The seventh season of Relative Theatrics is set to continue next week with a play about perception and reality.
“Really,” by Jackie Sibblies Drury, is scheduled to play at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 3 p.m. Feb. 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 5-8 at the Gryphon Theatre, 710 Garfield St. Tickets are $12 in advance or $16 the day of the performance. For students and seniors, tickets are $10 in advance or $14 the day of.
Drury is a prolific young playwright whose 2018 work “Fairview” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Anne Mason, the artistic director and founder of Relative Theatrics, came across “Really,” written in 2014, on a list of under-produced plays written by women, and then again in a magazine article in which Drury discussed the role of art in trying to remedy social injustice.
“I thought this was a play that really speaks to the artistic sensibility of Relative Theatrics, and I think would be well received by Laramie audiences,” she said.
The play focuses on the mother and girlfriend of a deceased photographer as they mourn their loss and explore their relationship with him and with each other, each wanting ownership of his legacy but each with a different perception.
“Throughout their interactions, as well as memories that are seamlessly sewn into the plot, we see these two women grapple to have claim over his legacy while also finding some way to come out on top in their own relationship,” Mason said.
Photography itself plays a central thematic role, exposing the notion that shifting perceptions and variable memories contribute to uncertainty about reality itself. The structure of the play moves from moment to moment, leaving things unspoken in the negative spaces.
“With so many ways to look at the world, can one really say with certainty what happened at a given moment, or what they are looking at, or what they are seeing, or how people feel?” Mason said.
Mason called Drury “a force to be reckoned with” as a playwright, whose work uses stylized methods to close in on race- and gender-based undercurrents that infiltrate everyday interactions.
Relative Theatrics has partnered with Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue at the University of Wyoming in highlighting the production. The UW program bought out the Feb. 5 playing and is offering free admission on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mason said she’s been hoping to collaborate with Days of Dialogue for several years, as a Relative Theatrics production usually coincides with the annual campus event.
“I’m very grateful for the fact that the Days of Dialogue committee wanted to reach out into the community and have more connections between campus and the Laramie community, to have opportunities for community care and celebration, for growth, and for place-making — for allowing us to be the space for these difficult conversations,” she said.
“Really” is directed by Nathaniel Quinn, with a cast that includes Relative Theatrics veterans Justen Glover and Alison Quaggin Harkin. Olivia Cole is new to the Relative Theatrics stage as “Girlfriend.”
Audience seating takes place in the stage, with performances limited to 50 tickets each. Each performance is followed by a chat-back with the cast, crew and a Days of Dialogue representative. The play contains adult themes and language.