In conjunction with InterAct’s mainstage production of THE RANT, Andrew Case’s thought-provoking new drama exploring the link between inner-city crime and personal bias, InterAct will present the first public performance of CITY OF NUMBERS, a new play addressing inner-city crime based on interviews with prison inmates, victims’ families, and other Philadelphia residents affected by violent crimes. Subtitled “mixtape of a city...” and written by Sean Christopher Lewis, who developed the play during his tenure as emerging-playwright-in-residence at InterAct last season, CITY OF NUMBERS is being presented as a collaboration between InterAct’s InterAction education program and The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, funded by a grant from the Violette de Mazia foundation. CITY OF NUMBERS will be presented in preview performances on InterAct's home at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., on Thursday and Friday, February 19 and 20, at 10 p.m., with an opening performance on Saturday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m. The play will then be performed in Spring 2009 at St. Gabriel’s Hall and Graterford Prison, where much of the playwright’s research, including inmate interviews, were conducted.
ABOUT THE PLAY
The summer of 2008, the City of Philadelphia found itself in the midst of a murder epidemic. Comparable to that of a third world country, Philadelphia’s murder rate had become so pervasive that the city was commonly referred to as housing “more bodies than days.” Exploring the issue of crime through interviews and narratives, CITY OF NUMBERS introduces us to inmates at Graterford Prison, located just west of Philadelphia. These inmates are men who have been employed to create murals towards the beautification of the city, even as they serve life sentences for murder. Exploring multiple perspectives, CITY OF NUMBERS also presents the voices of victims of violent crimes and their families,as well as Mayor Michael Nutter, hip hop artists, ER doctors and people on the street – all to provide a clearer picture of the city in which we live. Culled entirely from interviews, blog entries, recorded, and documented television, CITY OF NUMBERS is a stunning and shocking portrait of the City of Brotherly Love.
Artwork by Luis ‘Suave’ Gonzalez, inmate, SCI Graterford
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
SEAN CHRISTOPHER LEWIS is the inaugural recipient of the Rosa Parks Award for Social Justice in Playwriting from the Kennedy Center. A former National New Play Network Emerging Playwright in Residence at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, he has toured his critically-lauded solo shows I WILL MAKE YOU ORPHANS (Uno Festival of Solo Performance, Available Light 01 Festival, Equinox Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Center for Independent Artists, Galapagos Art Space, Hyde Park Theatre, TIXE Arts Center, Bowery Poetry Club) and THE GONE CHAIR (Penn State University's Cultural Conversations Festival, Openstage Harrisburg's Flying Solo Festival, Riverside Theatre). His other plays include MILITANT LANGUAGE (nationally-premiered at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Halcyon Theatre of Chicago, Bang and Clatter in Cleveland and Theater for the New City in NY) and THE APERTURE (Cleveland Public Theatre). Mr. Lewis has been a playwriting fellow at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and has had his work developed at the PlayPenn New Play Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Orlando Shakespeare Festival’s Harriet Lake Festival of New Work and at the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. Also a noted actor, he has worked Off-Broadway at the Pearl Theatre, in NYC at La Mama ETC, and regionally with companies like the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and mostly recently in the feature films GOD COUNTRY and BLOOD FANTASY.
All three performances of CITY OF NUMBERS are FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. For reservations, call InterAct's box office at 215.568.8079. For more information, visit InterAct’s website at http://www.interacttheatre.org/ or Mural Arts program’s website at http://www.muralarts.org/.