‘Uncanny Valley’ plays in New York
59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, artistic director; Peter Tear, executive producer; Brian Beirne, managing director) welcomes Contemporary American Theater Festival with the New York premiere of ‘Uncanny Valley,’ written by Thomas Gibbons and directed by Tom Dugdale. UNCANNY VALLEY began performances on Thursday, Oct. 2 for a limited engagement through Sunday, Oct. 26. Press opening is Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7:15 p.m. The performance schedule is Tuesday Thursday at 7:15 p.m.; Friday at 8:15 p.m.; Saturday at 2:15 and 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:15 and 7:15 p.m. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org.
Meet Julian, one body part at a time. Created by a life-extension laboratory, Julian’s sole purpose is to receive the consciousness of a dying billionaire. Claire, a neuroscientist, is tasked with teaching him to be human. A modern-day Frankenstein tale, ‘Uncanny Valley’ travels to the ethical heart of humankind’s bid to outrace mortality. Inspired by the sentient robot Bina48, ‘Uncanny Valley’ premiered as a National New Play Network rolling world premiere in July 2014 at Contemporary American Theater Festival, where it was called a “riveting exploration of robotics and the relationship between the creator and the creation” by DC Theatre Scene.
The cast features Alex Podulke (Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play; Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte Theater) as Julian and Barbara Kingsley (August: Osage County national tour) as Claire.
Thomas Gibbons (playwright) is playwright-in-residence at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, which has premiered eight of his plays: Pretending to America, 6221, Axis Sally, Black Russian, Bee-luther-hatchee, Permanent Collection, A House With No Walls, and Silverhill. Other plays include The Exhibition and Homer. His plays have also been seen at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, off-off-Broadway at Blue Heron Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Florida Stage, Unicorn Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, New Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Kirk Douglas Theatre/Center Theater Group, Aurora Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, and many others. He is the recipient of seven playwriting fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Roger L. Stevens Award from The Fund for New American Plays, the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Permanent Collection was the pilot selection of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund, and A House With No Walls was a subsequent selection. Both plays, along with Bee-luther-hatchee, are published by Playscripts.
Tom Dugdale (director) has directed major productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, regionally at Actors Theater of Louisville and La Jolla Playhouse, and internationally at the Hungarian Theater of Cluj in Romania. He directed Jeff Augustin’s Cry Old Kingdom at the 2013 Humana Festival of New American Plays and developed Alex Lewin’s The Envelope at La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Works Series. Tom received a 2012 Princess Grace Award with La Jolla Playhouse, where he developed and line-produced the inaugural Without Walls Festival, for which he staged a site-specific Our Town. He is co-founder of ‘The Trip,; a San Diego-based company presenting new theater in unconventional spaces. Tom lectures in undergraduate acting and graduate directing at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). M.F.A., UCSD; B.A., Dartmouth College.