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Two High School Girls Pretend to Be College Coeds, and Go Clubbing in Deirdre O’Connor’s “Jailbait”

Tara Polhemus and Brian Yandle play Claire and Robert in Burning Coal Theatre Company's presentation of "Jailbait" as part of the Burning Coal's "Wait ‘Til You See This Series"

Tara Polhemus and Brian Yandle play Claire and Robert in Burning Coal Theatre Company‘s presentation of “Jailbait” as part of the Burning Coal’s “Wait ‘Til You See This Series”

Burning Coal Theatre Company will present Jailbait, a PG-13 rated coming-of-age story written by Deirdre O’Connor and produced and directed by Christine Zagrobelny, on Sept. 27-30 and Oct. 4-7 in the Murphey School Auditorium, near the Historic Oakwood Section of downtown Raleigh, NC. Jailbait is the second show of Burning Coal’s 2012-13 second-stage “Wait ‘Til You See This Series.”

“I first read the script [in 2008] after reading a review of the show when it premiered at the Cherry Lane’s new writing program,” recalls Christine Zagrobelny. She adds, “I wanted to direct this show because, after I read it, I couldn’t get the characters out of my head. It is rare to find a play that features painfully real and complex teenage characters at the heart of its story.

“We live in a society that is obsessed with youth and sexuality,” claims Zagrobelny. “It is used to sell TV, music, clothing, perfume, everything. Young women are pictured everywhere. But at the same time depictions of young women don’t usually go deeper than a made-for-TV-movie.”

Zagrobelny says, “O’Connor’s play is different. It presents with equal depth, the parallel experiences of two teenage girls and two thirty-something men, both confused and disoriented by the world of ‘dating’ they encounter in the club. Jailbait’s impact and humor lie in its exploration of the consequences of unexpected and dangerous connections, the pitfalls of differing expectations in dating, and emotional danger felt by those least equipped to deal with the inevitable fallout.”

Jailbait producer and director Christine Zagrobelny says, “In Jailbait, high school sophomores Claire (Tara Polhemus) and Emmy (Anna Vargas) sneak into a Boston night club to meet ‘boys.’ Posing as college students, the two girls cross paths with two thirty-something men.”

She adds, “Mark (Sean Brosnahan) thinks a night out with college girls will be exactly what is friend Robert (Brian Yandle) needs to recover from his recent breakup. Through a dizzying evening, the unlikely foursome discovers unexpected and dangerous compatibilities.”

In addition to producer and director Christine Zagrobelny, the Burning Coal Theatre Company creative team for Jailbait includes lighting designer Joseph Amodei, costume designer Lexie Nichols, and stage manager Mia Carson.

Jailbait producer and director Christine Zagrobelny says, “The set is minimal, and composed of moving pieces that create the different locations required in the play….

“Lighting is the key to creating the environment for the different spaces the play moves to,” claims Zagrobelny, “from the energetic club lighting to the softer interior spaces.”

In reviewing previous productions of Jailbait, Variety called the show “a terrific little play that finds something funny, shocking and sad about two fifteen-year-old girls who grow up fast when they con their way into a Boston club” and adds, “[playwright Deirdre] O’Connor is amazingly good at rendering the tonal pitch and vocal rhythms of overheard dialogue….”

Time Out NY characterized the play as “a complicated and darkly comic cautionary tale about the illusion of intimacy at any age” and praised Jailbait’s “keenly honed dialogue, punctuated by little lies and poignant pauses.”

The Associated Press said, “[dramatist Deirdre] O’Connor provides a humorous take on the excitement and pitfalls of dating at any age, through a nightclub visit for four singles that will change each in different ways.”

And TheaterOnline.com commented, “[O’Connor’s] flavorful dialogue aptly captures adolescence peering into maturity, and the exchanges amongst all four actors are natural-sounding and often quite funny, but never in a preciously designed manner.”

Burning Coal Theatre Company presents JAILBAIT at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27-29, 2 p.m. Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4-6, and 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Murphey School Auditorium, 224 Polk St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27604.

TICKETS: $10.

BOX OFFICE: jailbait.reservations@gmail.com.

INFORMATION: 919-834-4001.

SHOW: http://burningcoal.org/jailbait/.

VIDEO PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/49906428.

SERIES: http://burningcoal.org/secondstage/.

PRESENTER: http://www.burningcoal.org/.

VENUE/DIRECTIONS: http://burningcoal.org/murphey-school-auditorium/.

OTHER LINKS:

The Play: http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4116 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

The Playwright: http://www.deirdreoconnor.com/ (official website).

The Director: https://www.facebook.com/christine.zagrobelny (Facebook).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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