Ensemble Company is Staging a Truly Appropriate Play

OVIEDO — Now in its 6th season, the Oviedo-based Ensemble Company is gearing up to produce a drama about a dysfunctional Southern family with its share of long-hidden secrets.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ drama Appropriate will be the next production for the repertory theatre company that performs at Imagine Performing Arts Center, 1220 Oviedo Mall Boulevard, Oviedo. The play will officially launch the sixth season for this theater company.

What is the play Appropriate?

Jacob-Jenkins’ drama deals with the Lafayette family as they return for the funeral of the family patriarch in his Arkansas home so they can deal with the remains of his estate. That includes Toni, the eldest daughter, who still feels fondly about their father, and her brother Bo, who cared for their father toward the end of his life.

The surprise return of their estranged younger brother Franz changes the family dynamics, though. As the Ensemble Company notes, “Suddenly, long-hidden secrets and buried resentments can’t be contained, and the family is forced to face the ghosts of their past.”

The play was first developed in 2011 through the Vineyard Arts Project based in Edgartown, Massachusetts, and Sundance Institute Theatre Lab which helps playwrights’ develop new works. The show has been performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville during its annual Humana Festival of New Plays, which was its premiere; Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre and Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, before an Off-Broadway opening in 2014, where it won the Obie Award for Best New American Play. It then moved to Broadway for a production by Second Stage Theater.

The Ensemble Company production will be directed by Ayò Jeriah Demps and the cast will include Ensemble Company artistic director Matthew MacDermid as Bo and veteran performers Janine Papin as Toni and Shelby Mae Randle aqs River.

Jessica Hamilton as Rachael, Maddy Poston as Cassidy, Benett Preuss as Rhys Thurston, Andres Procel as Franz Lafayette, and Phoenix Swonger as Ainsley Kramer-Lafayette will be making their debut with Ensemble.

Where Can I See Appropriate?

Appropriate will run May 3-12 at Imagine Performing Arts Center, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors age 60 and up, and $18 for students with an I.D. Purchase your tickets by logging on to www.imagineperformingartscenter.org/events.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the terrifying book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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