Houston Thunderclap makes noise with two MATCH productions

(L to R) Alan Dongho Kim (Kenny), Anthony Quinn Berry (Benji) and Jordan Merritt (Edith) in Thunderclap Productions’ Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them at MATCH.

Photo: Photo credit: Aaron Alon

Thunderclap Productions of Houston is making its presence felt by staging of them is playing MATCH this month. One is ‘Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them’, which features three children facing extreme challenges (through July 10), and ‘Simprov’, a world premiere black comedy from the award-winning playwright Obie Laurence Klavan (July 15-24).

Director Trin Việt Hồ describes “Edith can shoot things and hit them” as a drama focusing on the consequences of 12-year-old Edith’s decisions using an air rifle. “Abandoned and left to fend for themselves, three children – Edith, her older brother and her boyfriend – create their own chosen family. After Edith takes her role as protector a little too seriously, the adult world erupts , eager to tear them from each other. Edith faces the obstacles of determining your own destiny, navigating sexuality and first love, and letting go.

The drama explores coming-of-age issues, including his first love.

“Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” and “Simprov”

When: ‘Edith’ runs from July 1 to 10; ‘Simprov’ runs from July 15-24.

Where: Matchbox 1, Midtown Arts and Theater Center 3400 Main St.

Details: Select Pay-What-You-Can nights; $10-25; 713.521.4533; matchouston.org

This coin is part of Thunderclap’s award-winning John Steven Kellett Commemorative Series, which has an annual production “addressing equality and pushing back against LGBTQ+ discrimination”.

She recalls that “when I first read this piece, I felt like it was a gift both to the artists who worked in it and to the audience who would see it. A. Rey Pamatmat writes these characters with an authenticity very rare for Asian American and queer representation in theater. Audiences will join these bold characters as they navigate extremes of love, loss, and hope that will ultimately empower people.

“Simprov” is a surreal, dark comedy that has some serious issues rooted in the narrative, including the negative impact of technology on personal relationships.

Director William Grayson says, “What I find most fascinating about ‘Simprov’ is the search for identity. Our characters grapple with a landscape where technology is changing faster than they can keep up.

“We have two sets of characters, a married couple and two young actors. Alan and Barbara, our married couple, are in a state of complacency after years of marriage,” he continues. “Barbara feels the desire for something more in her life and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that drives a wedge in her marriage. Her husband is ill-equipped to help her and finds himself on the outside trying to look inside.

As the drama progresses, Young Actors Anonymous take a different path: “Our young actors are shunned and relegated to a bunch of unwanted toys, often taking humiliating jobs just to stay relevant. While extreme, this play feeds on the contemporary anxieties of an ever-changing digital landscape and the relationship between who we are and who we present.

Part of the drama of the play is watching the lives of these two couples intersect.

As for the issues addressed by the play, he adds: “’Simprov’ takes place in a world that is very similar to our own. Celebrities are revered. Marriages struggle with age. But there is also something slightly sinister at its heart. The need to be valued beyond our individual intrinsic worth as human beings is explored in this piece.

When asked what he would like audiences to take away from this play, Grayson said, “I always want audiences to leave the theater feeling a little more connected to humanity than when they arrived. I hope they can see their own struggles over organizing. Their own triumphs too. There are aspects of this play that are laugh-out-loud and others that are deeply haunting.

Doni Wilson is a Houston-based writer.

Marjorie N. McClure