Mind games ma­nip­u­late fam­ily fight­ing for sur­vival

En­sem­ble Theatre presents ‘And Things That Go Bump in the Night’

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - ARTS - STAFF RE­PORT

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.

KYLE DAG­NAN PHOTO

Ja­cob Moore, fore­ground, plays Clarence and Joseph Watts is Sigfrid in “And Things That Go Bump in the Night.”

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