In Will Eno’s Middletown, one character asks another: “Did you ever think you might be a normal person?” “Maybe,” responds the other character. “I don’t know. Bad news for normal people.” That exchange sums up Middletown for actor/first-time director Kyle Sturdivant. “Middletown is a play about people trying to find a connection, to something, to someone,” Sturdivant says. “[I often think], ‘Other people seem to really have this life thing figured out. What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel so alone?’ So when I stop to think that other people might feel this way, too, and that feeling this way is actually quite normal, it is comforting.”
Normal in Middletown isn’t necessarily what passes for normal anywhere else. In another exchange, one character asks a librarian for a library card application. “Good for you, dear,” the librarian responds. “I think a lot of people figure, ‘Why bother? I’m just going to die, anyway.’ Let me just find the form.”
Sturdivant says that he expects audience members to see themselves in Middletown, even if the characters have what some might consider a slightly unusual way of expressing themselves. “These characters are blessed with an ability to say the things that most of us think or want to say. They aren’t trying to be philosophical about it; they just can be very earnest while talking about themselves and their situations. I can’t imagine one single person watching not being able to recognize themselves in this show.”
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8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Through June 14. Catastrophic Theatre, 1119 East Freeway. For information, visit catastrophictheatre.com. Pay what you can.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: May 23. Continues through June 14, 2014