Using a blend of field interviews, archival research, Methodist hymns, and original songs, this daring new play investigates the lives in and around Miracle Village, a rural American community for sex offenders buried deep in Florida's sugarcane fields.
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"This play, an investigation of transgression, redemption and the limits of compassion, takes a hard, uncomfortable look at forgiveness and what it means to put it into action... Paying homage to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Mr. Russ (playwright and director) presents Miracle Village as an ordinary American town, except in the ways it isn’t.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES
"This play introduces us to a strange community that could only be American. The writer-director Travis Russ put together this lovely show, drawing on interviews that his New York-based company conducted in Miracle Village, Florida, a small settlement populated with convicted sex offenders. Dodging prurience and judgement, the piece, dotted with brief songs by Priscilla Holbrook, is a deceptively gentle look at redemption, faith, and what makes a community."
THE NEW YORKER
"Making documentary theatre takes great discipline and a touch of innovative genius. With its new work Life Jacket Theatre has proven itself to be a strong new practitioner in this genre. Writer and director Travis Russ certainly hasn’t made it easy for himself. His foray into this demanding genre takes on a doozy of a subject that requires viewers to undertake Herculean feats of empathy."
EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL / AUGUST 2019
Cast: Ken Barnett, John Carlin, Joyce Cohen, Amy Gaither Hayes, David Spadora, and Gareth Tidball. Production Team: Travis Russ (Playwright, Director, & Scenic Designer), Priscilla Holbrook (Composer & Lyricist), Anthony Dvarskas and Amelia Parenteau (Research & Development Team), Solomon Weisbard (Lighting Designer), Andrea Hood (Costume Designer), Kristina Vnook (Assistant Producer & Production Stage Manager), Dale Brown CSA (Casting Director). EUROPEAN PREMIERE
HERE ARTS CENTER / JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 24, 2018
Cast: Ken Barnett, John Carlin, Joyce Cohen, Amy Gaither Hayes, David Spadora, and Gareth Tidball. Production Team: Travis Russ (Playwright, Director, & Scenic Designer), Priscilla Holbrook (Composer, Lyricist, & Music Director), Anthony Dvarskas and Amelia Parenteau (Research & Development Team), Solomon Weisbard (Lighting Designer), Andrea Hood (Costume Designer), Kristina Vnook (Production Stage Manager), Dale Brown CSA (Casting Director), Matt Ross Public Relations (Press Agent). NYC PREMIERE
This play was made possible with support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York State Council, A.R.T./New York's Nancy Quinn Fund Grant and Creative Space Grant in conjunction with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Drama League in connection with the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the Howard Gilman Foundation. This play was developed through residencies with the Drama League, the Tank, Make Room on Governor's Island, One Company, and the IRT 3B Development Series.
We wish to express our appreciation to the artists who participated in previous developmental stages of this show: Jake Alexander, Nick Auer, Steph Bacon, Cecil Blutcher, Michael Castillejos, Brendan Dalton, Austin Davidson, Andrew Dawson, Paul DeBoy, Anni Epstein, David Goldberg, Stuart Green, Shea Madison, Jeannie Moffitt, Ashley Nease, Nick Plakias, Katie Proulx, Scott Redmond, Michael McCorry Rose, Christopher Russo, Aidan Sank, Celia Schaefer, Chad Stoffel, Jane Summerhays, Clay Westman, Evan Reynolds White, and Rachel Tuggle Whorton.