Playwright Tommy Smith returns to The Flea and once again brings you to the brink with the New York Premiere of WHITE HOT. In her directorial debut, the production will be helmed by Flea Resident Director Courtney Ulrich starring The Bats, the resident Acting Company at The Flea. Previews begin April 26 with opening night slated for May 7.
In WHITE HOT, Lil, married and pregnant, tries to find salvation in a simple life. Her sister, Sis, escapes reality through the abuse of drugs and vacant sexual relationships. Their lives collide in an epic portrait of self-destruction, led by Lil's oblivious husband Bri, and a sexual mercenary named Grig. A brutal comedy about how cruel we can be to the ones we love, when we want what they have.
In his introduction to the play in New York Theatre Review, Craig Lucas writes "[Tommy Smith] is writing in the shadow of our most daring and politically incendiary of martyred playwright saints, Sarah Kane and Edward Bond ... WHITE HOT is bleak terrain, a buried cesspool of self-loathing and unseemly, sadistic yearnings in love. The play can be read as a critique of the deadening fallout of our reactionary, materialistic, exploitative and soulless era. It can be read as a bad dream or a soap opera about the banality of evil. However you read it, it doesn't go down easy."
Tommy Smith's work includes Nectarine EP (The Flea Theater), Lotus Eaters EP (IRT Theater), Pigeon (Ensemble Studio Theatre; dir. Billy Carden), The Wife (Access Gallery; dir. May Adrales), White Hot (HERE Arts Center; dir. May Adrales), Sextet (Washington Ensemble Theatre; dir. Roger Benington), PTSD (Ensemble Studio Theatre; dir. Billy Carden), Air Conditioning (Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference; dir. Steve Cosson), among others. His work has also appeared at PS 122, The Ontological Theatre, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, The Yale Cabaret; internationally, he has been produced in Prague, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Montreal, Berlin and Athens. His award-winning theatrical collaborations with Reggie Watts have played at The Public Theatre, Lamama, The Warhol Museum, MCA Chicago, ICA Boston, On The Boards and PICA: TBA, among others. He is the recipient of the PONY fellow at The Lark, a two-time winner of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize, a recipient of the E.S.T. Sloan Grant, a winner of the Page 73 Productions Playwriting Fellowship, and a recipient of the Creative Capital award. Publications include Pigeon for Dramatists Play Service, WHITE HOT in the New York Theatre Review. Recently, his feature film Figment was optioned by Ridley Scott's Production Company ScottFree. He is a graduate of the playwriting program at The Juilliard School. He lives in New York City.
Courtney Ulrich is a NY-based director, with a BA in Theater and Performance Studies from Georgetown University. In New York, she has worked with New Dramatists, Target Margin Theater, The Foundry Theatre, Rising Circle Rep, Dixon Place, The Culture Project and Powerhouse/NYSAF at Vassar College, in LA with Cornerstone Theater Company, and in DC with Sojourn Theatre Company and Arena Stage. She is a Resident Director at The Flea Theater.
The Bats are the resident Acting Company members of The Flea Theater. Each year over a thousand actors audition for a place in this unique company. The Bats perform in extended runs of challenging classic and new plays. The Bats have recently appeared in premieres by A.R. Gurney, Will Eno, Adam Rapp, Beau Willimon, Mac Wellman, Elizabeth Swados, Thomas Bradshaw, Itamar Moses, Sheila Callaghan, Julian Sheppard, Ken Urban, Tommy Smith, Jonathan Reynolds, Trista Baldwin, Laurel Haines, Qui Nguyen, Sean Graney, and Amy Freed.
The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading off-off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson's The Guys, seven plays by A.R. Gurney (O Jerusalem, Screenplay, Mrs. Farnsworth, Post Mortem, A Light Lunch, Office Hours and Heresy), Cellophane and Two September by Mac Wellman, Ashley Montana Goes Ashore... and The Oldsmobiles by Roger Rosenblatt; JABU and Kaspar Hauser by Elizabeth Swados; Return of the Chocolate Smeared Woman by Karen Finley, Bingo with the Indians by Adam Rapp, Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations by Will Eno, Dawn and Job by Thomas Bradshaw, Love/Stories (or But You Will Get Used to it) Itamar Moses, The Great Recession, Girls in Trouble by Jonathan Reynolds, Parents' Evening by Bathsheba Doran, Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks, the Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen, the Drama Desk nominated These Seven Sicknesses by Sean Graney, I Hate Fucking Mexicans by Luis Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio, Amy Freed's Restoration Comedy and Hamish Linklater's The Vandal.
WHITE HOT runs April 26 - May 26 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 10pm; Sundays and Mondays at 7pm; additional performances on Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8 at 5pm and Thursday, May 23 at 10pm. The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines. Tickets are $30 with limited $15 and $20 tickets available each performance based on availability. Tickets go on sale to Flea Theater Members immediately; tickets are on sale to the general public starting March 5, available by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.