After announcing plans to sunset last spring, 4615 Theatre Company has
revealed it will return for one final adventure: the DC-area premiere of award-winning
playwright Anna Ziegler’s dazzlingly poetic, funny, and heartwrenching play A Delicate Ship (December 6–23). Helmed by acclaimed director Jenna Place, the production will take 4615 all the way back to its “play-in-a-house” origins, performing at the aptly named Studio 1469 — a flexible art space built out of a former garage in Columbia Heights.
“We truly had no plans for a final show,” said Jordan Friend, the company’s founder. “Part of the reason we decided to sunset was that our team members were starting to enjoy lots of wonderful opportunities elsewhere, and it felt like the right time to move on,” he said of the company, which produced 30 productions over nearly a decade in the DC area, earning the 2020 John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre.
“Then, life changed a little. A job I was booked for fell through suddenly, and at the same time, this play I’ve been obsessed with since college started to resonate in all new ways as I reached the age of the characters. On an impulse, I sent it to Jenna, who I’ve been dying to work with, and we both sort of went ‘Why don’t we just go for it?’ A few phone calls later, and suddenly we were getting the gang back together for one last rodeo. We got the venue, the rights, and our cast all in the space of about a week, so it’s all felt weirdly meant to be.”
Ziegler’s script is set, ostensibly, on a snowy Christmas Eve in present-day Brooklyn. We are introduced to Sarah and Sam, a new-ish couple spending a quiet holiday over drinks and philosophical debates. An unexpected knock on the door heralds the surprise arrival of Nate, Sarah’s childhood best friend, who comes bearing poetry, recreational drugs, and Cheez Doodles. What follows is a tense tango between three people at turning points in their lives. As the night barrels on, they ricochet between the present and old memories, with each also providing their own commentary directly to the audience.
“We have a whole genre of ‘coming-of-age’ stories. Have any of us ever actually concluded that process, though?” said Jenna Place, whose numerous DC directing credits include Dance Nation at Olney Theatre Center. “Our life is a constant adjustment period. We wake up each day and figure out how to plug the us from yesterday into a world that isn’t the same as we left it mere hours before. We’re constantly growing up. Ziegler captures the difficulty of that struggle to marry the realities of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In doing so I think she writes a kind of ‘coming-of-age’ play for every phase of life. She creates a world that welcomes the lost or shipwrecked alongside those willing to take the risk to embark again. More than that, she gives us freedom to value those extreme responses to the relentless world in equal measure.”
In keeping with the marriage of past, present, and future, 4615 will produce the play at a new venue for the company, but one deeply connected to its origins of creating plays in backyards and living rooms. Studio 1469, a 750-square-foot flexible art space, is a hidden gem in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, tucked away at the end of a cobblestone alley, and built out of a former garage attached to a private residence. “4615 is named for the address of the house where we began, and Studio 1469 is named for its own address, so it truly feels like fate to end our journey here,” said Friend. “I just hope we don’t give anyone a headache with all the numbers.”
Place will direct a cast including prolific DC actors Mary Myers (Sarah) and Stephen Russell
Murray (Sam) as well as Friend (Nate), who will act with the company for the first time since 2016. The company’s executive director, Paige Washington, returns to stage-manage and will co-produce with Friend and Charlotte La Nasa, who also serves as assistant director. “It’s completely surreal and wonderful to have these incredible humans back together for one final adventure,” said Friend. “It feels totally in 4615 fashion that one last show just fell out of the sky.”
Also in 4615 fashion: as a parting thank you, and in keeping with its mission to make dynamic theater accessible, the company has elected to make every single ticket for the run Pay-What-You-Can. Tickets are available now at 4615theatre.com/tickets.
Studio 1469 is located at the rear of 1469 Harvard Street NW, Washington, DC. The “rear” part is essential! It is not the house located at 1469 Harvard Street but rather an arts studio located at the end of the alleyway that runs parallel immediately north of Harvard St. Studio 1469 has created this handy webpage to help you find the venue, including a video: studio1469.com/directions
The space is a seven-minute walk from the Columbia Heights Metro station, as well as
numerous bus stops. If driving, please note that patrons may not park in the alley, so we
recommend arriving early to look for a spot on the street.
The performance space is down a single step (with a railing). A wheelchair ramp is also
available on the premises and may easily be added as needed.
RUNTIME: Approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.
Contains strong language (including sexual references) and drug/alcohol use.
Wednesday, December 6 @8pm
Friday, December 8 @8pm
Wednesday, December 13 @8pm
Friday, December 15 @8pm
Saturday, December 16 @8pm
Sunday, December 17 @3pm
Wednesday, December 20 @8pm
Friday, December 22 @8pm
Saturday, December 23 @3pm AND @8pm
PLEASE NOTE: All Wednesday shows are mask required.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
4615 Theatre began when a group of emerging artists staged a Jacobean tragedy in multiple rooms of a suburban home. In just a few years since, the company has rapidly expanded from backyards and basements into a thriving professional theater; a hub for both reinvigorated classics and ferociously bold new works. 4615 creates “inverted epics”: large, narrative-driven stories brought to new life in an up-close setting. In 2020, the company won the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre.
SEE ALSO: 4615 Theatre Company to sunset at end of year (news story, July 24, 2023)