Kitchen Theatre Company continues its 2016-17 season and gets spring started with a provocative and moving one-person play, Throw Pitchfork, written and performed by Alexander Thomas. Throw Pitchfork begins previews on April 23, opens on April 27, and closes on May 7, 2017.
In Throw Pitchfork, writer/performer Alexander Thomas explores two generations of men in his African American family. It is an edge-of-your-seat story of a family's struggles and successes, told with humor - and full of surprises. At the root of the story is Willie Thomas, who escapes the south and settles in Albany, New York. He fights demons of alcohol and anger, and he fathers four sons: Sammy, Jesse, Cleve, and the youngest, Alex. Each of his children inherits and deals with their father's torments in his own way-Sammy through hard drugs, Jesse through petty crime, Cleve through the arts. Alex, the youngest, becomes a writer and actor and searches for self-definition as he attempts to both emulate and separate himself from his brothers and father.
The play falls in a grey area between autobiographical and semi-autobiographical. As Thomas says, there are "enough actual events to suit the former and enough embellishment and interpretive choices to qualify the latter." Throw Pitchfork was originally performed on Kitchen Theatre Company's 12th season in 2002, fresh of its successful Off Broadway debut at New York Theatre Workshop. It later closed the 2004 Monodrama Festival in Kiel, Germany, where it won a Special Honors Award.
"Alexander Thomas has been part of Kitchen Theatre Company family of collaborating artists for almost two decades. It is thrilling to have him return and share his extraordinary and powerful personal story again with us," says Artistic Director Rachel Lampert. "This play is as timely today as it was twenty years ago when he wrote it."
Alexander Thomas has been seen at Kitchen Theatre Company in The Whipping Man, Broke-ology, Opus, Sunset Baby, and his collaboration with LeVan D. Hawkins, Black Stuff. In addition to Throw Pitchfork, Thomas has written Schwarz Gemacht (translation: Made Black), produced at the English Theatre of Berlin with help from Kitchen Theatre Company in 2014 and brought back for a second run in 2015. He recently made his Toronto stage debut in Jason Maghanoy's original play Hangman at the Storefront Theatre.
The creative team includes scenic and lighting design by Tyler M. Perry (KTC credits: Sex With Strangers, Dancing Lessons, Peter and the Starcatcher, I and You, The House, Thin Walls, among others), and costume design by Lisa Boquist (KTC credits: Sex With Strangers, Birds of East Africa, Hand to God, Precious Nonsense, The Mountaintop, Paloma, among others). Sound design is by Sergey Levitskiy (KTC: Sex With Strangers). Jen Schilansky (stage manager) has been the resident stage manager for the past 5 seasons.
Sara Lampert Hoover directs the play. Most recent at KTC: Precious Nonsense, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Dancing Lessons. Past KTC Productions: Black Pearl Sings! (Kitchen Theatre Co/Geva), Neat, The Tricky Part, I Become a Guitar, Souvenir - 2008 SALT Award "Best Summer Production", The Clean House, Tony and the Soprano, Yellowman, Precious Nonsense, The Syringa Tree, A Servant of Two Masters, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Pretty Fire, and Molly Sweeney. At Vermont Stage Co: Three Days of Rain and Doubt, I Am My Own Wife. Other production credits: Falsettos, Sweeney Todd, Proof, 4 by Beckett, Merton of the Movies, Side Man, The Insect Comedy, and The Gnadiges Fraulein. Assistant directing credits: Sight Unseen (Manhattan Theatre Club, Daniel Sullivan, Director) and The Dybbuk (Syracuse Stage, Barbara Damashek, Director). She will be directing Blythe Spirit at Chenango River Theatre, Greene, NY this summer. Member: SDC
In conjunction with the production of Throw Pitchfork, Kitchen Theatre Company will present several surround events. Post-show talkbacks with the playwright, director and design team are scheduled for Sunday, April 23rd, Tuesday, April 25th, and Wednesday, April 26th (preview performances). On Friday, April 28th and Friday, May 5th, there will be a post-show talkback, moderated by Lee Rayburn from WHCU radio, with the cast, director and playwright. There is also a free to the public pre-show talk on Wednesday, May 3rd at 6:30pm, speaker TBA.