FARMINGTON – Emery Community Arts Center invites you to come take a deep breath and see the play, “Small Mouth Sounds,” written by playwright Bess Wohl and directed by Gavin Pickering. There will be three performances, April 6, 7, and 8 at 7p.m..
“Small Mouth Sounds” is critically acclaimed, described by The New York Times as “an enchanting new play… as funny as it is quietly moving… a model of ingenuity.” Critics from The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and The New York Post all chose the play as a “Best Of” pick in 2016. The show was originally performed off-Broadway and had a national touring show. Within the dramedy, the six characters are asked to abandon their comforts and connect with each other.
“Filled with awkward and insightful humor, this play follows 6 strangers as they grapple with immense personal challenges at a hippie-dippie silent retreat,” the director Gavin Pickering said. “The silence speaks volumes.”
Pickering chose to put on this play after its popularity during the pandemic thanks to its ability to be performed easily over Zoom, as well as the show’s unique and wide variety of characters.
“I thought it would be fun to explore the more physical/awkward comedy of these characters trying to be quiet at this silent retreat while things like a bear attack are happening.”
The cast of “Small Mouth Sounds”:
The Teacher – Kyla Wheeler
Joan – Lis Carlson
Judy – Brianna Rush
Alicia – Michaela Carney
Ned – Peter Osborne
Rodney – Trevor Hall
Jan – Jeffrey Thomson
Pickering is currently a mental health counselor at the University of Maine Farmington. Pickering himself graduated from UMF with a theatre minor and later went on to study drama therapy in graduate school at UMaine Orono. During his time at UMaine, Pickering directed “The Laramie Project” as a part of his role as LBGT Services Coordinator, using performance to explore both mental health and social issues.
Pickering has plenty of directing experience. He has directed multiple iterations of “The Vagina Monologues” in conjunction with Emery Community Arts Center, and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Sparrow’s Nest Theater in Industry. He has also directed “The Cage,” a part of the San Quentin Drama Workshop and the first play to be written and performed by a prisoner. Pickering was given special permission from Rick Cluchey, the late playwright, to do so. He has also acted in many plays, including “American Dreams,” “Death of a Salesman,” and “Into the Woods,” all performed at Emery.
“Emery is a great space for these kind of small but interesting, almost “experimental” type of plays,” Pickering said. “I hope there are more shows like this in the future of Emery!”
Tickets will be on sale at the door. The show runs for 90 minutes without intermission. The show on Thursday, April 6 is pay-what-you-want. For the following shows, tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for students with IDs. Due to adult themes and language, the show is recommended for an audience of ages 13 and over.