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FINAL 3 PERFORMANCES — MAY 10, 11, 12

Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM and on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM

What our audiences are saying

By Carole Roskoph

South Camden Theater Company is a hidden gem in Camden. Friends and I discovered it about 11 years ago and have watched it get better and better each year since. We have seen some really good shows there, but today we saw James Ijames’ “Kill, Move, Paradise” (Ijames won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2022 for “Fat Ham” and if you are familiar with the Wilma you will know his work) and it was the best show South Camden has done and one of the best shows I have seen. The play addresses the reality that African American males (and females) face daily: the fear of living as Black or Brown men in America and the reality that this brings with it. Under the direction of Damian J. Wallace, the four actors create characters based on men who lost their lives to police brutality or vigilantes. All the actors are good, but George McGriff is great. His portrayal of Tiny is heart-wrenching, and his grief over the loss of his literal and metaphorical childhood is palatable. You want to look away, but you can’t. And that is the genius of the play. Ijames breaks the fourth wall throughout the play and forces the audience to watch; the characters even address the passive complicitness that the audience members have in the lives (and deaths) of these men. It is a powerful tool, and your heart and your conscience will be hurt. I only had one disappointment in the play: the sets. One of my favorite things about South Camden productions are the sets that Robert A. Bingaman creates. I love seeing what he does in the space, and the sets for “Kill, Move, Paradise” were minimalistic and were done with lights and projections. It works, but I still like a realistic, detailed set. This is a show that will live in you after you leave the theater. It does exactly what good theater should do: it makes you question your world and your role in it. It sounds cliche to say that it will change you, but it did, and it will. I recommend that everyone see it.

What the critics said

South Jersey Theatre Critics visited our show on opening night and had this to say. Please read the whole review. And, then come see our final three performances this weekend.
by Aimee Ferenz

“To first say that the production is a technical success is an understatement. The accolades alone of the production staff, as mentioned in their playbill bios, are enough to show that this theatre company is bound for long-term success. Led by Artistic Director Dawn Varava, Stage Director Damien J. Wallace.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW!

“This haunting, elliptical play represents a breakthrough for [Ijames], and for art that considers the value of black lives in America…”

— Broad Street Review.

James Ijames’ New York Times Critics Pick play Kill Move Paradise tells the story of Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny, four black men who find themselves stuck in a cosmic waiting room in the afterlife. Inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women, this play depicts these men as symbols of life and hope. Gone but never forgotten, Kill Move Paradise illustrates the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy.

“Ijames has written a challenging and fine actor’s play…KILL MOVE PARADISE is a bold, conceptual, living theater demanding to be heard. Ijames [is] a vital voice in [our] politically seditious and perilous time. It is also profoundly poetic in its dialogue and characters.”

— Culture Vulture.

WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST

Craig McLaren as Isa

Craig is a native of Philadelphia. He has been doing comedy throughout the country for several years. He hosts Bob Sumner’s Laff Mobb Live at The City Winery in Philadelphia. Before that, he hosted his comedy show every second Sunday in the upstairs room at Club Risqué, making it “The Hottest” Comedy Room in Philadelphia. Craig travels the country spreading laughter. 

As an additive to any event, Craig McLaren can host and interact with his crowd and provide a quality performance that leaves his audiences wanting more. Craig decided that comedy was his career choice; it has always been a characteristic of his versatile personality. Craig has gained strength with his audiences by turning his life as we know it into his comedy act.

Craig is also establishing himself as an actor, with major roles in several stage plays and short films. In 2019, he was nominated by the Philadelphia Independent Film Awards for Best Actor in a Feature Film. He’s currently starring in a film being featured on Tubi TV entitled HAVE YOU SEEN HER and a play on Amazon Prime entitled DIRTY LAUNDRY. 

He has performed at the World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, Riot Act Comedy Club in Washington DC, the Laff House Comedy Club in Philadelphia, Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware, and was a part of the Black Comedy Tour in 2011. He was selected to showcase at NACA and APCA on his first audition.

Craig’s high energy, crowd-friendly attitude, and unforgettable stage presence provide a changing dynamic to each show.

Tariq Kanu as Grif

Tariq is thrilled to make his South Camden Theater Company debut. He has recently worked with Theater in the X, EgoPo Theater Company, and Delaware Shakespeare. Tariq would like to thank his friends and family for their unwavering support and this production’s incredible cast and crew. Let us not be passive voyeurs to injustice. Tariq hopes the conversations of this show pervade outside the theater to heal and inspire hope and joy. Enjoy the show! Ig: tariq.kanu 

Jai Surles as Daz

Jai is a Perry Award nominee for best-supporting actor and a Julie Award nominee for the best supporting actor; he was last seen at the Ritz as Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Jai is an upcoming underground actor looking to get his foot in the door, pursue his dreams as a famous actor, and leave his footprint on Earth. He has been performing for nine-plus years and is super excited for his South Camden Theater Company debut as DAZ since the two both have similar personalities. Jai would like to thank his family and friends for all the support given to him throughout the years, especially his girlfriend, Janie, and his sweet daughter, Aaliyah! 

