New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A UNIQUE THEATRICAL EVENT AT NJ REP

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- New Jersey Repertory Company is proud to present noted playwright John Biguenet's "Rising Water Trilogy" inspired by his personal experiences during Hurricane Katrina and his return to his home after its catastrophic flooding and destruction. 


The plays will be presented on three consecutive Mondays as part of NJ Rep's reading series on September 23, September 30 and October 7 at 7:00pm at NJ Repertory Company located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch. 

The reading of the three plays will complement the opening of Biguenet's new play, "Broomstick", which will run from September 19 through October 13 as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere.

Biguenet's experiences and observations of Hurricane Katrina should resonate with many residents of the Jersey Shore who experienced similar loss last October and are still struggling to cope with the destruction from Hurricane Sandy nearly a year later. As we approach the one year anniversary of Sandy, tens of thousands of property owners continue to recover from the unprecedented disaster. 

"We here in Louisiana had a real compassion for New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy knowing first-hand the consequences and the human toll." said Biguenet. "Even eight years later, victims of Hurricane Katrina are still struggling and many are fighting insurance companies and the federal government in an effort to rebuild their lives."

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive tropical hurricane to hit New Orleans and was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Nearly 2,000 people were killed and total property damage was estimated at $81 billion. 

Detailing his personal experience, Biguenet recalls, "We were homeless and slept in a daycare center without hot water... and in that daycare center I wrote 15 newspaper columns and shot 2 videos for the New York Times and told what was really going on in the city. The truth of the matter is that the levees collapsed and it was a man-made disaster that struck New Orleans. These plays are designed in some sense to give an accurate depiction of what happened and also in the year following."

"The first play, "Rising Water", deals with the first night after the hurricane has passed and people went to bed that evening thinking that things would be alright, but woke up the next day with flooding in their homes up to 8 feet, and had to run to their attics. The temperatures were 120 to 130 degrees and people had to find a way to get to the roof. The United States government didn't send any significant help for three or four days. An American city was destroyed, seven times the size of the entire size of Manhattan." said Biguenet.

The second play, "Shotgun", takes place four months later, and is about a man who has lost his wife and then develops a relationship with his landlord. He is white and she is black. It's about rebuilding one's life and tackles real-life race relations issues.

The third play, "Mold", is set during the first anniversary of the collapse of the levees, and is about a young couple figuring out whether to rebuild or move elsewhere.

As Jersey Shore residents know, the storm is not over once the hurricane has passed, but continues well after. Biguenet reflects upon the deep wounds that still exist. 

"As my wife and I have watched couple after couple break up under the stress of lost homes and lost jobs and lost self-esteem, I've discovered that if one is to depict the human toll of a massive disaster, it's effect on relationships is the most visible embodiment of that catastrophe." reflects Biguenet. "I could not have guessed before the flood that in composing a trilogy about the destruction of a city, I would wind up writing three love stories." 

Seating for the trilogy reading series is very limited. Seats must be reserved by contacting the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166. Admission is $10.

Performances for "Broomstick "are Thursdays, Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm September 19-October 13. Special reduced price previews are on Thursday, September 19 and Friday, September 20 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Saturday, September 21 at 3:00 pm. Opening night with reception is Saturday, September 21 at 8:00 pm.

Tickets are $40; Previews are $35; Opening night with reception is $50. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more. NJ Rep is a year-round, professional, non-profit theater located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch only minutes from the Jersey Shore. Free on-site parking is available and there is easy access from NJ Transit (North Jersey Coast Line) and Academy Buses.

For tickets, contact the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org to reserve your seats online. 

About New Jersey Rep
New Jersey Rep is a member of the National New Play Network, The New Jersey Theater Alliance, Theater Communications Group, and the Monmouth and Long Branch Arts Councils. Support for NJ Rep is provided in part by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Stone Foundation of New Jersey, the Baumol Family Foundation, OceanFirst Foundation, the Investors Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, Dramatists Guild Fund, Actors Equity Foundation, ERBA Company, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the American Theatre Wing.