ETC Presents And Things That Go Bump In The Night

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Background Joseph Watts, foreground Jacob Moore
Background Joseph Watts, foreground Jacob Moore
- photo by Kyle Dagnan

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will present And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Terrance McNally Sept. 14-22.

Review for And Things That Go Bump in the Night:

A corrupt society has forced a family into the isolated confines of their basement where they manipulate each other in an effort for what appears to be survival.  And Things That Go Bump in the Night is the first play of playwright Terrence McNally to reach Broadway, over 50 years ago. 

"Certainly an obscure title and rarely produced, but penned by one of the most prolific American playwrights still living,” said Founding Executive Director Garry Lee Posey.  “We enjoy introducing the theatre audiences of Chattanooga to theatre they might not get to experience living so far away from New York, DC, or Chicago where the exposure is vastly different.” 

ETC, while constructing its 2018 season around a theme of family and how it is defined by society as well as the unit itself, came across Mr. McNally’s play. 

“He’s a favorite playwright of mine and several of the plays and musicals he writes the librettos for end up regularly on our short lists,” said Christy Gallo, ETC co-artistic director. “The way McNally approaches the family  unit in BUMP and the absurdo-reality of the context of the situation, were extremely appealing.” 

The story centers around Ruby, a faded opera diva who refuses to accept her reality and lives in a past of glories and memories while trying to steer a family through trying times.  Lakme and Sigfrid, Ruby’s children are both reminiscent of the complexities of sibling rivalry and teenage angst mixed with uncertainty and a fear they have a hard time admitting.  Rounding out the family are Fa and Granfa, somewhat emasculated and somewhat distant but differently so.  Then add to the mix Clarence, this evening’s nightly invited guest from the outside who has a responsibility for the survival of this family, but is unaware.

Making his directorial debut with ETC is onstage regular Kyle Dagnan.  “It is a great script that forces you to go on a roller coaster of emotions,” he said. “I really hope that the audience leaves asking questions that will lead to an awareness and an acceptance.” 

The cast includes ETC veteran Taryn Bracher in the role of Lakme, new to the 2018 ensemble and in his second role of the year Joseph Watts in the role Sigfrid.  The cast also includes newcomers Ed Huckabee, Jacob Moore and Tori Mattison in the roles of Granfa, Clarence and Ruby.  Rounding out the cast is ETC regular Eric “Red” Wyatt” in the role of Fa.  Stage manager is Elena Nikolaeva, set design is by Martine Cartier (new to ETC and to Chattanooga), costumes are by Kyle Dagnan.

Shortly after announcing the season, ETC received an email from Mr. McNally stating that he was grateful to hear of the production.  As he turns 80 this year, he felt that the production was an amazing and unexpected birthday present.  He credits the success of BUMP in 1964, even though the critics were not favorable of it, as the impetus for his continued career as a playwright.  He said that were it not for the three-week sold out run, he might not have ever felt like he could communicate with an audience.  What a shame that would have been for the history of the American theatre.

Performances will be Sept. 14-22, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at Barking Legs Theatre, 1307 Dodds Ave.  Call 987-5141 for ticket information. 

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