NEAT, BY CHARLAYNE WOODARD is masterful storytelling richly drawn from the playwright’s own life. The play focuses on the teenage years of an African-American girl whose family moves from the South to the North in the turbulent 1960’s. Part of the family is Aunt Neat, who was inadvertently poisoned as a baby resulting in brain damage and a life-long disability. Initially, young Charlayne adores her Aunt Neat, who seems like another child, but their relationship is tested as Charlayne becomes an adolescent. The story of the bond between these two is set against the struggles of typical teenage angst made tougher by outside prejudice and misunderstanding.
Directing the piece is Kitchen Theatre favorite Sara Lampert Hoover, director of last season’s The Tricky Part, as well as Yellowman, Souvenir, The Syringa Tree, and numerous others. “When Rachel offered me Neat by Charlayne Woodard to direct next season I immediately said ‘yes.’ I was first introduced to Woodard’s plays when I directed Pretty Fire at the Kitchen in 1999. Her work presents a director’s dream of theatrical possibilities. I am excited to re-connect with her intimate, soulful and joyous storytelling.”
Playing all the roles, from the teenaged Charlayne, to the guileless Neat, to tough guy Charles Bowman and a host of relatives, teachers, and friends is Karen Pittman (member, AEA). New to the Kitchen Theatre, Pittman’s credits include film and television roles (30 Rock, Law and Order, One Life to Live and more) and onstage roles at the Kennedy Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, and McCarter Theatre, among others. She also understudied the role of Mom for the Broadway and film versions of Passing Strange.
The Franziska Racker Centers is partnering with the Kitchen Theatre Company to help broaden the audience for this production. The Racker Centers encourage all to gain a deeper understanding of disabilities, celebrating diversity and interdependence in our community.
Ed Intemann is the Lighting Designer for Neat and Sarah Bertolozzi is the Costume Designer. The Production Stage Manager is LaShawn Keyser. Performances will be at the Kitchen Theatre, located at 417 W. State / Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in downtown Ithaca, NY. Tickets are available at the Ticket Center (visit 171 The Commons, or call 607-273-4497) and online at www.kitchentheatre.org.