gUN COUNTRY & The AssignmentApril 19th thru May 7th at The Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theater at A.R.T./NY
The world premiere of The Assignment, an original play by Camilo Almonacid, developed by Houses on the Moon Theater Company, in association with Rhymes Over Beats, and directed by Emily Joy Weiner, will feature Erick Betancourt as Julian J. Torres, and Karen Kandel as Helen Payne in this two-character play about an English Professor who is shaken when a student’s personal essay reopens long buried wounds.
The Assignment was inspired by a remarkable friendship between two individuals brought together by storytelling workshops facilitated by Houses on the Moon Theater Company: A woman who founded a youth violence prevention program after her teenage son was murdered by street violence, and a man who found education and rehabilitation while serving 17 years in prison for manslaughter. Though a fictionalization, the seeds of the play were born from a mother’s desire to understand what caused another to take her son’s life, and a man’s need to express remorse and to try to reach lost young people before they take arms. The play explores the long-term emotional toll of violence from both sides of the gun barrel, and the struggle to forgive others and ourselves.
Running in repertory with The Assignment is gUN COUNTRY, a sneak peek into Houses on the Moon’s creative process of developing new work. Curated by Jeffery Solomon and Emily Joy Weiner, gUN COUNTRY is a collection of true stories written, developed and presented by Houses on the Moon Theater Company members and members of the community whose lives have been touched by guns. Jenna Worsham is the director of the evolving new work. This program has been described by audiences as powerful, soul stirring, deeply moving, surprising, hopeful, and even humorous. The Assignment was inspired by this process.