Press Release Philadelphia Company Presents Off-Broadway Smash Small Mouth Sounds
Philadelphia Theatre Company presents the Ars Nova production of the Obie Award winning play Small Mouth Sounds, written by Bess Wohl and directed by Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin (Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812). In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six wildy dissimilar runaways from city life embark on a week-long silent retreat. Guided by an unseen guru and pledging a vow of silence, these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd. Both contemplative and funny, Small Mouth Sounds is a cleverly conceived and sharp observation of the pursuit of wellness and the achingly human need to connect. Small Mouth Sounds will preview on March 13 and opens on March 14, 2018. The show will run for 24 performances through April 1, 2018 at Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad Street). Tickets are on sale starting at $25 at philatheatreco.org, at the box-office, or by calling 215-985-0420.
“Philadelphia Theatre Company is eager to present this beautifully conceived play at a time when many of us are feeling a bit adrift,” said PTC Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. “Finding peace and balance in the chaos of life is a challenge we all share. The authentic characters created by playwright Bess Wohl and director Rachel Chavkin are people that we can all see bits of ourselves in.”
In Small Mouth Sounds, six wildly disparate urbanites embark on a week-long silent retreat. In a world where we are all plugged in and constantly on the go, the group gives up their cell phones and electronic devices as they try to escape from it all. Under the watchful eye of an off-stage guru, these city-dwellers find out if staying quiet can bring about true inner peace. As the week goes on, and they struggle to meditate while clumsily fighting their most primal of urges, they learn that silence can sometimes be golden. It can also be funny, frustrating, erotic, comforting, and profoundly passive-aggressive.
This acclaimed new comedy is penned by Drama Desk Award-winner Bess Wohl, who also wrote Continuity (The Goodman Theatre New Stages); American Hero, Barcelona (LA Ovation Award nomination); Touched; In; Cats Talk Back; and the original musical Pretty Filthy in collaboration with Michael Friedman and The Civilians (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Musical).
In an interview in San Francisco about Small Mouth Sounds, Wohl said, “A friend and colleague of mine noted that every time an audience goes to a play, whatever the play, they’re expected to sit and be quiet—essentially, they’re on a silent retreat. My hope is that the play creates a sense of community for the audience and that they’ve participated in an active experience together. On another level, that same sense of participation is also embedded in the way audiences are encouraged to watch this play: you have to sit forward and become a detective, actively engaging with the storytelling, or else you could miss something. It’s been a joy to see audiences sit forward and take pleasure in that element of the experience.”
Small Mouth Sounds is directed by Rachel Chavkin, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2017 for Best Direction of a Musical for her work on Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Cultural Weekly in Los Angeles hailed Chavkin’s staging as masterful.
Chavkin directs an acclaimed ensemble cast that challenge themselves by going beyond the basic spoken tenants of their craft to artfully communicate in non-traditional ways on stage. The cast includes Connor Barrett, Brad Heberlee, Edward Chin-Lyn, Orville Mendoza, Brenna Palughi, Socorro Santiago, and Cherene Snow. PTC is thrilled to welcome Snow and Mendoza back to Philadelphia Theatre Company. Snow wowed audiences as Dr. A. Elizabeth “Bessie” Delaney in Having Our Say (2016-17). Mendoza, who was featured in the musical Found (2016-17), also returns to PTC.
The creative team is rounded out by Scenic Designer Laura Jellineck and Costume Designer Tilly Grimes. Lighting Designer Mike Inwood returns to PTC with Small Mouth Sounds. PTC audiences last saw his work on Rizzo (2016-17). Stowe Nelson is the Sound Designer, Noah Mease the Props Designer and Andrew Schneider is the Video Designer.
“This intimate play is perfect for our space and we can’t wait to share its fascinating connection with our audiences,” continued Price. “There is humor, grace and a ‘choreography’ to the performances that leaves you feeling deeply connected.”
Small Mouth Sounds is earning raves across the country. The Mercury News said, “In a world that constantly barrages us with everything from deafening booms to incessant beeps and pings, hearing nothing at all for long stretches of time feels quite radical. Bess Wohl’s off-Broadway play, a comedy of mindfulness exquisitely directed by Rachel Chavkin … exploits the subversive power of stillness in our age of manic multitasking.”
