By Lisa D’Amour
Fire up the grill…and expect fireworks
A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and one of The New York Times top ten plays of 2012! In a suburb of a mid-sized American city, Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life at the deserted house next door and invite their new neighbors Sharon and Kenny over for a cookout. But as this foursome bonds over backyard barbecues, the neighborly connection they find threatens to unravel the lives they’ve built and change them forever. Ecstatic and dangerously funny, Detroit rips up the floorboards to reveal the racing heart under the suburban dream.
Length & Content
Detroit runs 1 hour and 35 minutes without intermission. The play includes strong language and adult situations. Recommended for ages 18 and up.
On a 0-5 Scale (with 5 being high), this play contains:
Sexual Situations: 3
References to drugs, alcohol: 5
Handicap seating limited for this production. Please call to reserve if needed.
Nominated for both a Pulitzer Prize and a Susan Smith Blackburn Award in 2011, Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit is a powerful, funny and honest play that has resonated with audiences in productions in New York, London and cities across North America. A theatrical feast for a talented ensemble of actors, Detroit takes us on a wild ride through adjoining suburban backyards where two very different couples become unlikely friends, both trying to start fresh against some big obstacles. When I read the play in 2010, I was swept up in its terrific language, sense of humor and theatricality. But most of all I was moved by how this intimate story so sharply and accurately took the pulse of our anxious economic times, putting a human face on our stubborn pursuit of the American dream as it shifts beneath their feet. Even though it is not about the recession, it’s a very personal story of middle class people in the midst of it, grappling with the changes, hanging on by their fingernails as financial security slips, and searching for connection, meaning and a new path toward their own American Dream.
“What if two very different couples suddenly became neighbors, and decided to open themselves up to each other?,” D’Amour writes. “Detroit, even with all its strange and startling turns, is ultimately a play about the potential within people to imagine, to discover, to continually unearth secrets about each other and the world. Our means of communication have never been as easy and as far-reaching as they are now, yet we find ourselves more isolated and insulated as ever – how, in this age of endless connectivity, can we find it in ourselves to truly reach beyond our cozy sphere of life and out to others?”
“Both couples are in the lifeboat, and they’re both in a very precarious position,” D’Amour continues. “And I don’t think they would have reached out to each other if they weren’t. If they were completely settled and safe inside their bubbles, there’d be no need for help or new knowledge. But I feel like both sets of couples are craving some kind of new knowledge; it’s almost as if each couple wants to be the other. And so they’re trying to connect, trying to find—in whatever strange and awkward ways—a new path, because neither couple is very satisfied with the path that they’re on.”
The play is set in the “an inner ring suburb of a major American city” – not Detroit. It is in a place that was part of the suburban American Dream of the 1950s – a house, a family, neighbors, safety, community, financial stability. But the Bright Houses subdivision looks different these days: the house next door has been empty for some time. Other homes are vacant or renovated into McMansions, neighbors don’t know each other much anymore, and financial security is evaporating.
“Although the play on its surface looks like a regular, naturalistic play, it reads a little more like a fable. It’s rather stylized, and the setting is not an actual neighborhood in Detroit,” explains the playwright. “When I chose the name, I thought about how…the name of that city vibrates in the American imagination.…that name evokes this kind of iconic anxiety around the crumbling American dream.. But there’s also something at the end of the play that feels like a bubbling up of something new, of potential. It’s the feeling of a cycle of loss that might lead to a rebirth.”
Detroit is truly a story of our times by one of America’s rising star playwrights, and a perfect fit for Horizon’s mission of connecting people, inspiring hope and promoting positive change through outstanding contemporary plays. It also draws on Horizon’s core strength of stretching the skills and talents of a small ensemble of excellent actors. My regular actor collaborator of the past nearly two decades, Carolyn Cook (most recently Horizon’s Time Stands Still) leads a cast of Atlanta’s best professionals. The play’s “fly on the wall” backyard setting is an opportunity for our award-winning designers to create a detailed and slightly surreal suburban world in Horizon’s intimate space.
In writing Detroit, D’Amour was influenced by watching her dad struggle with his retirement finances as the stock market fell and by her whole New Orleans family’s experience in recovering from Hurricane Katrina. She took the temperature of those times and brewed a story about two couples at opposite ends of the middle class brought together by their mutual desire for a new path. Will the couples change each other? Will they rise from the ashes and discover new paths? In our uncertain times of economic anxiety, technological advancement and global change, Detroit reminds us that the human spirit is resilient, and that our history is filled with stumbling forward and remaking ourselves to fit our new world.
Lisa Adler, Detroit director and Horizon Theatre co-artistic director
September 19 – October 19, 2014
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM and 8:30 PM
Sunday at 5:00 PM
$20 – $30*
Bring your neighbors!
Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. Call 404.523.1477 x111 or e-mail Timothy Harland for more information.
*Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. 8% sales tax will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating.
Mary – Carolyn Cook*
Ben – Mark Cabus*
Sharon – Kylie Brown*
Kenny – Adam Fristoe*
Frank – Tom Thon*
Playwright – Lisa D’Amour
Director – Lisa Adler
Scenic Designers – Isabel A. & Moriah Curley Clay
Costume Designer – Nyrobi Moss
Lighting Designer – Mary Parker
Stage Manager – Julianna M. Lee*
*Member Actors’ Equity Association
“GRADE: A. Lurid. Intense. Irresistible.” – Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Highly entertaining and thought-provoking.” – Atlanta Theater Fans
“A reminder of the excitement that only live theatre can generate.” – Atlanta Intown
Past Production Reviews
The New York Times
DC Theatre Scene
An interview with director and co-artistic director Lisa Adler and Detroit cast member Carolyn Cook by Neighbor Newspapers
The playwright’s perspective on Detroit
A video interview of the playwright, London production
An interview with playwright Lisa D’Amour during the NYC run by Playwrights Horizons’ artistic director
An interview with the playwright by the Washington Post
An interview with the playwright by the Washingtonian
An interview with the playwright during the Dallas, Texas run
An interview with the playwright during the Austin, Texas run
An interview with the playwright during the Austin, Texas run