by Maya Macdonald
New Feet Productions
LEAVE THE BALCONY OPEN is a play about grief and survival. It follows college students struggling to deal with a shocking number of deaths among their peers. From the moment I encountered it in its most nascent form, I was riveted by playwright Maya Macdonald’s singular voice and the extraordinary story she was telling.
Over the course of several years, Maya and I collaborated on numerous readings and workshops as we honed the story. The play gained and lost characters, changed titles, found its narrative footing. We created a little tribe of people who shared our commitment, collaborating with the same actors again and again.
I was proud to see BALCONY through from earliest days to its world premiere production with New Feet. We opened in February 2012 at 3LD.
BALCONY works like so many contemporary plays: lots of locales, and scores of short, intercut scenes. When I started to think about how to stage it, I knew I had to give it the flow of one long scene, rather than many short ones. The characters’ lives have been frozen by chaos and grief. Set designer Gabe Evansohn’s astonishing set made that idea literal: shards of wood, glass and shrapnel in suspended animation, time stopped at the moment of explosion.
Cast: Heidi Armbruster, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Betsy Hogg, Julie Kline, Jared McGuire, Anna O’Donoghue, Mary Rasmussen
Designers: Gabriel Hainer Evansohn, Sydney Gallas, Jesse Garrison, Cat Tate Starmer, Brandon Wolcott
“Director Jessica Bauman elicits top-notch performances. These talented actors, almost all of whom have Broadway credits, flesh out Macdonald’s resonant work in grade-A fashion.” – Backstage.