CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY – January 8, 2020 – South Camden Theatre Company and the Waterfront South Theatre in Camden, NJ, along with our Artistic Director, Raymond Croce, are proud to announce the planned opening of the first show of South Camden Theatre Company’s 15th Season. This season is aptly named “A Season Of Celebration! 15 Years of professional theatre productions and 10 years at the Waterfront South Theatre — Camden’s first theatre built in more than 100 years.
The company is opening with its first of three regional premieres. The show, Abigail 1702/A Twice Told Tale, was written by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa. He is the creator of “Riverdale” on The CW and “Sabrina” on Netflix. He is best known for his work with Marvel Comics and the television series Glee and Big Love. He is Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics.
South Camden’s Artistic Director, Ray Croce, chose this show after having done Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”. “I was very familiar with the character of Abigail. Her final mention in “The Crucible” was of her sneaking out of town and heading to Boston. Since she was the primary antagonist, I was left unsatisfied by the end of her storyline. I recognize that by that time in the script, the primary focus was on John Proctor, but never the less there was no “justice” for Abigail. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s play not only puts Abigail’s story to rest but does it in way where she became repentant. In Miller’s piece, the idea of darkness was not explored and, to some extent, blamed on the imagination of children. I like how the shadows are present in this piece, whether they are real or the machinations of a guilty tormented mind.”
Director, Josh Samors is thrilled to be working on this show. It allows him to work with a cast of talented actors from across the Delaware Valley who have very complicated relationships.
Some plays try to hand you the answers. You get to the last scene, and the main character has the realization, the epiphany, the final monologue that lays out the right choice that you should have known all along. Abigail/1702 doesn’t do that. Instead, every single part of it is complicated, just like our own lives.
When Josh read the play, he couldn’t put it down. I’ve seen a lot of plays, I’ve read a lot of plays, I’ve studied a lot of plays, and it takes a special one for me not to want to stop reading it. I was struck by the visuals I could see in my head, the lighting, the soundscape. The emotional interplay between so many different characters portrayed by so few actors. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And when asked to direct it, instead of just designing the lights for it, I couldn’t say no. I feel that both of these positions work together in this show. As the director, I’m looking at the interactions between the actors, the blocking, the emotions and the story-telling. As the lighting designer, I’m looking at the whole stage picture, how the elements interlock around the scene to support it. The two lenses allow me to be an even better director.
Abigail/1702 is about blame, responsibility, and trauma. Who is responsible for the bad events in our lives? In other people’s lives? How responsible are we for our own actions? Our own choices? And how can we make amends for what we’ve done? For what we haven’t done? I can’t think of a more important set of questions to be asking ourselves right now.
Josh is ecstatic about his cast. It took a lot of hunting to find the right people for each role, especially the role of Abigail. Every actor in the show has a lot to do. We only cast four people, in a show with 10 characters. Some of our actors will be portraying three or four characters each. Creating distinct, complex characters, often for a single scene. And some of our actors will be jumping back and forth in time, showing us the same person at different ages, different moments in their lives. We couldn’t do that without the skill this cast brings to the table.
This show can’t help but be mysterious. Our characters have false identities, the truth is never really clear, and revelations are always hiding under the next stone or behind the next tree. I’d say this play is a lot more of a psychological thriller. If there are spooky moments, they’ll catch everyone by surprise.
The youngest member of our cast is the character Thomas. In the script, Thomas is a 10 year old boy. I don’t generally work with child actors, and in this show in particular, it didn’t seem like a good fit. So early on, I had the thought to portray Thomas using a puppet. The puppet will be controlled and voiced by some combination of the cast.
The story of Abigail 1702 was born out of Aquirre-Sacasa’s desire to tell Abigail’s story. In his tale of New England witchery, Abigail/1702 is ten years after the harrowing and tragic events of the Salem witch trials. Abigail Williams—the lead accuser who sent twenty people to their doom as a young girl—now lives under an assumed name on the outskirts of Boston, quietly striving to atone for her sins. When a handsome stranger arrives claiming to be a sailor in need, Abigail takes him in, and long-dormant passions awaken within her. Love starts to grow between the two—an unlikely flower cracking through salty earth. But their contentment is short-lived, for someone else is coming for Abigail, someone who has been looking for her since she danced in the weird woods of Salem.
