Prepare yourself for some serious introspection.
Friday night TheatreLAB opens “I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard,” a play by Halley Feiffer starring Alan Sader and Liz Earnest, who portray a father-daughter duo in a play that examines family ties.
“The entire play starts to devolve into this conversation about what happens when we criticize each other,” said director Deejay Gray, who doubles as TheatreLAB’s artistic director.
The play features Ella, a young, breakout actress, and her famous playwright father, David, as they sit up waiting for the reviews of Ella’s off-broadway debut to release. The relationship between these two is a toxic one, focusing both on show business itself as well as the family dynamics between Ella and her father.
“The larger conversation around the piece is how we learn from our parents and how it’s our choice if we are going to perpetuate the bad behaviors they teach us, or if we are going to break that cycle and be a different type of person,” Gray said. “They say you know when you’ve moved beyond adolescence because you start to see the flaws in your parents.”
The play includes many twists and turns as the audience watches this father-daughter duo ignore the reality of their strained relationship.
This performance is also part of the “Acts of Faith Festival,” or a community-wide festival in which all professional theatre companies produce shows that are in some way related to faith. This show doesn’t focus on religion, but instead uses faith to examine how we each choose to trust one another.
“This show is about our faith in people, what happens when people let us down, or how we learn from people and how we grow from people, especially when we idolize people,” Gray said.
This is the second MainStage performance in TheatreLAB’s fifth season titled, “Picking Sides,” or a year of all two-person shows. The last show in this series was “The Last Five Years,” a musical. These performances all incorporate alley staging, meaning the audience sits on either side of the stage rather than face it head-on. This staging is meant to emphasize the duality of a two-person performance and allow the audience to physically have two different perspectives as the characters on stage battle through their own perspectives.
Gray was excited to have found a play that features a father-daughter relationship, as it is not often found in the theatre world.
“I don’t necessarily go to the theatre always to be entertained, sometimes I like to go to the theatre to be devastated,” Gray said. “I think this is a play you’re going to be thinking about a long time after you leave.”
Performances for “I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard” begin this Fri., Feb. 2 and run through Feb. 17 at TheatreLAB’s venue, The Basement, located at 300 E. Broad St. A preview performance will open this evening, Thursday, Feb. 1 and is open to the public. Tickets for opening night are $30 and can be found here.
Photos by: TheatreLAB