The Hilltown Plays are staged on the Cherry Lane Theatre's studio and mainstages, as well as the Axis Theatre, the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the New Ohio Theatre. The plays comprise Theater: Village, the inaugural West Village Theater Festival.
The Hill Town Plays, a collection of new and existing works, according to the Rattlestick, "tells the story of a woman who works her way into a new life from a childhood of poverty, alcoholism and abuse. Each play examines a pivotal stage of the character’s life, spanning from a childhood in a poor mill town in Western Mass through adulthood as a successful author. The Hill Town Plays investigate where we come from, what we dream of becoming and who we are."
The plays include: Scarcity (directed by Daniel Talbott at the Cherry Lane Studio); Where We're Born (directed by Jackson Gay at the Rattlestick); Killers and Other Family (directed by Caitriona McLaughlin at the Axis Theatre); the world premiere of Ashville (directed by Karen Allen at the Cherry Lane Mainstage); and Stay (directed by GT Upchurch at the New Ohio Theatre). The Rattlestick previously produced Where We're Born, Killers and Other Family and Stay.
All five plays officially open Sept. 5. Performances continue through Sept. 28. Here's a look at the plays and their casts:
Featuring: Didi O'Connell, Natalie Gold, Izzy Hanson-Johnston, Will Pullen, Pamela Shaw, Michael Warner and Gordon Joseph Weiss.
Design team includes: Raul Abrego (set design), Tristan Raines (costume design), Joel Moritz (lighting design) and Janie Bullard (sound design).
"A young Rachel watches her dejected father and mother deal with the day-to-day drudgery of their lives in a small Western Massachusetts town, determined to hold the family together while her older brother Billy looks for an escape. Their lives are interrupted by the comings and goings of equally desperate friends, and a teacher whose own desires disrupt everything in an unexpected way."
Featuring: Aubrey Dollar, Andrew Garman, Tasha Lawrence, James McMenamin, Joe Tippett, Mia Vallet and George West Carruth.
Design team includes: John McDermott (set design), Jessica Pabst (costume design), Matt Richards (lighting design) and Bart Fasbender (sound design).
"Sixteen year-old Celia longs for more than her small Western Massachusetts town, but finds herself trapped in an unhealthy vicious cycle with her alcoholic mother and her burnout boyfriend, Jake. When Jake proposes to her, Celia must decide what she wants from her life – especially as a friendship with a neighbor becomes complicated."
Where We're Born
Featuring: Christopher Abbott, Daniel Abeles, Betty Gilpin, Nick Winthrop Lawson and MacKenzie Meehan.
Design team includes: John McDermott (set design), Katherine Roth (costume design), Paul Whitaker (lighting design) and Broken Chord (sound design).
"Home after her first semester at a prestigious East Coast college, Lilly is confronted with her working class roots and the ties that bind her to her rural Massachusetts town. Seeking solace in the home of her cousin Tony and his girlfriend Franky, Lilly struggles to bridge the gap between the girl she was and the young woman she is becoming."
Killers and Other Family
Featuring: Aya Cash, Shane McRae, Samantha Soule and Chris Stack.
Design team includes: John McDermott (set design), Emily Rebholz (costume design), David Zeffren (lighting design) and Steve Fontaine (sound design).
"Trying to escape her painful past, Elizabeth has dedicated herself to finishing her dissertation and building a life with her partner, Claire. Their routine is disrupted by a visit from Elizabeth's brother and her troubled childhood lover, as they threaten to ruin all she's built and pull her back into a cycle of destruction."
Featuring: McCaleb Burnett, Mikaela Feely-Lehmann, Hani Furstenberg, Brian Miskell and Jenny Seastone Stern.
Design team includes: Rachel Hauck (set design), Jessica Pabst (costume design), Burke Brown (lighting design) and Leon Rothenberg (sound design).
"Years of hard work have finally paid off for Rachel, who now holds a coveted professorship and enjoys success as a published author. Her world is turned upside down when her degenerate brother appears on her doorstep and a brilliant but troubled student unleashes chaos in her life."
Memberships, which allow access to all five shows, start at $30 for students, $50 for theatre artists and patrons under 30 years old, and $125 for general admission. Individual tickets start at $10 for students, $15 for theatre artists and patrons under 30 years old, and $55 for general admission.
For tickets visit theatervillage.com.