This gritty, gripping, and shockingly funny world premiere tosses audiences into a revolutionary Philadelphia court designed by a passionate group of women. Every day these lawyers, judges, parole officers and staff members work to transform the lives of women repeatedly convicted for prostitution. In her daring and vital new play Project Dawn, playwright Karen Hartman probes the thin lines between freedom and slavery, activism and obsession, for women on both sides of the law. Inspired by Hartman’s extensive, first-hand research inside Philly’s real-life court system, and cast with seven actresses who play multiple characters, this production represents the first world premiere to emerge from the acclaimed New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program at People’s Light.
“We launched New Play Frontiers (NPF) to bring nationally-renowned playwrights to People’s Light to be inspired by the stories of our region, and create works that explore our American identity,” says Producing Director Zak Berkman. “Karen’s play more than fulfills this aspiration. She illustrates the lives of these women, our neighbors, with unflinching empathy and humor.”
People’s Light Artistic Director Abigail Adams directs Project Dawn, a play that speaks to her. “The material gnaws at your heart and inspires you to action, whether your politics are to the left or to the right,” she says. “Karen’s beautifully observed characters, her deep respect for them, and her ready wit bridge the gap between what audiences currently know about commercial sexual exploitation and what they could know – what is actually happening in their own backyards.
“But Project Dawn is in no way a political treatise,” Adams says. “It’s a poem—sometimes tender, sometimes scathing—carved out of a gifted artist’s imagination, and inspired by the specificity of place.”
As the first produced NPF script, Project Dawn features a dynamic, versatile team of performers and production veterans. The cast includes company members Melanye Finister (All My Sons, Fences) and Claire Inie-Richards (I and You, Sense & Sensibility), long-time guest artist Janis Dardaris (Little Foxes, Playhouse Creatures), and new collaborators Yvette Ganier, Susanna Guzman, Antoinette LaVecchia, and Danielle Skraastad.
Join the cast for AfterWORDS, an informal Q&A after Thursday evening performances on June 15, 22, 29 and July 6 and Sunday matinee performances on June 18, 25, July 2 & 9.
People’s Light is working with many community partners to develop programming and events for social workers, emergency nurses, anti-trafficking coalitions, law enforcement, attorneys, judges, and civil servants. For more details, please email Marcie Bramucci at email@example.com.
People’s Light will present Open Caption performances of Project Dawn on June 28 at 2pm & 7:30pm and July 2 at 2pm.
Project Dawn previews on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30pm, Friday, June 9 at 7:30pm, Saturday, June 10 at 8 pm, and Sunday, June 11 at 2 & 7 pm. The play opens on Wednesday, June 14 and runs through Sunday, July 9.
Standard single tickets start at $38. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.