A new play by O'Neill National Playwights Conference finalist Brian Silberman will premiere Off-Broadway Monday, July 28. Sugar Down Billie Hoak is being produced by New York's New American Stage Company. It began previews July 17. The play, presented uptown at St. Peter's Church, 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th St., is described by the 30-year-old playwright as a "downtown play" because of its "no-holds-barred slice of life drama, adult language, and sexual themes."
Silberman said that while the play is realistic and graphic, "ultimately, it's about redemption. There's a humanity underneath all the rough street language. You don't have to be a New Yorker to understand it. I wasn't when I wrote it." The playwright has been in New York about a year.
He explained that the title derives from '50s drug users' slang. "Billie Hoak was a term used for cocaine and 'sugar down' meant how it was mixed with sugar to dilute it."
Sugar Down Billie Hoak is set late at night in the men's room of a New York subway station near Greenwich Village's meat packing district. It concerns two homeless teenage brothers who are hustlers struggling to escape their past and what appears to be their fate when they steal from their pimp.
-- By Ellis Nassour