-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Arden Theatre Company is presenting one of the hottest shows in American Theatre this season. The Arden is excited to welcome audiences back to the Arcadia Stage and into the world of the Philadelphia premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s. Clyde’s, the most produced show in the country this season, runs January 26-March 5. Opening Night is Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m. Celebrated theatre artist Malika Oyetimein returns to The Arden to direct this glance at the choices we make. Oyetimein directed August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned in the 2019 season. All performances will be on the Arcadia Stage at the Arden. Tickets start at $28 and are available online at www.ardentheatre.org, by phone at 215.922.1122, or in person at the box office at The Arden Theatre Company at 40 N. 2nd Street.
“Clyde’s is a show of this moment,” said Oyetimein. “Clyde’s is a show that deals with people who are stuck. People who are stuck in an uncertain point in time – where they must find the strength to make a difficult choice. This is the moment we are all in. We are coming out of a situation where we were all stuck and we have the choice to shape our future. Do we have the bravery to be better? Do we have faith and will we do the work to create a better tomorrow?”
Just outside of Reading, PA, a truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at redemption as they find purpose and inspiration in their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich. The regional premiere of the TONY-nominated play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nottage, Clyde’s is connected to Nottage’s research in Reading. When Nottage went to the Berks County city to research Sweat, her play about struggling blue collar workers, she also spoke with many people who were trying to resurrect their lives after leaving prison. So, while the characters in Clyde’s work a dreary, repetitive job, they dream of a better future… and a better sandwich. In an interview, Nottage said the comedy is about both mindfulness and the creative process. “A sandwich is very simple, but you can assemble it in such a way that makes those flavor combinations quite complicated,” she explains. “And I like to think of that as a metaphor for what we do as artists.”
The New York Times said about the play. “We are living in Greek times… The systems that control our lives—institutional racism, predatory capitalism, the prison-industrial complex—seem as powerful and implacable as gods. What can humans do about fate, [other] playwrights suggest, but submit to it and hope to preserve the story?… But Nottage’s delightful play, Clyde’s…dares to flip the paradigm. Though it’s still about dark things, including prison, drugs, homelessness and poverty, it somehow turns them into bright comedy.”
Tiffany Barrett returns to the Philadelphia stage as Clyde, the tough owner of the sandwich shop. Her employees are played by: Walter DeShields as Montrellous, J Hernandez as Rafael, Kishia Nixon as Letitia, and Brian Cowden as Jason. DeShields, Hernandez, and Cowden are returning to The Arden. Nixon is making her Arden debut.
Oyetimein directs. Her design team is set to create the tight kitchen where the play takes place. Kyu Shin is the Set Designer. J. Dominic Chacon is the Lighting Designer. Ilycia Buffaloe is the Costume Designer. Stephon Dorsey is the Sound Designer. Alec E. Ferrell is the Stage Manager. Taylor J. Mitchell is the Assistant Director.