By George Basler
KNOW Theatre is continuing to present online productions even as its management hopes to be back on its downtown Binghamton stage this fall.
Following a virtual presentation of One Person, streamed online in January, KNOW Theatre will debut Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries for on-demand virtual performances April 22-30.
The unconventional, two-character play charts the relationship between Doug and Kayleen, who first meet in the nurse’s office of their elementary school when they are eight years old. The non-linear narrative follows them over a 30-year period as they meet in a series of infirmaries while grappling with physical and emotional problems, including broken families and self-abuse.
The play is “a dark comedy” about how human beings connect with each other and the power of friendship, said Jessica Nogaret, who plays Kayleen.
Joseph is an American playwright who has had 14 plays produced over the past two decades. One work, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 2010 and ran on Broadway with Robin Williams in the title role. Joseph also wrote for seasons 3 and 4 of the Showtime TV series Nurse Jackie and co-wrote the films Draft Day and Army of One.
Gruesome Playground Injuries’ atypical structure features eight scenes in non-chronological order, said Tim Gleason, artistic director of the company, which specializes in staging off-beat and provocative plays. Another unorthodox move has the actors apply makeup and change costumes on stage.
The KNOW production was recorded in sequence on the company’s stage with Jeff Tagliaferro and Scott Fisher working as videographers and editors. “We shot it in sequence so that it looks like a play,” Gleason said.
Co-starring with Nogaret is Joshua Sedelmeyer. The two, who are a couple in real life, have performed in numerous local and regional productions. The director is Bernie Sheredy, who has performed in plays and movies both regionally and nationally.
The plan is for KNOW to be back onstage this fall, pending guidance from health officials, Gleason said, adding “In the meanwhile, we’re proud to present a few quality productions online.”
KNOW’s virtual production in January broke even, and Gleason hopes to do even better with Gruesome Playground Injuries, because the online streaming will be available for viewing whenever people want to watch it over the nine-day period.
As audience members view Joseph’s play, “I really hope the find the comfort of friendship, and what it means to be human,” Nogaret said.
Tickets for on-demand viewing of Gruesome Playground Injuries are $20; purchase online at www.showtix4u.com/event-details/50537.