A turntable stage swings from one backyard to the other. In Detroit, playwright Lisa D'Amour's play about (despite its name) an unidentified suburbia, two couples end up living next door to each other and meet over a backyard barbecue.
One couple is on its way up, the other spiraling downward in the midst of a countrywide economic downturn. Ben has just lost his job with the accompanying change of prospects for himself and his wife Mary. The new neighbors Kenny and Sharon, former drug addicts, are in the process of straightening out their lives and are looking to suburban life to provide stability.
The 90-minute one-act Detroit by D'Amour (whose latest play Airline Highway it has just been announced is going to Broadway) was a finalist for the Pulitzer and Susan Smith Blackburn Prizes in 2011 and won the Obie Award for Best New American Play in 2013.
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Now Catastrophic Theatre is bringing it to Houston and director Troy Schulze says his cast members have embraced the play and what it has to say about changes - not only those brought about by financial change but in the places we live.
"You see how the suburbs have changed throughout the years. There's something about it that suggests a death of some sort. Something that we'll never get back."
Despite the somber notes, Schulze says there's a lot of humor throughout this work. "Usually we'll follow up Tamarie Cooper's [summer] show with a play that's really dark and depressing. But this one is really funny and uplifting. I think there's going to be a lot of laughter." Detroit runs September 26 through October 18 at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays at Catastrophic Theatre, 1119 East Freeway. For information call 713-522-2723 or visit catastrophictheatre.com. $10-$50.