"A sonic glow as entrancing as a phosphorescent sea. Vocally complex, rich and consistently surprising, Catherine Brookman’s music elevates the play onto another plane"--The New York Times

"A simple yet transcendent production that invites us into its organically fantastical world"--Stage Buddy

New Ohio Theatre and Rady&Bloom present


Written and directed by Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady
Music by Catherine Brookman

MAY 22 - JUNE 12
TUES - SAT at 8 PM

An Archive Residency Production, in collaboration with IRT Theater

"A haunting & palpably human soundscape.” - American Theater Magazine

"Rising stars in the indie theatre world” - TDF Stages

Featuring: Catherine Brookman*, Tjasa Ferme, Dana Kaplan-Angle, Govind Kumar, Robert Gadol Lavenstein, Joyce Miller, Stacy Ayn Price, Julia Sirna-Frest*, Heather Thiry, and Joe White

The Upper Room is a new play with original music inspired by the back-to-the-land movement. Set on an island way off the north coast of Maine, the last participants of a once thriving commune meet the sea. Anxious and restless, the quorum gathers around the table in their upper room to confront the rising water and certain members’ curious ailments. A darkly humorous consideration of spirituality and the dangers of our changing environment combines with a live mixed score, antique scuba suits and an overhead projector to create a brand new music theater event.

The tenets of the back-to-the-land movement are more relevant than ever today, with rising sea levels in New York City, and the introduction of miles of pipeline beneath our feet. How can we find simple quality food? How can we relate to the earth? How can we react to a rapidly changing ecosystem? Aided by myth and offbeat religious practice, a strange new possibility for sustainability and survival emerges from these questions.

Inspirational sources include the lives of Helen and Scott Nearing (authors of "The Good Life"), the grandmother/grandfather of the back-to-the-land/ homesteading movement. The play is also inspired by Iris Murdoch's novels "The Bell" and "The Unicorn," by Karen Blixen's short story "Babette's Feast," and by selkie and mermaid legends at large.

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Lighting Design: Jay Ryan
Sound Design: Lee Kinney
Set/Costumes/Props: Rady&Bloom

*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association

Rady&Bloom creates new music plays, and numerous immersive multi-media events with an ever growing ensemble of emerging performers and composers in NYC. Commissioned by The Archive Residency, The Upper Room has been developed with support from New Ohio Theatre, IRT, The Drama League Artist Residency, Judson Church, and LMCC MCAF. Previous works include The Girl of the Golden West (Ice Factory, Ars Nova), Lameness of a Horse (The Brick, Expano), The Orange Person (IRT), La Boheme Spoken (the cell), Peter/Wendy (the cell, and throughout the country, published by Playscripts). radyandbloom.com

The Archive Residency is generously supported, in part, with funds from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and The Mental Insight Foundation.

The Upper Room was developed as part of the Drama League Artist Residency Program, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Process Space program. The Upper Room is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC.net).

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