Feature Image: Jonathan Bangs and Lindsay Smiling. All photos by Paola Nogueras
A bare bones set of a few couches, desks, glasses of wine, books. This is all that’s needed to tell the stories of Stokes and Riley, Griffin and Tami, Natalie and G.K.; and their various interactions.
How to Catch Creation, written by Christina Anderson and directed by Nataki Garrett is simply fascinating. The play follows these six creative souls as they try to maintain- or find- what makes them shine.
Stokes and Riley are a young couple living in San Francisco. Stokes can’t understand why he is constantly being rejected from art colleges. Riley just wants to see him succeed, yet puts her own career on the back burner as a result. Griffin is a middle-aged man recently released from prison after spending nearly half his life there for a crime he did not commit. Tami, an artist and academic at a local college, is his only true friend. She’s pessimistic, yet honest. Both Griffin and Stokes have read and are inspired by author G.K. Marche. We see G.K., mostly in flashback scenes as she finishes her first book and struggles to survive a relationship with another woman, Natalie, in the ’60s. In present day, we also see the struggles of surviving a relationship- a platonic one, a same sex one, and a male/female one. Each character has stand-out moments that make you think he or she is the core of the story. There’s no right answer as each one is as important as the next.
It’s hard to talk about everything that draws these characters together without giving away some of the show’s secrets. Though some of the coincidences seem stretched, they are also real in a “you can’t make this stuff up” type of way. The world is small and we really are all connected, sometimes just like the ways we witness in How to Catch Creation.
The rotating set is perfect for the story and helps weave the characters and plot together. It was designed by Jason Sherwood who most recently worked on the set for RENT Live on FOX. In some scenes, we see all of the characters at once, as they revolved around one another in a literal and physical sense. Each character or couple goes about their lives independently, yet still somehow everyone flows together.
How to Catch Creation really is unlike anything you have ever seen before or will see again. It’s so relatable and unique at the same time. We are all trying to create something- love, inspiration, life, a connection, a legacy. It’s the how that makes us all different…but still connected. Though it’s a new show and is set in 2014, it has a timeless feel. These characters, plots, and their struggles could have taken place at anytime, in any decade. I look forward to seeing it again many years from now to see how much remains the same or even what small details may have been changed to reflect the word we’ll be living in by then.
The Philadelphia Theatre Company’s commitment to producing female, trans, and non-binary voices each year began this season with How to Catch Creation, which is also their final show of the season. Each season, PTC plans to produce a show from the Kilroys, a group of playwrights and producers in Los Angeles who are taking action to end underrepresentation of female and trans playwrights in American theater.” The yearly Kilroys List recommends unproduced shows as a tool for theatre’s to use when looking for new works
For more information on How to Catch Creation and to purchase tickets, visit the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s website. The show will be at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Broad Street until April 14th before heading to Baltimore. Next season’s Kilroys List section is The Wolves. You can see the lineup for Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 19-20 season and read more about each show here.