Clubbed Thumb, the Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theatre company, begins its seventh season of new plays Jan. 11 with The Train Play, by Liz Duffy Adams and directed by Jonathan Silverstein at the Ohio Theater in downtown Manhattan.
The play, billed as "a timely, comic-poetic runaway meditation on time and history," is described this way in press notes: "One night from dusk to dawn on a train hurtling towards infinity, eight strangers meet. A 12 year-old with the powers of a comic book heroine manipulates time and the lives of a jaded earth goddess, an unraveling physicist, an Irishman fleeing predatory angels, an embittered travel writer and three brothers from Ulyanovsk. When the sun comes up, they find out what the other side of the end of the world looks like."
Opening night is Jan. 13. Performances continue to Feb. 2.
The cast includes Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Keith Davis, Gibson Frazier, Nicole Halmos, Austin Jones, Mark Leydorf, Ryan Shogren and Ami Shukla.
Liz Duffy Adams' plays include Dog Act (staged readings at Portland Stage Company and New York Theatre Workshop, finalist for the Clauder Competition 2001); The Train Play (staged readings at Yale Rep and The Arts Festival of Atlanta, finalist for the Clauder Competition 1999); A Wrinkle in Time (Syracuse Stage); A Fabulous Beast (One Dream Theater, with Edie Falco); Teacup for a Shallow Apocalypse (Santa Monica Playhouse); and the short plays, Greek & Centaurs, The Last Woman on Earth (New Georges, Estrogenius 2001) and Aphra Does Antwerp (The Women's Project). She is a graduate of NYU's Experimental Theater Wing and the Yale School of Drama, and a member of New Dramatists. Director Silverstein recently directed Cymbeline at The Theatre at Monmouth, Ionesco's The Chairs at San Diego's Sledgehammer Theatre and Julia C. Edwards' Fun House Style at the Edge of the World Festival in Los Angeles. He is a recent graduate of the MFA directing program at UC San Diego.
Clubbed Thumb was founded in 1996 by artistic directors Maria Striar and Meg MacCary with the mission to "develop and produce funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers." According to the website, "We are known primarily for our annual festival of new plays, Summerworks, which features work at every stage of development — full productions, workshops, and readings. Since 1996, we've produced over 40 plays, including six Summerworks, three winter shows, and a periodic vaudeville called Thumbscrews. Clubbed Thumb flourishes as a result of respectful and fertile collaborations, both years-old and brand new, with an evergrowing bevy of playwrights, actors, directors, and designers."
Among the new works there: Gina Gionfriddo's U.S. Drag, Lisa D'Amour's 16 Spells to Charm the Beast, Erin Courtney's Summer Play and Downwinders, Carson Kreitzer's Freakshow, Deborah Eisenberg's Pastorale, and Rinne Groff's Inky and Jimmy Carter Was a Democrat.
Advisory Board members include playwrights Mac Wellman, Wallace Shawn, and Paula Vogel. The troupe received a 2001 Obie Award grant from The Village Voice.
The Train Play tickets are $15 (students $10). Performances play at The Ohio Theater, 66 Wooster Street, between Spring and Broome, 8 PM Thursday-Sunday. For reservations and information call (212) 802-8007 or visit ClubbedThumb.org.
— By Kenneth Jones