Theater's Habitat About Teens, Rebellion, Home
one of the most important works written this decade, according
to Ellen W. Kaplan, who directs the Smith production of Habitat,
by Canadian playwright Judith Thompson.
Habitat opens Friday,
Oct. 12, with performances Saturday, Oct. 13, and Thursday
through Saturday, Oct. 18 through 20, at 8 p.m. in Theatre
14, Mendenhall Center.
The play tells the story of
Raine, a troubled teen, and her friend Sparkle, two among
several unwanted children who populate a group home for troubled
youth. The young occupants try to build a community within
their adopted home, even while being shunned by wealthy neighbors.
“Judith Thompson is a brilliant
writer,” says Kaplan. “Her plays are always sharp,
biting, compassionate and extraordinarily insightful. Her
style combines a poetic lyricism with psychological insight
and pointed political perspective."
Raine’s mother has
just died of cancer and she has nowhere else to live. Sparkle
has been in foster homes since he was a child. Lewis, who
runs the home, is canny and full of rage. They are pitted
against a mother and daughter who have a deep rift in their
own fraught relationship.
“Raine is complicated, conflicted, full of yearning,” explains Kaplan. “She
is also vulnerable, passionate, funny and a real fighter. Sparkle is absolutely
hilarious, and between them we see how kids learn to love
each other when they have no one in their lives, and no place left to go. These
unloved by self-involved parents for whom love equates with
money and home is a kind of territory to be defended and enclosed. These kids
build a new home with other kids who have been out on the street, and together
they try to build a real community, a real home. I love seeing how they have
the resiliency and determination to transform the sadness in their lives into
gold, into love.”
Central to Habitat is the relationship
between mothers and daughters, which move on a continuum
from tenderness and love to rejection and contempt. Underlying
it all is the profound connection we all share through the
Habitat is a powerful play about
social issues and personal need, about losing and finding
Tickets for Habitat are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, $3 for
Smith students (with Smith ID—at the Box office only). Thursday,
Oct. 18, is “Dollar Night” for students (at Box office only).