The Playwrights Realm will kick off its 2018–2019 season this fall with the world premiere of Jonathan Payne’s The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd, directed by Awoye Timpo (The Homecoming Queen). Part social satire, part detective story, the new play follows Karma, a black teenage girl searching for her foster brother in the Oblong—a fictional inner city isolated by poverty.
The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd will begin performances September 7 and is scheduled to run through October 6 at The Duke on 42nd Street. The production will officially open September 19.
Payne, who also works as a social worker for the housing nonprofit Community Access, submitted Revolving Cycles to Playwrights Realm in 2015 and the following year, joined the likes of alum playwrights Mfoniso Udofia, Sarah DeLappe, Jen Silverman, and Donja R. Love as a writing fellow at the Off-Broadway theatre.
His background in acting and being cast in character roles was an early inspiration of Revolving Cycles, says the playwright. “I found that I was putting those characters front and center—the ones who otherwise would just come in and leave. Karma, the protagonist of Revolving Cycles, would be that wacky character on the corner that no one’s curious about—so I felt like giving her that space was important to me. There’s a racial context as well—there are people who have these needs, who are shouting in the streets and no one is listening. I knew I wanted to write a play that would grab people; out of all of the plays I’ve written, this is the one I’m most curious to see in how the audience grasps it.”
In The Revolving Cycles, Terrell, a black teenager in the foster care system, has gone missing. The cause is unknown, but his foster sister Karma, is determined to solve the mystery of his whereabouts—meeting a wide variety of characters on her journey, and shining a light on systemic forms of isolation that exist in the real world.
“Each of the characters that Karma encounters lives in a very fixed way,” explains director Timpo. “And as they become trapped in different systems, the isolation becomes so real… The tragedy of the conversation of people not ‘having a voice’ is that it’s about the voice not being heard, and not about the power of the actual voice.”
For more information visit PlaywrightsRealm.org.