The Wrestling Season, a groundbreaking play commissioned by the Coterie and written by Laurie Brooks, performs at the Coterie Theatre, Crown Center Shops, January 24 to February 19. The drama about the destructive power of rumors is a co-production with UMKC Theatre.
The play holds up a mirror to high school life today, and reflects it back to the audience. The setting is only a wrestling mat, as eight teenagers struggle with the effects of rumor and innuendo in their high school lives. All of the action is wrestled, and a referee is present to guide the action along, and engage the audience in a post-performance forum that is built into every performance.
“You don’t just light a fuse and walk away,” said Jeff Church, Coterie artistic producing director and director of The Wrestling Season post-performance forum, referring to the play’s forum. “You have this great chance to continue the conversation. The audience gets to give advice to the character and they can truly buy into the ability to erase the fourth wall completely. Audiences are then truly willing to suspend their disbelief.”
Originally commissioned by the Coterie in 2000,The Wrestling Season is considered to be one of the most important plays in the Coterie’s history. The current production has been updated by the playwright to include the power of social media, especially facebook, in the script and conversation.
“Social pressures are occurring earlier in school, and the power of rumors is taking hold,” Church said. “Even junior high school kids are feeling the pressure to be sexually active, a topic that is covered in The Wrestling Season. The increase in digital abuse – cyber bullying and digital dating abuse – is astounding. It is important to teach kids to build up their coping skills.”
The Coterie is partnering with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and Crittenton Children’s Center in order to provide audience members with relevant information and resources.
The Wrestling Season is the second production in the Coterie’s Preteen/Young Adults Series and is funded in part by the Child Protection Center, Kansas City; Missouri Arts Council (MAC) and the ArtsKC Fund.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
The cast: Eva Biro, Greg Brostrom, Rufus Burns, Sam Cordes, Kelly Gibson, Andrea Morales, Tosin Morohunfola, Francisco Villegas, and Meredith Wolfe.
The artistic and Production Company includes Leigh Miller (director), Jeff Church(post-performance forum direction), Lee Berhorst (set design), Georgianna Buchanan (costume design), Art Kent (lighting design), David Kiehl (sound design), Amy M. Abels Owen (production stage manager),Scott Hobart(technical director- Coterie), Matt Carter (technical director – UMKC), Amanda Boyle (dramaturg), Ivan Dario Cano (production assistant) and Brandon Clark (production assistant).
The Coterie Theatre, now in its 33nd Season and named “One of the Five Best Theaters for Young Audiences in the U.S.” by TIME magazine, is located on level one of Crown Center Shops. The Wrestling Season performs January 24 – February 19, Tuesdays through Sundays.
Opening Night January 27 audiences are invited to a free post-performance reception with director and cast members and comedy spoof by The Culture Hacks, the Coterie’s teen comedy troupe. Free question and answer sessions about the show and “how it’s done” will take place after the 2 p.m. performances January 28 and29. In addition, resources for parents and educators are available at www.coterietheatre.org.
Individual Tickets are $10 for youth, students and seniors age 60 and up; $15 for adults; $9 for Season Ticket holders. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets may be purchased online at www.coterietheatre.org or by calling the Coterie box office (816) 474-6552 from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.TARGET Saturdays: Free ticketperorder; restrictions apply, not available online.