Human Race Theater prepares Dayton premiere of nostalgic ‘Incident’
“I’ve been thinking about Catholic guilt a lot lately,” Perry said. “I was raised Catholic and during my college years I remember having many conversations with my father about the oppression of guilt. He did his best to make me realize that I should ignore the pangs of guilt and just try to trust myself. Easier said than done. I wanted to be a nice girl. So I identify with the narrator of the play, Linda, who is 19 and tries to be a good girl. Don’t we all want to be ‘good’?
Perry’s cast will be led by Dayton native and Muse Machine alum Cecily Dowd as Linda alongside Human Race resident artist Christine Brunner (“26 Pebbles,” “Steel Magnolias”) in the role of matriarch Josephine “Jo” Shea, Mierka. Girten (“Master Class”) as the very liberal Aunt Theresa “Terri” O’Shea, Jason Podplesky (“Sylvia”, “26 Pebbles”) in several roles of patriarch Mike O’Shea, father Lovett and the Parish-occupied Betty Hackenbach, and Columbus native Lizzie Huelskamp (“Annie,” “The Secret Garden”) in her Human Race debut as Becky.
Los Angeles-based Dowd is a recent graduate of Webster University’s Conservatory of Theater Arts with a degree in musical theater. In 2016, while a student at Centerville High School, she memorably appeared at the Loft as PB in the comedy “One Slight Hitch,” also directed by Perry. She is excited to return to a relatable room that resembles her own surroundings and beliefs.
“‘Incident’ has a great ability to connect with audiences today,” Dowd said. “I found so much family chaos and loving actions in my own family. The O’Sheas would do anything to help their own, and it’s fueled by each person, not necessarily pressure from the collective. Linda is also a young activist, who connects with me and many young people now as it has recently been a big part of our formative years as adults. And while she is knowledgeable about feminist power of the 70s, she finds herself stuck in those huge maturing moments that no one can avoid – first love and first scandal.
Additionally, taking on the responsibility of storytelling appeals to Dowd, who also finds encouragement in Forgette’s message of empowering women across generations.
“The storytelling part is definitely a fun, added bonus,” she said. “When I first worked for Margarett Perry, I had the same kind of fourth-wall-breaking narrator or character in ‘One Slight Hitch.’ So it’s kind of like the old version of the character I’ve played before – but in the 70s It was also a big compliment from Margarett to see me in this role with Linda’s depth in her tantrums throughout the play Linda is supported by two women fiercely powerful, her mother and her aunt, who do everything to support her. And, of course, her little sister accompanies her. I am convinced that the focus on older women who help young people, especially young women in crisis, never gets enough attention, but Katie Forgette puts them in the spotlight and honors these mentally and emotionally gifted warriors.
Forgette, who spent most of her life as a professional actress at the Seattle Repertory Theater, was raised Catholic and attended parochial school for 12 years. In addition to being motivated to write the play in tribute to the mothers who volunteered in her parish, nostalgia was an equally important catalyst.
“For people of a certain age, looking back to the 1970s can remind us of all the changes we’ve been through in terms of how we communicate with each other,” Forgette recalled ahead of the play’s recent regional premiere. at the Cincinnati Playhouse at the park. “But a lot of nostalgia also involves the fallibility of memory – and that’s what really fascinates me. How two people can remember the same event so differently. Especially family members.
“I love this piece because it takes us on a journey through Linda’s memory of a very specific time in her life when she was trying to do her best, but felt like she wasn’t enough. good,” Perry added. “And here’s the other thing – it’s hilarious. It’s a piece of memory, and so we witness the events through the perspective of 19-year-old Linda, and it’s filled with all the fear and anxiety of that time in her life. It all starts with her trying to do her mother a favor by telling her little sister about birds and bees. She doesn’t want to do it. But she does. She tries, of course, to be a good girl. Whoops !”
HOW TO GET THERE
What: “Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help”
When: April 14-May 1; Performances are at 8 p.m. April 14-16, April 21-23, and 28-30; 2:17 p.m., April 24 and May 1; and 7 p.m. on April 17, 19, 20, 26 and 27
Or: Loft Theater, 126 N. Main St., Dayton
Tickets: 937-228-3630 or visit humanracetheatre.org
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: The production is recommended for ages 16 and up; The “Sawbuck Sunday” performance is scheduled for April 17 at 7 p.m. with discounted tickets available 90 minutes before the performance for walk-in sales only; Additionally, a “While We’re On It” chat with the cast and crew is scheduled for April 24 after the 2 p.m. matinee.