-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
Inis Nua Theatre presents the American Premiere of FINDING FASSBENDER, a solo show from actor turned playwright Lydia Larson. When Eve gets a promotion, she moves to London in the hopes of having a glamorous big city life. But soon she discovers that being one in 9 million can be pretty lonely. Feeling at her lowest, a lifeline comes to Eve in the form of a letter for her apartment’s former tenant – Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender. Now all Eve has to do is return this letter to the rightful owner! The production will be directed by Barrymore Award-nominated director and Inis Nua Founder and Artistic Director Tom Reing. Previews begin Wednesday, February 9, with opening night on Friday, February 11. The show runs through February 27, 2022 for a total of 15 performances. All performances will take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street. Tickets are $15 – $30. For reservations, visit inisnuatheatre.org.
FINDING FASSBENDER first premiered in 2018 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Pleasance Courtyard. Though a frequent performer at the Fringe, Larson made her debut as a playwright with FINDING FASSBENDER in addition to performing the sole role. In 2019, it had a spot in the London VAULT Festival, again helmed by original director Blythe Stewart and starring Larson. Inis Nua is delighted to bring FINDING FASSBENDER to Philadelphia. Fans of the 2021 Virtual production HOW TO BE BRAVE will love this wild and joyful new play, performed live and in-person.
Reviews for previous production have credited the play for its warmth and humor. Describing the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe production as “a royal gem of a show,” The Wee Review shares that “with a consistently funny script the audience are happy to be taken on the adventure.” Exeunt praises the script saying, “writing is at its strongest when she allows it to go on flights of fantasy, as Eve concocts outlandish identities on the fly in her pursuit of Fassbender,” adding that the monologue is “keenly observed and very funny.” In Broadway Baby, the play was proclaimed “warmly recommended viewing,” in which “a very special story made so by its genuineness and honesty.” Funny Women says, “if you’ve ever found yourself feeling lost and alone in a big city, you’re in for an hour of astonishingly relatable storytelling.”
Loosely based on real events in Larson’s life, FINDING FASSBENDER tells the story of 31-year-old Eve. When she is offered a promotion, Eve uproots from a comfortable life in her small West Midlands borough of Wolverhampton to try her luck in the English Capitol. A “Wulfrunian” at heart, she is unsure if she has what it takes to keep up with the “Londoners.” As she searches to fit in with her new coworkers, she receives an unsuspecting piece of junk mail for Irish Oscar and BAFTA Award Nominated film actor Michael Fassbender, starting her on a journey to make new connections with herself and with the world around her. Eve sets out to return the mail to her humble flat’s now-famous former tenant. It’s the neighborly thing to do! Along the way she attempts to find what she and Michael have in common—besides an address. She sleuths to learn what she can about him and tries out his hobbies and personalities for herself. Eve begins to wonder if the “bigness” and “smallness” of people and places are quite so far apart as she once thought. FINDING FASSBENDER invites audiences to relate to uncertainty in one’s place in the world, struggling with the pull of the big city, and feelings of isolation even when we are not really alone. While a touching journey of self-discovery, FINDING FASSBENDER also brings a lot of laughs. The production poses a particular challenge its sole actress as she portrays the more than 20 different characters she encounter’s and imagines on her mission, including a cameo by Fassbender himself.
Founder and Artistic Director Tom Reing is excited that Inis Nua is presenting this play as an American Premiere, saying, “This play is joyous and funny. I think this is a great play for us at this time.” Reflecting on how this production fits into the company’s season which began with October’s Irish comedy A HOLY SHOW and will conclude in April with FOLK, a play with music, Reing says, “when I chose this season, I chose plays that would make us laugh and feel good about humanity; Finding Fassbender definitely does both!” He is also excited to bring a piece form a from Wolverhampton. “The first part of the play happens in ‘Black Country,’” Reing explains, “A part of England that Americans don’t often think about, let alone watch a play by a native author.”
Playwright Lydia Larson is an actor and playwright originally from Wolverhampton, England. She had been performing for over a decade when she began writing her first play. FINDING FASSBENDER was an idea that she had considered for some time before she was invited to bring it the Vault Festival. She credits her spark to put her ideas on the page to the discoveries she made while performing in the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe in Isley Lynn’s SKIN A CAT. In an interview with “Female First” she explains “I wasn’t fitting in some sort of mould, nor was I expected to. I was encouraged to share ideas, stories and experiences and they were important and valid.” That realization helped bring both her regional identity and voice to life in FINDING FASSBENDER.
ABOUT THE TEAM:
Inis Nua Founder and Artistic Director Tom Reing helms FINDING FASSBENDER, his 33rd mainstage production for the company. Reing has made a career directing Irish and UK theatre in Philadelphia including recent Inis Nua credits A HOLY SHOW; HOW TO BE BRAVE; and THE NIGHT ALIVE. With Inis Nua, he has directed twenty-one American premieres, as well as eleven Philadelphia premieres. Reing was the recipient of an Independence Fellowship in the Arts, a MidAtlantic Arts Fellowship, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship.
Inis Nua welcomes back returning performer Amy Frear as Eve and the range of characters she inhabits in the play. Amy Frear was last seen at Inis Nua as Adele in 2018’s OUR FEW AND EVIL DAYS. She has performed regionally in LOST GIRLS (Theatre Exile), THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (Delaware Shakespeare), THE WHETHARMAN PROJECT (Seattle Repertory Theatre), among others. She is also a filmmaker and has taught at Temple University and the University of the Arts. Frear hold an MFA from University of Washington and lives in West Philadelphia.
Tickets are on sale for $15-$30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting inisnuatheatre.org/tickets. To learn more, please like Inis Nua Theatre Company on Facebook and follow @InisNuaTheatre on Twitter and @inisnuatheatre on Instagram.
Due to continuing concern regarding COVID-19 variants, Inis Nua will require audiences to be fully vaccinated in order to attend indoor performances as part of a new initiative led by Theatre Philadelphia. Venues in the Philadelphia region joining in this streamlined COVID-19 vaccination policy are following in the footsteps of the New York and Chicago theatre sectors who have already implemented these practices. The aim of the policy is to follow local guidelines to ensure the health and safety of audiences and theatre workers and to help audiences determine what is needed to attend theatre. N95 or KN95 certified masks are strongly encouraged.
Audience members with a valid ticket must show proof of vaccination along with photo ID at their time of entry into the venue. For performances of FINDING FASSBENDER, “Fully vaccinated” means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna), or at least 14 days after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Proof of vaccination may be presented as follows: Original Paper Vaccination Card, Electronic Copy, Photocopy, Photo, through the Bindle App.
Inis Nua’s mission is to produce contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales which reflect those cultures’ new identities in today’s world. Inis Nua also seeks to cultivate and produce contemporary, provocative work from American playwrights who deal with the Irish-American, Welsh-American, Scottish-American and Anglo-American experiences.