George McGriff as Tiny

George is making his South Camden Theatre Company debut! Born and raised in West Philadelphia, George is a 2019 Temple University Acting program graduate and studied at Playhouse West with Tony Savant. Most recent theatre credits include Fat Ham (U/S Larry/Tio) at Wilma Theater, The 24 Hour Plays at Interact Theater, What Will Happen To All That Beauty (Eric/Terrell) at Philadelphia Theatre Company, & #Enough: Gun Violence at Azuka Theatre. He has shot commercial work for GoogleFive BelowRubbermaid, and Intel. George would like to thank his family and friends for their unwavering support, & his fellow KMP fam for an unforgettable process. IG: @thegeorgemcgriff)

THE DIRECTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT

Damien J. Wallace, Director

Damien is the Artistic Director of the Lawrence Theatre Company. LTC credits include “The Funeral” “Do you trust your best friend” “Custody” “Life isn’t fair” and “The Three OG’s”. Some other notable directorial endeavors include “Verbalized Ink” (Rise up and Walk Theatre Company) and “Fences” (GoKash Productions).  Damien is very pleased and honored to make his return to SCTC as the director of KMP. Some other SCTC directorial credits include “The Brothers Size” and “The Legend of Georgia McBride”. Damien has also directed 3 productions for EgoPo Classic Theatre Company; “Les Blancs,” “Rockabye,” and “Wine in the Wilderness.” Damien was formerly trained under the tutelage of Lee Strasburg disciple Ty Collins and Stella Adler protégé Vernon Blackman. Damien holds a BFA with a Distinguished Honors degree in Theatre from Arcadia University.

James Ijames, Playwright

James is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-nominated playwright, director, and educator. 

James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. 

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for “The Brothers Size” with Simpatico Theatre Company and “Gem of the Ocean” with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for “WHITE,” the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….”Miz Martha,” a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for “Kill Move Paradise,” a 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prize, the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama recipient  and a 2023 Tony nominee for Best Play for “Fat Ham.”

James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright-producing collective. 

He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and an M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia. 

Who’s Who on the Creative Production Team

Ryan Lusk  (Stage Manager) (He/Him) is a Pittsburgh native and a professional stage manager. He graduated Cum Laude from Pace University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in Stage Management. His professional and collegiate theatrical credits include 9 to 5 (PSM), The American Revolution (PSM), She Loves Me (SM), and more. Ryan has also worked in film, working on projections like MAX’s Succession, Netflix’s The Union, Apple TV’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and more. Thank you to South Camden Theatre Company for this opportunity and to Kenna and Daisy. 

Gabriella Velasquez (Assistant Stage Manager) is a performer and educator from South Florida who relocated to Philadelphia to attend Temple University’s theater program. She received her BA in Theater with a Concentration in Acting in December. Gabbie has been in a variety of productions in Florida in addition to Temple University’s Main Stage season (Dance Nation and Exit Strategy). She is committed to storytelling and the arts, and she is super excited to be joining the team at South Camden Theater Company!

Hunter A. Mountz (Lighting Design) (He/Him) is a Philadelphia-based theatre and dance lighting designer whose previous design credits include The Lightning Thief (Triple Threat Theatre Company), Who’s Holiday (South Camden Theatre Company) Into the WoodsThe Laramie Project, Bedroom Farce (Salem State University) Disney’s The Little MermaidMamma Mia!The SpongeBob Musical (Panthers-on-Parade) Dare to Dream, and When Worlds Collide (SSU Repertory Dance Theatre). Hunter was also the recipient of the Excellence in Lightning Design award from the 2021 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. 

Meghan Malloy (Production Manager) (She/Her) is a multi-hyphenate theatre artist. She is thrilled to work with South Camden Theatre Company in this new capacity! Meghan holds a BFA in Acting from Point Park. A Barrymore-nominated actress, Meghan has worked in many regional theatres and on national tours. Meghan currently coaches dialects for actors and productions, in addition to teaching teen actors both film and theatre techniques. She recently re-entered the working world on the tails of working as a stay-at-home parent for ten years.  For more information about Meghan’s work, visit: linktr.ee/meghan.malloy.creates.

Robert Bingaman (Scenic Designer) (He/Him) is thrilled to be working with Damien for this production. Robert has been working with South Camden Theatre since 2008 as the Board President and as the scenic designer for the Company. His skills have been built primarily through trial and error on the stage here at the beautiful Waterfront South Theatre. He’d like to thank his many volunteers for their support and Steve, who puts up with my insanity.

PAM STALEY (Props Master) (She/Her) is thrilled to join her friend and artistic director, Dawn Varava, here at SCTC. Her past experiences included managing props and all things backstage for Dawn during many of her school productions. She has been jumping in to help SCTC be the best we can be.

JOSH SAMORS (TECHNICAL DIRECTOR) (He/Him) is a New York-based theatre artist. He has worked on stage and backstage at many theaters in the tri-state area, including here at The Waterfront South Theatre, The Arden Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, and The Montgomery Theater. 

CLAUDINE AYSCUE (COSTUME DESIGNER) (She/Her) is excited to work as SCTC’s costume designer for this show. She joined the SCTC board of directors out of her love for theatre and a focus on Camden. Costuming pulls together her favorite hobbies — designing, sewing, and shopping. She has designed several shows here at SCTC. She is thrilled to have Alisa Stein and Pam Staley’s help shopping for this show. Love to my family for their support and best wishes to the cast and crew.

Funding has been made possible in part by the Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission at Camden County College through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.