R-S Theatrics is thrilled to announce their return to live theatre with the St. Louis premiere of Breadcrumbs by Jennifer Haley, running October 8-24, 2021, at The .ZACK (3224 Locust St.).

In Breadcrumbs, a reclusive fiction writer diagnosed with dementia must depend upon a troubled young caretaker to complete her autobiography.  In a symbiotic battle of wills, they delve into the dark woods of the past, unearthing a tragedy that shatters their notions of language, loneliness, and essential self.  Dallas Morning News calls Breadcrumbs “timely and touching,” while DC Theatre Scene says, “It is an act of boldness, to be done only by a playwright in absolute command of her gifts…”  

This production will be directed by R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt.  Auditions for the parts of Alida and Beth will be announced in coming days via R-S Theatrics website and social media. Those interested in other production positions can send resumes, portfolios and letters of interest to [email protected].

Breadcrumbs will perform Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 7:00pm. Tickets will be $20, available through MetroTix or at the door.  Appropriate COVID safety precautions will be taken for artists and audience members, guided by current CDC and St. Louis Department of Health guidelines. This production is funded in part by the Arts and Education Council.  Breadcrumbs is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

R-S Theatrics is a small professional theatre company in residence at Kranzberg Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri. Our mission is to present St. Louis-area professional premieres of work that introduces new voices to important conversations in our community.  Since launching in May of 2011, R-S has produced acclaimed productions of ParadeIn the HeightsEvery Brilliant Thing, and The Motherf**ker with the Hat, among many others.  

Jennifer Haley is a playwright whose work delves into ethics in virtual reality and the impact of technology on our human relationships, identity, and desire. She won the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Los Angeles Ovation Award and the Francesca Primus Prize for her play, The Nether, which premiered at Center Theatre Group and was subsequently produced at The Royal Court Theatre with Headlong in London. Other plays include Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, which premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville 2008 Humana Festival, and Froggy, in development with Center Theatre Group and American Conservatory Theater. Jennifer’s work has been developed at The Banff Centre, the Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark Play Development Center, PlayPenn, Page 73, and the MacDowell Colony. She is a member of New Dramatists in New York City and lives in Los Angeles, where she founded the Playwrights Union. 

Director Sarah Lynne Holt (she/her) has been a theatre artist in St. Louis since 2001. She holds a directing degree from Millikin University and has helmed shows at The Midnight Company, Solid Lines Productions, The Q Collective, Kirkwood Theatre Guild, That Uppity Theatre Company, PRIME, The Non-Prophet Theater Company, and The Tin Ceiling.  At R-S Theatrics, she has directed boomA Perfect Arrangement, and numerous other projects, including four years of shows in partnership with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’s WiseWrite Young Playwrights’ Festival.  She began working with R-S in 2014, served on the Board of Directors from 2015-2018, and has been Artistic Director since January 2020.  Sarah previously held staff positions with Arcon Radio Players, The Non-Prophet Theatre Company, Last Chance Theatre, and Blue Lemon Theatre Group. For more information, contact Sarah Lynne Holt at [email protected] or visit R-S’s website at r-stheatrics.org.

Photo: Playwright Jennifer Haley

By Lynn Venhaus Managing Editor In The Midnight Company’s charmer of a one-man show, “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust” is a good match for Joe Hanrahan’s storytelling skills.

He plays an average Joe, 75, retired from insurance, whose
mundane Midwest life includes Snappy Seniors activities and family to-dos. One
day, Charlie doesn’t realize that a package of cookies as a snack at Starbucks
will lead to a reading adventure. He has what’s called “a Madeleine moment,”
and thus enters the world of French literary legend Marcel Proust, more out of
spite at his snobbish know-it-all daughter-in-law. 

The cake-like cookie, sort of in the shape of a seashell,
is associated with Proust’s opus, “In Search of Lost Time,” earlier known as
“Remembrance of Things Past,” which was published between 1913 and 1927, in
seven parts. Dipping the cookie in his tea, the narrator is immediately
transported to childhood memories.

On the surface, Paris during the French Third Republic
couldn’t be more different than contemporary Indiana, but then again, Charlie is
open to the similarities and differences. At that time, France saw the rise of
the middle class and the decline of the aristocracy.

But it is through Proust’s penchant for reflection and
articulation about memory that sparks multiple revelations for Charlie.

And lest not forget perseverance. Many a literary scholar
can’t seem to work their way through all of Proust. The title in itself is a
testament to fortitude. And in modern library terms, the seven volumes amount
to 4,300 pages – and 2,000 characters.

Charlie proves to be quite an interesting character, a
meaty role designed for Hanrahan’s gifts. And he’s well-suited to bring out the
humor in playwright Amy Crider’s work, which pops with personality. She is an
astute observer of human nature, visually conjuring an assortment of regular
folks you know you know.

The Kranzberg black box is simply outfitted with a
comfortable easy chair, a well-worn living room space that provides an
immediate sense of place. Chuck Winning’s set design takes you to an everyman
nook, with photographs and artwork that mean something, a statement on the
artist’s role in society and understanding an artist’s life as influence. Tony
Anselmo’s lighting design also reflects on the lived-in quality.

Director Sarah Lynne Holt emphasizes Charlie’s dignity and
intelligence, while Hanrahan’s monologue delivery brings out the absurdities in
life we can all relate to, no matter our circumstances.

This solo sojourn is an insightful piece, a fanfare for the common man that the Midnight Company fluidly interpreted as a guy with something to say.

The Midnight Company presents “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust” Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., May 30 to June 15, at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand. For more information, visit www.midnightcompany.com