Amy Freed's darkly satiric comedy Freedomland, which had its premiere last month at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA, ends it critically praised run Nov. 16.
The play takes its title from the name of a Wild West theme park in the Bronx, where Freed grew up. (The park was ultimately torn down in the 1960s to make way for Co-op City, a high-rise housing development.)
"Freedomland [the park] represents a primordial, unquestioning order for me--a place of safety," said Freed in a recent interview in the Los Angeles Times. The play, however, is not about the warm, nostalgic world of amusement parks--at its center is a distraught family with deep-seated problems: The father has been abandoned by his first wife; his second wife is a free-love refugee; his two grown daughters -- an avant-garde artist and a lost soul who loves to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings--hate each other; and his paranoid son is on the verge of going postal.
Freed's previous play, the black comedy The Psychic Life of Savages -- a fictionalized look at the poets Sylvia Plath, Ted Morgan, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell -- won the New York Arts Club's prestigious $10,000 Joseph Kesselring Award and was a hit two seasons ago at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington (in a production that won a 1995 Charles McArthur Award for outstanding new play).
South Coast Repertory has commissioned several plays over the years, including works by David Henry Hwang and last season's acclaimed Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, an All About Eve tale of a writer and her protegee. In April, Richard Greenberg's Hurrah At Last will receive its world premiere at the theatre.
Freedomlandruns through Nov. 16 at South Coast Repertory's main stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA. For information, call (714) 708-5555.
-- By Rebecca Paller