Local theater director Jonathan Kane believes it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves. Art can help us achieve that.
Those who come to his play reading of “Admissions” on Tuesday may see parts of themselves reflected onstage.
“It’s a hilarious biting comedy that kind of takes the piss out of our town,” Kane said.
Sawtooth Productions and Laughing Stock will present a free play reading of “Admissions” at the Bailey Studio in the Argyros, in Ketchum. The show begins at 7 p.m. and runs 80 minutes. Complimentary wine and cookies will be served.
“Most politically slanted comedies are from liberal writers mocking the right. It’s so rare for a liberal playwright to savage the left,” Kane said. “The question is can liberals handle the comedic scrutiny?”
“Admissions” won the 2018 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the 2018 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Play.
“I think the piece is audacious and incredibly prescient, taking on the heavyweight topics of our times like diversity, class, privilege, race, entitlement and hypocrisy,” Kane said. “That’s pretty ambitious for a comedy.”
The play follows the head of the admissions department at a New England prep school. With the school’s headmaster (her husband), they fight for diversity, righteously bringing the institution into the 21st-century status quo. But when their only son sets his sights on an Ivy League university, the cracks in their virtue signaling begin to show.
“Of course we live in an incredibly affluent, progressive, small liberal valley with a private school very similar to the one depicted in the play. Who can better relate to a play about affluent liberals in a small town?” Kane said. “Of course we love it here but it’s OK to have some fun every once in a while as long as it’s not mean-spirited, which ‘Admissions’ is definitely not. And why not have a laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves so seriously? It’s healthier.”
Community School Senior Charlie Coulter will be in the show.
“This script is special because it tackles many specific key details that get unspoken about in liberal white America,” Coulter said.
He believes comedy is harder to perform than drama.
“It’s easy to make somebody feel bad by telling them something sad and dramatic, you can’t promise somebody will laugh at a joke,” Coulter said.
Despite the satire, he still plays a fully realized character.
“[I make him] as honest and as genuine as I can, so even if others disagree with his views, at least he told you his honest truth,” Coulter said.
Next year, Coulter is going to study acting at NYU Tisch. ￼
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