World Premiere of A Cautionary Tail and NY Premiere of White Hot Will Play The Flea

By Michael Gioia
April 22, 2013

The Flea Theater will present the New York premiere of Tommy Smith's White Hot as well as the world premiere of Christopher Oscar Peña's a cautionary tail at the company's Off Off-Broadway home.



White Hot, scheduled to run April 26-May 26, will be helmed by Flea resident director Courtney Ulrich and feature resident acting company The Bats. Opening night is May 7.

Here's how the work is billed: "Lil, married and pregnant, tries to find salvation in a simple life. Her sister, Sis, escapes reality through the abuse of drugs and vacant sexual relationships. Their lives collide in an epic portrait of self-destruction, led by Lil’s oblivious husband Bri, and a sexual mercenary named Grig. A brutal comedy about how cruel we can be to the ones we love, when we want what they have."

Smith's work includes Nectarine EP (The Flea Theater), Lotus Eaters EP (IRT Theater), Pigeon (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Wife (Access Gallery), White Hot (Here Arts Center), Sextet (Washington Ensemble Theatre), PTSD (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and Air Conditioning (Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference), among others.

The world premiere of a cautionary tail, which was commissioned by NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Graduate Acting Production (Mark Wing-Davey, artistic director), will run May 29-June 30.

Directed by Flea resident director Benjamin Kamine (Job), the cast features The Bats as well as actors from recent Flea shows such as These Seven Sicknesses, Job and Restoration Comedy, including Alton Alburo, Barron Bass, Matt Bovee, Maxx Brawer, Madeleine Bundy, Jenelle Chu, Sasha Diamond, Karen Eilbacher, Bobby Foley, Aaron Parker Fouhey, Alex Gould, Cleo Gray, Alex Grubbs, Marlowe Holden, Christine Lee, Evan Maltby, Bonnie Milligan, Jacquelyn Revere, Stephen Stout and Tony Vo.

The work is described as "a play of impossible choices - set in a world of magical characters. First generation Chinese-Americans growing up in New York City, Vivienne and Luke confront a confused tangle of family, a diverse array of friends, and their rampant sexuality. In our digital age, how can they navigate the traditional expectations of their mother with their American culture of individuality?"

"In a time when very few Latino playwrights seem to grace the stages of New York theatre, identity politics are often severely over-simplified. After a year of shocking and offensive yellow-facing on some of the world's most prominent stages, I couldn't be more thrilled to be having the world premiere of a cautionary tail happen at The Flea with diverse cast of actors who represent not only New York, but what America looks like to me," added playwright Peña in a statement.

The creative team for a cautionary tail includes set designer David Meyer, lighting designer Jonathan Cottle, costume designer Andrea Lauer, sound designer Jeremy S. Bloom and movement director Laura Brandel.

Peña's plays include maelstrom, l(y)re, i wonder if it's possible to have a love affair that lasts forever? or things i found on craigs list, icarus burns, the suicide tapes, alone above a raging sea and TINY PEOPLE (or, it gets better). His work has been developed or seen at The Public Theater, Two River Theater, New York Stage and Film with The Lark, Ars Nova, NYU Grad, INTAR, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Flea Theater, The Ontological Hysteric Incubator, art.party, American Theater Company (Chicago), Son of Semele (L.A.) and The New York Theatre Workshop, among others.

The Bats are the resident acting company members of The Flea Theater. They perform in extended runs of challenging classic and new plays and have recently appeared in premieres by A.R. Gurney, Will Eno, Adam Rapp, Beau Willimon, Mac Wellman, Elizabeth Swados, Thomas Bradshaw, Itamar Moses, Sheila Callaghan, Julian Sheppard, Ken Urban, Tommy Smith, Jonathan Reynolds, Trista Baldwin, Laurel Haines, Qui Nguyen, Sean Graney and Amy Freed.

The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal. For more information and tickets, call (212) 352-3101 or visit TheFlea.org.