Mind games manipulate family fighting for survival
Ensemble Theatre presents ‘And Things That Go Bump in the Night’
In keeping with this season’s theme of family and how it is defined by society, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will open “And Things That Go Bump in the Night” on Friday, Sept. 14, for six performances over two weekends.
In the play by Terrence McNally, a corrupt society has forced a family into the isolated confines of their basement, where they manipulate each other in an effort for what appears to be survival.
“Certainly an obscure title and rarely produced, but penned by one of the most prolific American playwrights still living,” says Garry Lee Posey, Ensemble’s founding executive director.
“We enjoy introducing theater audiences of Chattanooga to theater they might not get to experience living so far away from New York, D.C. or Chicago, where the exposure is vastly different.”
“He ( McNally) is a favorite playwright of mine, and several of the plays and musicals he has written librettos for end up regularly on our short lists,” says Christy Gallo, ETC co- artistic director. “The way McNally approaches the family unit in ‘ Bump’ and the absurdo- reality of the context of the situation were extremely appealing.”
The story centers around Ruby, a faded opera diva, who refuses to accept reality and lives in a past of glories and memories while trying to steer a family through trying times. Lakme and Sigfrid, Ruby’s children, struggle with the complexities of sibling rivalry and teenage angst mixed with uncertainty and a fear they have a hard time admitting.
Rounding out the family are Fa and Granfa. Then add to the mix Clarence, a nightly invited guest from the outside who has a responsibility for the survival of this family, but is unaware.
Making his directorial debut with ETC is Kyle Dagnan.
“It is a great script that forces you to go on a roller coaster of emotions. I really hope that the audience leaves asking questions that will lead to an awareness and an acceptance,” Dagnan says of the play.
Tori Mattison plays Ruby. The cast also includes Taryn Bracher as Lakme, Joseph Watts as Sigfrid, Ed Huckabee as Granfa, Jacob Moore as Clarence and Eric “Red” Wyatt as Fa.
Posey notes that shortly after announcing this season’s lineup, ETC received an email from McNally stating he was grateful to hear of this production. As he turns 80 this year, McNally said that this production was an amazing and unexpected birthday present. He credited the success of “Bump” in 1964, even though critics were not favorable of it, as the impetus for his continued career as a playwright.
For more information: www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga. com.
Jacob Moore, foreground, plays Clarence and Joseph Watts is Sigfrid in “And Things That Go Bump in the Night.”