(Above, left to right: Jonathan Thompson, Tara Wibrew and Scott Machado have lead roles in Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s production of Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Flick”; photo courtesy of OCT)
By Randi Bjornstad
Here’s a tantalizing summary in a promo for “The Flick,” which will be onstage at Oregon Contemporary Theatre through the beginning of February:
In a run-down movie theater in central Massachusetts, three underpaid employees mop the floors and attend to one of the last 35-millimeter film projectors in the state. Their tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks play out in the empty aisles, becoming more gripping than the lackluster, second-run movies on screen. With keen insight and a finely tuned comic eye, ‘The Flick’ is a hilarious and heart-rending cry for authenticity in a fast-changing world.
The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2014 for playwright Annie Baker, whom OCT artistic director Craig Willis describes as “unquestionably one of the finest writers in contemporary American Drama. And ‘The Flick’ offers a genuinely unique experience that can only happen in live theatre.”
Kudos for Baker did not stop with the Pulitzer. Baker, who turns 37 in April, also won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2017. She has received a half-dozen other major awards and fellowships for playwriting, and her full-length plays in addition to “The Flick” — John, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Body Awareness and Uncle Vanya — have won multiple awards and been produced internationally.
Baker’s biography is understandably short. She grew up in Massachusetts, where her father worked in college administration and her mother pursued a doctorate in psychology. She has one brother, who also is a writer. Baker graduated from New York University with a degree in dramatic writing and then earned a master’s in fine arts in playwriting from Brooklyn College.
A Wikipedia entry describes one of her early jobs as “a guest-wrangler helping to oversee contestants” on a TV reality show, ‘The Bachelor.’ ”
John Schmor directs the OCT production, which features veteran OCT actors Scott Machado, Jonathan Thompson and Tara Wibrew, plus two actors making their debut appearances at OCT, Geno Franco and Sheldon Hall.
The technical crew includes scenic designer Craig Willis, sound and projection by Bradley Branam, props designer Gabe Carlin, with costumes by Kelly Keiler, and lighting by Michael Peterson. Production stage manager is Jennifer Sandgathe.
As usual, OCT offers two “preview performances” before the official run of the show. Those are on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, with a suggested price of $15 per seat, and will be performed on Jan. 10 and 11.
The regular run of the show begins with an opening night show and after-party on Jan. 12 and a ticket price of $35, with tickets for the rest of the run ranging from $20-$39, ending Feb. 3.
“The Flick” at OCT
When: 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 10-13, 18-20, 25-27 and Feb. 1-3; 2 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 28, with a “talk-back” after the matinees
Where: 194 W. Broadway, Eugene
Tickets: $15 general admission for preview shows; $35 for opening night and after-party; $20-39 for all other performances, available at the box office, 541-465-1506, or online at octheatre.org/