Ensemble Studio Theatre—in association with Youngblood, its development program for emerging playwrights—will present Mope, a new play by Paul Cameron Hardy about the porn industry. The production follows the success of Youngblood’s Tony-nominated Hand to God, which debuted at the Off-Broadway theatre before transferring to Broadway.
RJ Tolan, Youngblood’s co-artistic director, will helm the production. Performances are set to begin January 11 at EST’s Studio Theatre and continue through February 4. Opening night is set for January 14.
Here’s how EST describes Hardy’s play: “Mope: /m?p/ (noun): The lowest-level male performer in the adult film industry. An anonymous stunt-penis. The guy in that porno you watched who was wearing sunglasses and socks. A dreamer. Example: ’Trevor is a mope.’"
The cast will feature J.Stephen Brantley (Pirira), RJ Brown (The Carrie Diaries), Hollye Hudson (Restrain Yourself, Please), Eric Miller (rogerandtom), Jennifer Tsay (The Mysteries), and Megan Tusing (Year of the Rooster).
“Mope—like Hand to God, Year of the Rooster, and Kentucky before it—represents the mission of Youngblood: developing a play all the way from its first readings onto the EST mainstage, and an early-career writer fully coming into his own,” comments Tolan in a press statement. “Paul's voice is funny and disturbing. He's vivisecting crucial issues with these tiny, subtle incisions: the limits of our empathy, the curdling of masculinity and the pursuit of gratification without context.”
“I think this is a daring play venturing into places where we don't usually go,” added William Carden, EST’s artistic director. ”Paul Hardy's approach is original and revealing and as funny as it is unsparing. He is taking us into the culture of porn to experience the lives of the humans who perform it to earn their keep. With humor and truth he is showing us the ways in which porn is a microcosm of the society that has created it. He is giving us a brave glimpse into an alien world that is our own.”
Tickets are $15 and are on sale now at Ensemblestudiotheatre.org. EST’s Studio Theatre is located at 545 W. 52nd Street, 6th Floor.