Gruesome Playground Injuries, Charting Lives (and Wounds) of Childhood Friends, Opens Jan. 31

News   Gruesome Playground Injuries, Charting Lives (and Wounds) of Childhood Friends, Opens Jan. 31 The New York premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, featuring Jennifer Carpenter of TV's "Dexter" and Pablo Schreiber, a Tony Award nominee for Awake and Sing!, opens Jan. 31 at Second Stage Theatre following previews from Jan. 5.

Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter
Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter Photo by Joan Marcus

This is a busy New York theatre season for Joseph: His Pulitzer Prize-finalist play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, starring Robin Williams, begins Broadway performances on March 11. Off-Broadway's Second Stage previously premiered his plays All This Intimacy and Animals Out of Paper as part of the company's Uptown Series.

Tony nominee Scott Ellis directs Gruesome Playground Injuries, billed as a "dark romantic saga" [that] "explores the cost of wounded friendships. Over the course of 30 years, the lives of Kayleen and Doug intersect at the most bizarre intervals, leading the two childhood friends to compare scars and the physical calamities that keep drawing them together." Read Playbill magazine's feature about the play.

The play, at turns darkly comic and sorrowful, charts the lives of accident-prone Doug and emotionally fragile Kayleen from Catholic school at age eight to unhappy adulthood at age 38. The scenes are not chronological, giving the audience the chance to try to solve the puzzle of the couple's attraction to each other. Director Ellis puts two rows of theatregoers on stage, behind the main action, creating a kind of sterile surgical theatre effect. Their costume and makeup changes are done in front of the audience. A digital screen offers printed context for the chapters in their lives.

Carpenter is best known for her performance as Debra Morgan, Dexter's ambitious sister, in the acclaimed Showtime series "Dexter." She last appeared on the New York stage as Mary Warren in the Broadway production of The Crucible opposite Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.

Schreiber received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Awake and Sing! by Lincoln Center Theater. His many other theatre credits include Desire Under the Elms, Reasons to be Pretty (Drama Desk Award), Dying City, Mr. Marmalade, Manuscript, Sin: A Cardinal Deposed, Blood Orange and Julius Caesar at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Ellis directed Douglas Carter Beane's Mr. & Mrs. Fitch for Second Stage last season. Other Second Stage credits include Good Boys and True, The Little Dog Laughed, The Waverly Gallery and That Championship Season. Broadway credits include Curtains, Twelve Angry Men (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck, The Boys From Syracuse, The Rainmaker, 1776 (Drama Desk, Tony nomination), Picnic (Outer Critics Circle nomination), Company, A Month in the Country, Steel Pier (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards, Tony nomination), She Loves Me (Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations, Outer Critics Circle Award and Olivier Award for Best Director and Best Revival, London production) and more.

Gruesome Playground Injuries has scenic design by Neil Patel; costume design by Jeff Mahshie; and sound design by Ryan Rumery.

Second Stage Theatre's Off-Broadway home is at 305 W. 43rd Street. For subscription or ticket information, call the Second Stage box office at (212) 246-4422 or visit www.2ST.com.

Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter
Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter Photo by Joan Marcus
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