Denizen Theatre Welcomes Community Members to Black Box to Announce 2019-2020 Winter Season Lineup

Black box theatre became popular during the 1960s as an experimental type of theatre and is coming back into style today.

Drum roll please—the Denizen Theatre has announced their 2019/2020 winter season.

Excited theatre patrons filled the intimate black box theatre on Saturday, Sept. 28 to hear what the Denizen has in store for the community. 

“After a year’s worth of shows, it was wonderful to see so many familiar and new faces at the winter season announcement,” said Denizen’s Co-Artistic Director Ben Williamson. “As we strive to build a sense of community at Denizen, it was really special to see lots of people there excited about what we have planned for the winter.”

At the intimate black box theatre, the theatre’s directors predominantly look for plays that have four actors or less, and speak to the human condition.

To kick off the winter season, the east coast premiere of “Christmastown” will debut from Dec. 4 through Dec. 29. Directed by Denizen’s own Williamson, “Christmastown” is a hysterical holiday show that is perfect for all ages. It tells the story of a hard-boiled private eye, Nick Holiday, as he searches for the truth about Santa Claus. Told with comedic wit, Holiday navigates the underbelly of Christmastown to help solve his case and meets some ridiculous characters along the way. 

“Something that was brought up a great deal this past season was that people are interested in the work we do, but they want to also expose their families to it,” said Denizen’s Co-Artistic Director Brittany Proia. “So for our first show of our winter season we were seeking something that was new and challenging, but also could be appropriate for a family, not just an adult audience.”

From Jan. 29, 2020 to March 1, 2020, the Denizen will put on the regional premiere of “Bo-Nita.” This unique, dark comedy is explored through the eyes of 13-year-old Bo-Nita, attempting to make sense of her working-class American existence.

What makes this particular play so compelling is that it is a one-woman show, starring Terri Weagant, but she will be transforming herself into nearly half a dozen characters, including her mother, step-father and people she meets along her journey. 

“[Terri] is a chameleon. Her training is in solo performance so she will be using almost nothing except her body, her voice and her mannerisms to transform herself into several different people,” Proia said. “I’m so excited to see how the audience will react to it.” 

To conclude the winter season, the regional premiere of “Smudge,” directed by Denizen Founder Harry Lipstein, will play from April 1, 2020 to May 3, 2020. Reminiscent of “Twilight Zone,” “Smudge” tells the tale of a couple having a baby for the first time. It fleshes out postpartum depression, what we think a child is supposed to look like, and what we think love is supposed to be. 

Audiences beware. This play will demand questions like “what is real?” “what is actually happening?” and “what is in the characters’ heads?”

“With the rest of the season, we seek to create a tapestry of work of different styles, of different topics and different opportunities for production so not every show looks the same or explores the same theme,” Proia said. 

The Denizen Theatre’s mission is to “explore what it means to be human in all its duality and complexity, producing new works that provoke, challenge and inspire often ignored conversations.” Their winter productions aim to do just that. 

“Each of these shows has something to offer to anyone,” Williamson said. “Our accessible ticket prices, our Pay-What-You-Can first and second Wednesdays, our $5 student tickets and panel discussions are important for us as denizens, to come together and experience professional live theatre is a safe, creative and respectful environment.”

Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime theatrical experience. The Denizen Theatre’s box office is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. For more information about tickets, call 845-303-4136.

Nicole Zanchelli
About Nicole Zanchelli 82 Articles
Nicole Zanchelli is a fourth-year journalism major with a sociology and Italian studies minor. This is her third semester on The Oracle. Previously, she worked as a sports assistant copy editor, an arts & entertainment copy editor and features copy editor. Her favorite articles to read and write deal with exposing corruption and analyzing social injustices.