Azuka Playwright Val Dunn Aims to Spread Queer Radical Joy

Paige Whitman (Crash) & Anna Faye Lieberman (Rach) in Azuka Theatre’s production of Carroll County Fix.
Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Azuka Theatre presents the World Premiere of Carroll County Fix By Val Dunn, directed by Priyanka Shetty. The show runs now through March 20, 2022, at the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake (302 S. Hicks Street). Azuka continues its continued dedication to supporting local artists and raising up Philadelphia voices. Dunn is part of the Azuka New Pages Writer’s Group and the show features a who’s who of experienced and emerging local artists. For this production,  amid a chorus of croaking frogs, rattling pill bottles, wry humor and heartfelt humanity, Carroll County Fix pushes past small-town clichés to explore the deep currents of change wracking rural communities. The cast for Carroll County Fix includes Lorenza Bernasconi (she/her) as Tess, Anna Faye Lieberman (she/they) as Rach, Paige Whitman (she/they) as Crash, Adam Howard (he/him) as Stinky Pete and Steven Anthony Wright (he/him) as Paul. Azuka continues its pay-what-you-decide model for this show where audiences are invited to experience the art on stage and pay based on the value of their experience after. For reservations, visit www.azukatheatre.org. Carroll County Fix runs 100 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for ages 13+. The 2021-2022 season is presented with support from sponsor Harmelin Media. For the health and safety of patrons, cast, crew and staff, Azuka will require that audience members present proof of vaccination and wear a mask while in the venue,aligning with the safety protocols outlined by Theatre Philadelphia.

Carroll County Fix is a World Premiere by a Philadelphia playwright.  This summer, Tess has a plan: make a boundary-pushing documentary in the local Walmart parking lot, get a full-ride to a fancy film school, and say goodbye to Carroll County for good. With her best friend Rach home from college, now’s the time to make it happen. But as these two try to tell their town’s story, they find themselves asking: do they still agree on what that story is?

"Carroll County Fix by Val Dunn takes us out of the city to a town that was once rural, but is now an exurban area outside of Baltimore. This play is inhabited by young people with big dreams and their parents who don’t quite understand them. All of these characters are completely unique and utterly relatable at the same time. A lot of us have spent extra time with our loved ones and in deep reflection mode over the past year and a half, and will relate to the shifting relationships and desires for something MORE that these characters are grappling with. Carroll County Fix is part small town story, part romance, part family drama, part laugh-out-loud comedy. This one is for the dreamer in all of us."
Reva Stover
Artistic Director

For Carroll County Fix, Azuka is proud to work again this season with Val Dunn (she/her), who is a member of the company’s New Pages program. New Pages is Azuk’a Writer’s Group that was created to give local playwrights a truly writer-centric space to develop their work.

Dunn is a writer/deviser who creates plays, zines, and radical queer joy. Her work possesses a strong sense of place and tackles issues of class and dykehood while pushing against the limitations of form. Val developed Carroll County Fix with Core Playwrights, the in-house writers group at InterAct Theatre Company. Val’s writing has also been presented at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philly Theatre Week, Philly SoLow Fest, You Can’t Fail @ Tattooed Mom, and The Museum of the American Revolution. Her play Down in the Holler is the winner of the 2020 Trustus Playwrights’ Festival and will receive its world premiere production at Trustus Theatre in 2023. Val is a member at large of Azuka Theatre’s New Pages, an alumna of Core Playwrights @ InterAct Theatre Company, and an alumna of the Foundry @ Play Penn. Her work has additionally been supported by Play Penn, the Orchard Project, the Leeway Foundation, Signal Fire, Centrum Arts, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, SANDBOX, and Washington College. Val holds a B.A. with honors in drama and English from Washington College where she received the Stewart Award for Drama, The Mary Martin Prize, The Jude & Miriam Pfister Poetry Prize, The William W. Warner Prize for Writing on the Environment, The Literary House Genre Fiction Prize, and was a finalist for the Sophie Kerr prize in Literature. Other Plays: Johnny Depp: A Retrospective On Late-Stage Capitalism (with Jenna Kuerzi), Now More Than Ever, and O, Possum! Val is the founder of The Reminder Plays Project — a free database of queer plays by queer Philly playwrights.

Carroll County Fix is directed by Priyanka Shetty (she/her), an award-winning actor, director, and playwright. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM has been performed at numerous venues across the country including The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and will be staged at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Assembly Festival. Priyanka recently made her Off-Broadway debut with her second solo play #CHARLOTTESVILLE at the Drama Desk award-winning 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh” Festival. She was also handpicked for the prestigious Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive 2021, where she developed THE WALL, the final play in her triptych of solos. Priyanka earned a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Virginia and has served on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Department of Drama.

 

For the cast, Shetty will direct Lorenza Bernasconi (she/her) as Tess, Anna Faye Lieberman (she/they) as Rach, Paige Whitman (she/they) as Crash, Adam Howard (he/him) as Stinky Pete and Steven Anthony Wright (he/him) as Paul.

For the production team, Carroll County Fix includes Jack McManus (Scenic Design), Bless Rudisill (Lighting Design), Anna Sorrentino (Costume Design), Ava Weintweig (Sound Design), Saria Rosenhaj (Properties), Eli Lynn (Intimacy Director), Hunter Smith (Stage Manager), Quinn D. Eli (Dramaturg), Lauren A. Tracy (Production Manager), Joe Daniels (Technical Director), Eilis Skamarakas (Assistant Stage Manager), Dirk Durossette (Scenic Mentor), J. Dominic Chacon (Lighting Mentor), Ariel Wang (Costumes Mentor), Damien Figueras (Sound Mentor), Amanda Hatch/Avista Custom Theatrical (Properties Mentor), Flannel & Hammer (Scenic Construction).

SHOW SCHEDULE

Run of Show
Wednesdays to Sundays, March 2 to March 20, 2022

Closing Night
Sunday, March 20, 2022

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