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photo by Robert Hakalski
South Philadelphia-based theater company Theatre Exile (1340 S 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147) is proud to announce its 2022/23 season, including one world premiere by Philadelphia-based Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames. The shows reflect the company’s 26-year tradition of producing provocative plays that explore the complexities of the human condition. Theatre Exile’s artistic team selected compelling stories about characters in search of family – both biological and chosen – that contain a sense of the Philadelphia grit and passion.
“Every year, Theatre Exile’s artistic team seeks out scripts that share timely stories and shine a light on our human journey; stories that make us think and feel,” said Deborah Block, Producing Artistic Director at Theatre Exile. “This year, we are focusing on the challenges and joys in domestic life, namely how family can form or change at pivotal points throughout our lives. While it’s clearly spoken about in Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play, and reflected again in James Ijames’ Abandon, each production this season will explore the concept of ‘finding our pack.’”
Theatre Exile’s 2022/23 season begins with the Philadelphia premiere of Wolf Play by South Korean playwright Hansol Jung. The show follows Jeenu, an adopted six-year-old South Korean boy in search of his “wolf pack.” His adoptive American father, Peter, becomes overwhelmed when he and his wife have a new baby and decides to “re-home” Jeenu. Enter Ash, a promising non-binary boxer, and their wife, Robin, who adopt the boy after finding an ad on the internet. Peter is initially eager to send Jeenu to his new home until he discovers he would be growing up without a dad. Together, Ash and Robin must navigate parenthood and Peter’s sudden hesitancy while Ash prepares to make their pro boxing debut. Jung’s story examines the ways a family comes together and the lengths people will go to defend their own.
The 2022/23 season will conclude with the world premiere of Abandon by written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director, and performer James Ijames. In Abandon, Joshua is a young man that’s recently been kicked out of his house by his mercurial older brother Chris. Desperate for food, he ends up breaking into the home of Luella, an elderly woman haunted by the ghost of her late son. Luella catches Joshua in the act but, instead of calling the police, decides to take pity and allows him to spend the night to escape the winter cold outside. As the night unfolds, these two lonely souls forge an unlikely bond as their respective pasts are brought to light.
Abandon was developed in part through Theatre Exile’s New Play Development program Studio X-hibition, which was formally established in 2010 as a series of script-in-hand readings of plays in development by local playwrights. Professional actors are cast to bring their words to life for an audience of their peers and theater fans. These readings are part of a year-long development process and allow playwrights to see their work performed for a live audience then receive feedback from their community. Ijames originally debuted Abandon through Studio X-hibition during Theatre Exile’s 2021/22 season.
In addition to Wolf Play and Abandon, Theatre Exile will present a soon-to-be-announced winter production slated for February 2023.
For the safety and comfort of patrons, Theatre Exile will require audiences and staff to wear masks and show proof of vaccination for all performances.
Wolf Play by Hansol Jung / Directed by Deborah Block
October 27 to November 20
TBD Winter Show
February 2 to February 26, 2023
Abandon by Pulitzer Prize-Winner James Ijames / Directed by Brett Ashley Robinson
April 27 to May 21, 2023
Subscription sales are also available online, with packages starting at just $45. You can also purchase tickets online or by calling the Theatre Exile box office at 215-218-4022. For more information, visit theatreexile.org, and follow Theatre Exile on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.