Theater is back in full swing in the Little City with both Creative Cauldron and NOVA Nightsky Theater premiering new plays this weekend.
NOVA Nightsky Theater is new to the city, with its first play, “Picnic,” taking place last year. However, co-founders Jaclyn Robertson and Ward Kay have managed to bring yet another exceptional play to the stage.
Their newest play, “Leaving Bedrooms” was written by Kay. Set in five different bedrooms, this story takes viewers through the highs and lows of romance, from breakups to dating apps and finding the person you were meant to be with all along.
The cast of characters is small but mighty with just four actors stepping onto the stage. This seems to be a trend across many local theater groups as shows come back for the first time since the pandemic began. (Although the Playbill notes that the play takes place specifically in a “non-Covid present”).
Brandon Benitez first takes the stage as his character Marcus in a scene set immediately after a breakup with his longtime girlfriend. His friend Eric, played by Michael Angeloni, appears in an attempt to help reconcile Marcus with Jen but ultimately they both see that the breakup was for the best and Eric begins to question his own relationship with his fiance.
Benitez’s acting draws the viewer in from the second he steps on stage. As Valentine’s Day approaches and we see signs of love all around us, this scene reminds us that it isn’t all sunshine and roses and things work out the way that they’re supposed to.
We next see Marcus trying out dating apps for the first time ever with the help of Liz, Eric’s ex-fiance, played by Whitney Perez. If you’ve never used a dating app before, consider yourself lucky, but as someone who has been on Tinder, Bumble and Hinge with a variety of different interactions, I think the play did a great job of explaining dating online in the modern world even for those who have never downloaded a dating app before.
The next scene shows Marcus with a Tinder hookup named Heather, played by Lindsey June, where an interesting conversation around sex work and the adult entertainment industry comes into play, While this wasn’t something I expected when coming into the performance, I found it incredibly interesting to see play out as these topics still remain quite taboo even in 2022.
In the interest of revealing as little as possible, the play ended in a quite satisfying way that shows us sometimes the thing we want the most has been right in front of us the entire time.
Overall, I think this was a wonderful second performance for NOVA Nightsky and I’m so thankful I got to see it before it debuts this Friday!
Having each scene set in a different bedroom allows for a sense of intimacy with the characters that the audience might not have in a different setting. Set in the present day, we can also see the highs and lows of modern dating with the popularization of hookup and dating apps. I also appreciated the added layer of including a conversation on sex work.
This play is running for a short time so make sure to grab your tickets and see this original play while you can! Performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday the 11th, Saturday the 12th, Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th.
This play includes strong language and sexual situations so it is intended for mature audiences. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at novanightskytheater.com/box-office. NOVA Nightsky Theater is located at 1057 W. Broad St.