Challenge Your Sense of Humor with 'Gloria' at Dramashop
Friday, Feb. 15
In this day and age, it takes a special kind of script — and a director with a vision — to leave audiences laughing during a show that involves workplace violence as a plot point. Thankfully, for Erie arts enthusiasts, director Jessica Flock plans to do just that with her take on Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Gloria, starting at Dramashop later this week.
"Gloria interested me primarily because, in its first act, it seems like a rote, but interesting, office dramedy," says Flock. "Then, without giving away the twist, it takes a sharp turn into a very different show. The script is well-suited for a stage reading because the text is strong and captivating, even without staging and extensive costumes."
Gloria takes place in Manhattan, where a group of up-and-coming writers are growing increasingly disillusioned with their office jobs. When an argument over an opportunistic feature gets interrupted by an unfathomable act of violence, the survivors are left to cope with their traumatic experience — and argue over who gets to tell the story.
"I think a massive part of the show is centered on the still-relevant 24-hour news cycle and our culture's obsession with constantly retreading tragedies, making heroes of villains, and insistently looking for new material to absorb about these events," says Flock. "I'd like audience members to leave the show with plenty to talk about, and perhaps debate, on their way home.
Originally opening Off-Broadway at the Manhattan-based Vineyard Theater in 2015, Gloria was met with glowing reviews, which referred to the show as "whip-smart satire" and Jacobs-Jenkins himself as "thoughtful and provocative." It also received multiple nominations in the 2016 Lucille Lortel Awards, Drama League Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Outer Critics Circle. Now, Flock is bringing the production to Erie's own Dramashop with an all-star cast, including Zachery Hoffman, Monica Harden, Megan Hamm, Pamela Perron, Matthew Symmons, and JJ Hodges. When it comes to must-see shows within Erie's theater community, there's never been a production quite like Gloria. — Aaron Mook
Fridays and Saturdays Feb. 15 - 23, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. // 1001 State Street, Suite 210 // admission by donation // dramashop.org