Theatre Exile celebrates South Philadelphia with the world premiere of playwright R. Eric Thomas’s The Ever Present

-Courtesy of En Route Marketing

This fall, South Philadelphia-based theater company Theatre Exile will present a limited,  outdoor world premiere of Barrymore Award-winning playwright and best-selling author R. Eric  Thomas‘s original script, The Ever Present. The free, 10-show engagement will be performed at  five South Philadelphia parks from September 11 through September 19 and feature a cast of local Philadelphia actors, including Kimie Muroya, Pax Ressler, Eleni Delopoulos, and Cathy  Simpson, along with Barrymore Award-winning director Brett Ashley Robinson. 

The Ever Present, a fantastical, family-friendly new play written for the young at heart, centers  on a South Philly vacant lot that turns out to be more than meets the eye. Enter Pashmina  Paredes (Kimie Muroya), a neighborhood resident collecting petition signatures to prevent the  city from selling the lot to a devious developer, Vernal Belch (Pax Ressler). She quickly learns  her neighbors all have a special connection to the house that once stood there. Follow a cast of  hilarious, Philadelphia-inspired characters for a mystery adventure that spans decades and  spins a constellation of awe-inspiring stories. The Ever Present asks the question: “How can we  share and preserve our collective history as the world continues to change?” 

“I lived in South Philly for over a decade, and I was always enchanted by the vivid rhythms,  sights, sounds, and aromas that make this neighborhood unique,” said R. Eric Thomas. “When  Theatre Exile approached me about working together, I knew that South Philly was the perfect  backdrop for a magical realist story about community. As a family-friendly tale, The Ever  Present will give audiences a glimpse into how residents of all ages can impact the history and  magic of a neighborhood.” 

Theatre Exile will present 10 free shows during The Ever Present’s six-date run at various times  and locations. The 60-minute production will be performed at five different parks throughout South Philadelphia: Columbus Square Park, Dickinson Square Park, Wharton Square, Stephen  Girard Park, and Hawthorne Park. These sites were selected to celebrate the neighborhood  that Theatre Exile calls home. 

The Ever Present is a fun show that embraces our idiosyncrasies and highlights the beautiful  diversity that makes up South Philadelphia,” said Theatre Exile’s Producing Artistic Director,  Deborah Block. “If we truly want to create a theater company that supports the community, we  must step up and find ways to make art accessible to our neighbors.” 

The show was commissioned in 2020 as part of a community engagement effort called Out of  Exile, which is connected to Exile’s three programmatic pillars: new play development,  education, and professionally produced, fully-staged plays. The Ever Present was first introduced to audiences through a virtual reading in May 2021 for
Studio X-hibition, Exile’s new play development program.

Since 2010, Studio X-hibition has allowed local playwrights to present live readings of scripts  while they are in progress for an audience of peers and avid theater fans. These readings  provide an opportunity for playwrights to see their work performed for a live audience and  receive constructive critiques from their community. Many plays that have gone through the  new play development programs have been produced by Theatre Exile or other theater  companies. 

For each show, guests are invited to bring blankets and lawn seating. The Ever Present was  made possible thanks to funding from The William Penn Foundation’s New Audiences New  Places Grant, and National New Play Network’s Bridge Program Grant. More details can be  found by clicking HERE

September 11, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Columbus Square (1200 Wharton St)
September 12, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Dickinson Square (1600 E. Moyamensing Ave)  
September 15, 5:30 p.m. at Wharton Square (2300 Wharton St) 
September 17, 5:30 p.m. at Stephen Girard Park (2101 Shunk St)
September 18, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. – Columbus Square (1200 Wharton St)
September 19, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. – Hawthorne Park (750 S 12th St)

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