Director Jennifer Decker calls John Harvey’s new play, Rome, “a black experimental comedy.” Making its world premiere here, Rome follows a group of people as they wait for a man in the next room to die. Oddly, the impending death isn’t their focus. “These are people who are focusing on their own problems and don’t see what’s going on around them,” Decker tells us. “They’re stuck in this mansion, waiting for a man in the next room to die, and there are all sorts of horrible things going on around them but they’re all too focused on themselves to see any of that . Eventually, the world breaks in on them.”

Filmmaker Stephanie Saint Sanchez provides video for the show. “Her video is representing some vague figures that are outside the window. Nobody can see them clearly, so everyone is seeing something different. Some of them are more afraid of the figures than they might need to be, and some others aren’t afraid enough.” Decker tells us that while the play was written by Harvey, who along with Decker is a co-founder of Mildred’s Umbrella -Theater Company, the show we’ll see onstage during this production was a collaborative effort by Harvey, Decker, the actors and the design team.

There’s an 8 p.m. preview on March 6. Regular performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Through March 22. Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-463-0409 or visit Pay-what-you-can to $20.
Mondays, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: March 6. Continues through March 22, 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez