Up Next: The Do-Gooders
If you've been following our Facebook page, you'll know the Bobcat Players are excited to be hitting the stage once again as part of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival! What you probably don't know is just how long this production has been in the making...
"Last year in the midst of the pandemic, we received 36 scripts from New Works," said Patti Ross, who you surely know as our Artistic Director. "I always feel a bit overwhelmed but also eager to delve in and see what the offerings are like. Jessica Moss' The Do-Gooders was one of our top choices. At the time, I don't think I recognized the relevance. Today, I do. And I feel so fortunate that the Bobcat Players chose to produce this script."
Of course, things look different in 2021 than they did in 2020. The typical New Works Festival performance structure has changed from its usual two-week rotation to one solid weekend of performances for each block of three shows. The Bobcat Players are part of Program A, which performs September 2-5 for a total of five performances, both in person at the Genesius Theater at Duquesne University and online. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here for in-person performances or here for online. You can check out the required safety protocols here and read more about the other productions here.
Under the direction of Shelly Cary, a talented cast of four (J. Daniel Craig, Sydnee Elder, Brandon Linkes, and Caitlin Young) brings to life The Do-Gooders by Jessica Moss. The Do-Gooders is "a humorous yet highly relevant script about the dismal state of the universe and the urgency of four millennials who are trying to 'do good' to preserve the world as we know it," Ross says. Caitlin Young, who plays Beth, said, "Ultimately, for me, the play is about how--especially for social and political issues--you can't just live in your own little world. You have to listen to the people around you and actively engage with different voices and communities, or else you'll get stuck in this cycle because change is not something that happens individually, but when we all come together and uplift each other."
Ross couldn't have summed up the plot of The Do-Gooders better when she said, "What a timely choice! In a world ravaged by a monstrous pandemic, stalked relentlessly by climate change, upended by political divisiveness, this script speaks to all of these immense problems through the voices of a small band of individuals who are trying valiantly to make a difference. The characters are so endearing and frustrating at the same time. The tone is humorous with a dollop of despair. Two couples gathered around a vegan cake baked by downtrodden but talented Syrian refugee women explore the inconsistencies and ironies of a world hurtling toward disaster. Is there a more monstrous enemy than plastic? Is Whole Foods truly unfeeling and tyrannical? Is it irresponsible to bring children into a world plagued by climate change, abject poverty, and irrational politics? Is a vegan diet truly a satisfying option? These questions and many more are pondered in a one-act rife with characters who attack each other in the name of social and moral responsibility. It's such a great choice for the 21st century. "
I attended a rehearsal for The Do-Gooders nearly two weeks ago and immediately felt something else, too. Something that hasn't been mentioned yet: hope. There is something incredibly hopeful about the entirety of this--about holding onto a piece of art that begs to be performed for over a year until the timing is right. About fighting against all odds to assemble a cast from all over the Pittsburgh region to rehearse safely in uncertain times. About a group of characters so determined to affect change that they are willing to make hard choices and fight for it. About a sense of normalcy in a time that is anything but.
With so many different opportunities to see this production, we truly hope you will find a way to join us. Our Quarantine Comedy was almost a year ago now, and we would love your support as we return to the stage in 2021. Young said, "The events of the past year really showed us how important it is to uplift new voices and help others succeed, and New Works is a great opportunity for everyone--playwrights, actors, directors, and more--to show off exactly how much talent is out there. Not only that, but I feel the message of this play will resonate with a lot of people. They'll see themselves in these characters and recognize these conversations and situations. And hopefully, it will remind them of how important it is to come together and have a sense of community with those around you."
Stay tuned for our next blog entry, featuring an interview with the playwright, Jessica Moss!