Raymond Croce says, “South Camden Theatre Company’s 2020 Season of Celebration has heart, tackles the issue of immigration and takes on the issue of race in America. It’s a season that you can’t see anywhere else. Our four productions have four dynamic directors. Our directors were selected because of their passion for the theatre and for the skills they have shown either on our stage or as directors of shows on our stage.”
Our remaining season continues after Abigail 1702 with a regional premiere, called Terminus by Gabriel Jason Dean and directed by Gabrielle Affleck. Terminus is on stage in April 2020, “Terminus is a tale of Southern Gothic horror where fantasy and reality, past and present, freely intermingle.” states the NY Times. The playwright has sprawling imaginative power, is focused on delivery, and takes on a tremendous weight—the intractable problem of race in the United States.
Our third production from playwright Sharyn Rothstein — A Good Farmer comes to the stage in September of 2020. This is also a regional premiere. Ms. Rothstein also wrote By The Water, an audience favorite, from our 13th season. This production is being directed by Scott Grumling, who also directed By The Water. Broadway World wrote of The Good Farmer, “…outstanding…brings the much-needed sense of humanity to the issue of immigration and addresses many of the moral questions we face…This is an important piece of theatre…[a] gem of a show…”.
The fourth and final production of our Season of Celebration is The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Flights of poetry, music, dance, and West African mythology combine in a contemporary tale that explores the tenuousness of freedom and the need to belong somewhere, to something, to someone. The Chicago Tribune wrote that this is “The greatest piece of writing by an American playwright under 30 in a generation or more.”
Mr. Croce also noted,” This 2020 Season of Celebration will also include special events honoring the people who have made a theatre in Camden possible. He reminded us that in 2005, when the theatre company was formed, so many said, “No one will come.”. And, here we are celebrating our 15th season and the 10th Anniversary of The Waterfront South Theatre. It’s remarkable.“
South Camden Theatre Company is proud to call Camden home. When the company was founded in 2005, performances were first held in the basement of the Sacred Heart Church. We’re also proud to know that The Waterfront South Theatre is the first, free-standing theatre building erected in Camden in more than 100 years.
Along with the theatre company, the Waterfront South neighborhood is also a growing arts community. Our arts neighbors now include Camden FireWorks, artist studio spaces, and art gallery, The Nick Virgilio Writer’s House, Bee Still Studios, The Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum, Camden Boat Works and the Center For Environmental Transformation along with The Heart of Camden and The Sacred Heart Church.
About PNC Arts Alive
South Camden Theatre Company was selected by PNC Bank to participate in PNC Arts Alive for two seasons. This is a very prestigious grant award. Just over 30 total organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern, New Jersey region, were selected for bold thinking around increasing arts access and engagement.
“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”
Read more here: www.PNCARTSALIVE.com
About South Camden Theatre Company and The Waterfront South Theatre:
All seating is general admission and is first-come, first-seated. Doors open one hour before curtain. Each show opens with a preview performance on the Wednesday evening prior to opening night at 8:00pm. Friday and Saturday night performances are at 8:00pm and Sunday matinées are at 2:00pm.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.southcamdentheatre.org, over the phone at (866) 811-4111 or at the door. General admission tickets are $25.00. SCTC offers a Camden Resident ticketing program with tickets just $5 each. This program is sponsored in part by Holman Enterprise group.
To learn more about each show, visit the website at www.southcamdentheatre.org
The Waterfront South Theatre
Home of South Camden Theatre Company
400 Jasper Street, Michael Doyle Lane
Camden, NJ 08104
Group rates are available. Call for information.
Theatre Company Office: (856) 409-0365
Robert Bingaman, Communications, Mobile: (609) 471-4168