Smith Theater press release

habitatIt’s 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 kids—our kids—are 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 human breath.

Habitat is a powerful play about social issues and personal need, about losing and finding a home.

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). Purchase tickets in advance online.