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Pictured: Janelle Villas
The Gift Theatre has announced the design team and three-person cast for the world premiere of Claire Kiechel’s play PILGRIMS, co-directed by Michael Patrick Thornton and Jessica Thebus, June 2-July 30.
PILGRIMS will feature ensemble members Brittany Burch (Jasmine) and Ed Flynn (Soldier), with guest artist Janelle Villas (Girl). The design team includes Arnel Sancianco (set), Izumi Inaba (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lights), Christopher Kriz (sound), Alexandra Main (props) and John Tovar (fight choreography).
“I think The Gift is one of the best places in the city to do new work,” says Thebus. “An exciting new play like this one requires expansive imagination and absolute commitment to the actor as the heart of an unexpected and powerful emotional story. The Gift has those things, not just in its company but in its ethic.”
According to the company, the futuristic play follows a spacecraft on its way to colonize a newly discovered planet. A soldier and a teenage girl live together in one of the ship’s cabins with only an outdated robot and each other for company. When they are quarantined in their close quarters due to a potential outbreak, they’re forced to explore their traumatic pasts in a dying society.
“When I read Pilgrims, it floored me,” says Thornton. “It looks and behaves like no other play. At The Gift, we believe that great plays make us feel less alone, orient our role in the universe, and maybe—just maybe, if we’re lucky—even provide a space to heal. Pilgrims achieves all of these. ‘How do we heal?’ is the question at its center and, for the quarantined characters sharing a small room aboard a spacecraft, an unavoidable, inevitable one. Claire Kiechel is one of the most exciting playwrights working in America right now. Her voice is singular and her worlds are intoxicating and genuine and true. We’re honored to host her world premiere.”