Press Release: Love, Lies and Taxidermy: Inis Nua Presents American Premiere of Offbeat Comedy and Love Story
Love, Lies and Taxidermy by Alan Harris will warm up the winter months at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake (302 South Hicks Street). This offbeat comedy celebrates love, hope and lifting the ordinary into the magical. As The Guardian said, “…Harris spins a piece of very funny popular theatre about the need for dreams, seizing the initiative when all seems lost and bringing people together”.
Love, Lies and Taxidermy opens on Friday, February 16 at 8:00 pm, with previews on Wednesday, February 14 and February 15 at 7:00 pm. Love, Lies and Taxidermy runs for a total of 15 performances, through March 4, 2017. All shows are at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street. South Hicks Street runs along the side of The Drake apartment building at 1512 Spruce Street. Love, Lies and Taxidermy is also part of the debut of Philly Theatre Week.
Seventeen-year-old Valentyn can’t decide which is worse—the teenage anguish of his unfulfilled love for fellow student Ashley or the dire predicaments of both their parents. Valentyn’s Polish father can’t convince his Welsh wife that they are still married and Ashley’s dad is deep in debt with a failing ice cream truck business. It doesn’t help matters that they are stuck in Merthyr Tydfil, their struggling hometown . If only they had some money! Ashley could pay off her father’s debts, and Valentyn could send his parents on a cruise to rekindle their love. They’ve considered registering as subjects at a nearby medical research facility to raise some cash, but Ashley is plotting a more desperate move with a would-be filmmaker. Earnest and smitten, Valentyn is determined to stop her from a sudsy soft porn fate. Can he save the girl and win the day? With help from unlikely quarters and a few stuffed, er, restored animals thrown into the mix, Love, Lies and Taxidermy is a hilarious, endearing picture of young love and middle-aged longing, brought to life in a claustrophobic but idyllic town in Wales.
Many new plays from the UK are reflecting the new faces in the country—this sweet romantic comedy features half-Welsh, half-Polish teenager Valentyn watching the assimilation struggles of his Polish father while dealing with his own lovelorn adventures. This was one of the aspects of the play that intrigued Inis Nua Artistic Director Tom Reing. But the real attraction for him was that Love, Lies and Taxidermy was suffused with a love of the movies: “Movies are an important part of the play. The language is cinematic in its description, reflecting how movies permeate our collective culture. People today reference movie characters more than literary ones. Also, going to the movies is communal but becomes deeply personal when you surrender to the story. The lights go dark in a room full of people who then have a one-on-one relationship with the screen. Movies with their stories preserved on celluloid and in wide distribution make for a collective experience.”
Reing was also quick to point out: “When I saw this play in Edinburgh, the only word that describes how I came out of the theatre was ‘joyous’. Love, Lies and Taxidermy is an utterly charming play filled with quirky characters and teens falling for each other while trying to solve their parents’ problems. It also puts a town in Wales under a microscope to show the tenderness, the glee, the unity, and the jubilation that any community can have.”
Love, Lies and Taxidermy was was co-produced by the theatre companies Paines Plough, Sherman Cymrua Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatr Clwyd production and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. Winner of the Judges’ Award at the 2015 Bruntwood Prize, Alan Harris is also a librettist and writer for radio. Inis Nua is also happy to announce that he will be in Philadelphia for the opening week of the production. Harris will be doing a post-show talk on February 21.
Artistic Director Tom Reing directs Love, Lies and Taxidermy, which stars Inis Nua newcomers Francesca Piccioni (Mary Stuart, Philadelphia Artists Collective) and Seth Reichgott (New Jerusalem, Lantern Theater Company) as well as Joseph Teti, who had a breakout performance in the Inis Nua/Drexel University co-production of Dublin by Lamplight last year. Alex Donnelly is Production Manager and Stage Manager. Chris Haig will handle the set design, and Avista Custom Theatrical Services provides the props. Zach McKenna (The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Leper + Chip) returns to Inis Nua for sound design, with lighting design handled by Amanda Jensen (Spine, Radiant Vermin, The Swallowing Dark). Barrymore Best Supporting Actress nominee (Radiant Vermin) Eleni Delopoulos is switching it up as Costume Designer.
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ABOUT INIS NUA THEATRE COMPANY
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.
To date, Inis Nua has produced one world premiere, seventeen American premieres and twelve Philadelphia premieres. Our 2017-2018 season boasts three American premieres. Inis Nua Theatre Company has been the recipient of grants from the William Penn Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Independence Foundation, the Samuel S Fels Fund, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, and the Virginia Brown Martin Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation. Inis NuaTheatre has also had eight playwrights visit during production of their shows.