A finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the play won the Obie Award for Best New American Play in 2013. D'Amour says this about the title: "To me it’s about a particular anxiety the name of that city evokes. Detroit is a symbol to so many people of the American dream drying up. While working on the play, I started hearing about radical grassroots movements in Detroit trying to bring the city back. There’s something bubbling up there—where the structures aren’t working and the people are taking over—that’s interesting. It’s a weird title, but if you look at the play and how at times it feels like a surreal fable, it makes sense."
D'Amour also says she didn't consciously set out to write a play about the US economy. But this story of two couples—one on the verge of losing everything and the other with nothing to lose—can't help but resonate with this particular moment in American history. D'Amour is asking the questions that all of us are striving to answer: What do we do when we just can't make ends meet? How do we deal with uncertainty? How can we let go of the American Dream—and how are we going to get by without it?