The New York Times said, “Small Mouth Sounds, a quiet gem of a play …with all its wit, compassion and sparkle fully intact. It takes place at a weeklong spiritual retreat where silence is enjoined, although Ms. Wohl’s ingenuity and the sympathetic direction of Rachel Chavkin allow us to read the bleeding hearts of the characters with a lucidity that no amount of dialogue could improve upon. … it’s heartening to renew acquaintance with a play that leaves you moved, refreshed and, yes, maybe even a little enlightened.”
Tickets for Small Mouth Sounds are on sale now for $25 to $69. Ticket info is available by visiting http://philadelphiatheatrecomp
PTC’s 2017-2018 season is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Dranoff Properties, Center City Film & Video, and American Airlines, the official airline of Philadelphia Theatre Company.
2018-2019 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT
On February 20, Philadelphia Theatre Company will announce the 2018-2019 season with new subscriptions and renewals available by phone and with an on-site subscription Concierge at the theatre throughout the run of Small Mouth Sounds.
“Small Mouth Sounds is the perfect capstone on our exciting year,” said Price. “We can’t wait to share the news of our new season and will also be sharing the details of both our subscription and membership availability.”
ABOUT PLAYWRIGHT AND DIRECTOR
Bess Wohl (Playwright) Bess Wohl’s plays include Small Mouth Sounds (Top Ten of 2015 in The New York Times, The Guardian, New York Post, and others, Best of 2016 in New York Magazine and others); Continuity (The Goodman Theatre New Stages); American Hero, Barcelona (LA Ovation Award nomination); Touched; In; Cats Talk Back; and the original musical Pretty Filthy in collaboration with Michael Friedman and The Civilians (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Musical). Her work has been produced or developed at Second Stage, Ars Nova, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Geffen Playhouse and many others. She is the recipient of the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater” and the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. Bess also writes for film and television and has developed projects for HBO, ABC, USA, Disney, Paramount and others.
Rachel Chavkin (Director) is a director, writer and dramaturg, as well as the artistic director of Brooklyn-based company the TEAM (www.theteamplays.org), whose unique collaborative process was the subject of a documentary. Selected work: Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (Ars Nova, Kazino, A.R.T., Broadway), Marco Ramirez’s The Royale (Old Globe, LCT), Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova/Off-Broadway/national tour), Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown (NYTW), Anne Washburn’s Iphigenia in Aulis (CSC), and multiple collaborations with Taylor Mac including judy’s extravaganza The Lily’s Revenge, Act 2 (HERE). The TEAM’s work has been seen worldwide, including at the Public Theater, PS122, UK’s National Theatre and Royal Court, the National Theatre of Scotland and festivals across Europe, Australia, and Asia. NYTW Usual Suspect. Winner of 3 Obie Awards, Drama Desk, Elliot Norton & IRNE awards, multiple Lucille Lortel nominations, twice nominated for the Doris Duke Impact Award, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction for her work on Great Comet. She and Comet Dave Malloy are recipients of the 2017 Smithsonian Award for Ingenuity.
FULL PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Tuesday, March 13, 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 14, 2:00pm
Opening Night, Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00pm
Thursday, March 15 8:00pm
Friday, March 16, 8:00pm
Saturday, March 17, 2:00pm
Saturday, March 17 8:00pm
Sunday, March 18, 3:00pm
Tuesday, March 20, 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 21, 1:00pm
Wednesday, March 21, 7:00pm
Thursday, March 22, 8:00pm
Friday, March 23, 8:00pm
Saturday, March 24, 2:00pm
Saturday, March 24, 8:00pm
Sunday, March 25, 3:00pm
Tuesday, March 27, at 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 28 at 1:00pm
Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00pm
Thursday, March 29, 8:00pm
Friday, March 30, 8:00pm
Saturday, March 31, 2:00pm
Saturday, March 31, 8:00pm
Sunday, April 1, 3:00pm
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.
Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. PTC has received more than 180 nominations and 53 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.