SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 21, 2018 – Pygmalion Theatre Company concludes its season with “Red Bike,” a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Caridad Svich, directed by Fran Pruyn. The show, which features Sydney Shoell, Jesse Nepivoda and Andrea Kile Peterson, plays April 20 – May 5, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Black Box Theatre.
The playwright describes the show like this: “You’re eleven years old, you live in a small town and the times are dark, as they say. But you have a bike, a bike you love, a bike that makes you dream about a world bigger than the one you live in. One day, you take a ride through the outer edges of your town and something goes awry. Let’s call it an accident. Let’s say it causes you to see the world anew. Or maybe, it just causes you to see the world for what it truly is.”

Director Fran Pruyn said she’d describe “Red Bike” as an epic poem. “A piece of theater about a kid who really wants a red bike, then gets a red bike and goes for a long ride through town,” she said. “And on the way through the town the kid sees people he knows and remembers things about them, and then the kid climbs a really big hill and gets some great air on the way down, and then kind of careens out of control.  And on the way down the hill the kid, who is tired and thirsty and the shadows are long and scary, sees things in a way different perspective. Then the kid crashes and has started to see life way differently.”

Pruyn said audiences shouldn’t miss “Red Bike” for a number of reasons: “Because it is a multi-disciplinary piece of theater that really, I believe, gets to the heart of America, where ‘stuff’ is important, but not really important, but still pretty important,” she said. “Because it is a play that is experiential, because it is going to bend light and shadows that a really, really fun.”

Actor Jesse Nepivoda, who is appearing in his first show for Pygmalion, said he connected with the show right away. “Thematically it hit me immediately and deeply,” he said. “I responded to it very instinctually. On the surface, as far as ‘plot’ goes – it’s really simple. But the ‘what-it’s-about’ stuff – consumerism, economic and class struggle, empathy, the forward progression of time, crunching people, places, and ways of life under its feet – all that stuff really dug its hooks into me because, frankly, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about those same issues churning inside of me every single day. It was giving voice to a lot of anxieties and hopes and fears that myself and a lot of other people feel on a daily basis.”

Nepivoda said he wanted to be in the show for a myriad of reasons. “I really like Caridad Svich’s work,” he said. “She’s an explorer – she’s like an archeologist of the soul for us in the here and now. Also, I really love new work. So a new piece by Caridad Svich? Yeah, sign me up.
“Plus, the show is so damn weird!  Weird stuff is often the best stuff.  It’s interesting how weird pieces usually strike me as absolutely being the most human.”

He added he is excited to get into the rehearsal room. “Rehearsal rooms are the most magical places, I swear,” he said. “You throw people and passion and ideas in there, mash everything together, and you see the most interesting sparks and fires start to happen. There’s nothing like it. It’s hope and disquiet and joy and ferocious reality all present simultaneously.  It’s a lot like ‘Red Bike’ in that way.”

Nepivoda said that the play is fundamentally about us, here and now, in this country.

“Sure, it’s a little unusual in its structure and format — and that may throw some people off — but it’s so damn human you can feel it ache,” he said. “I see a lot of myself in it. I see a lot of people I know in it. I think Utah audiences will see feelings, thoughts, worries, and dreams inside of ‘Red Bike’ that look a hell of a lot like their own.”

Actor Sydney Shoell, who was last seen in Pygmalion’s  ‘Eleemosynary,’ said she feels the script is unlike anything she’s read before. “It is written similarly to a poem and the language is beautiful,” she said. “The characters, and the whimsy, and the humor in the story really excited me.”

She added that going into rehearsal she can’t wait to see the shape the play takes. “I always love the part of the rehearsal process where the script and the ideas in everyone’s minds come together to make a solid framework and we can start to really see what our production will look like,” she said. “And I have no idea what that is going to look like in this case, which is very exciting.

“It is going to be a long time before anyone has the chance to see another play like this one,” Shoell added. “It is a fantastic adventure story with monsters and sage old men and a cycling hero. It is going to be just delightful.”

Who: Pygmalion Productions Theatre Company
What: “Red Bike,” an NNPN Rolling World Premier by Caridad Svich
When: April 20-May 5, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. with an extra matinee May 5 at 2 p.m.
Where: Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South
Tickets: $15-$20 from (801) 355.ARTS (2787) or


The Salt Lake Tribune, January 28, 2018

Westminster College and Cottonwood High students star in ‘I and You,’ a popular playwright’s move into YA territory

Pygmalion launches a story with YA contemporary style it hopes will find a wider audience.

Like John Green’s best-selling novel “The Fault in Our Stars,” Lauren Gunderson’s play “I and You” captures the real ways kids talk — and actor Tristan Johnson expects his fellow millennials to be drawn to it in the same way.

Johnson plays Anthony, a high-school senior and basketball player who wants help from classmate Caroline (Cora Fossen) on an English assignment. She’s been sick at home for weeks due to a liver condition, and she freaks out at the way Anthony suddenly appears in her room, oddly quoting from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and wanting to talk about pronouns.

“I think in my generation there’s a lot of people stuck on their phones, stuck on Twitter, stuck on Facebook,” Johnson says. “A lot of times in life we miss out on a lot of opportunities for true human connection.”

Read the entire article here:

I and You @ Rose Wagner Center,138 W. 300 South,801-355-2787, Feb 2-17, days and times vary, $15-$20,


Pygmalion Theater Co. presents I and You, February 2 – 17
“We all like to see shows about ‘us’; this is a story about letting someone in, needing another human,” director Teresa Sanderson said. “A simple story and one we all can relate to.”

Pygmalion Theatre Co.: The Weyward Sisters

Just because Halloween season has ended doesn’t mean you need to leave witchy fun behind.

Throughout the month, Pygmalion Theatre Co. presents The Weyward Sisters, a comedic twist on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth told from the witches’ point of view. Three modern and good actual witches are recruited to perform in “the Scottish play,” and struggle to find their footing in the weird and wild world of theater.

Written by local playwright L.L. West, the show follows the style of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a meta-retelling of Hamlet. However, rather than being minor characters who become aware they’re just characters in a story, these protagonists have a bit more agency, according to production director, Jeremy Chase. “Not only are they helping tell the story, but they’re helping shape the story with their witchy powers,” he says.

In addition to providing a twist on a classic, Weyward Sisters also ties into Pygmalion’s mission of producing plays that give a voice to women playwrights, directors, performers and characters. Rather than depicting the witches as forces of chaotic evil, they’re fleshed out and made into engaging subjects. And while this show is dripping with references to Macbeth, you don’t need to be a huge Shakespeare fan to enjoy it. Chase says the fun in this production comes from the departures they get to make from the source material. “Get ready to laugh through this play,” Chase says. “If anything, it’s a laugh.” (Kylee Ehmann)

The Weyward Sisters @ Rose Wagner Center,138 W. 300 South,801-355-2787,Nov. 3-18, days and times vary, $15-$20,

Sackerson, PYGmalion Productions riff on two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays

There’s plenty of intelligent witty material in L. L. West’s play the Weyward Sisters. First presented two years ago at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, West smartly riffs on Macbeth in a style similar to Tom Stoppard’s classic absurd comedy from the 1960s that elevated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the minor characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, to pop culture status. READ MORE

15 BYTES 11/4/17

The Humor Behind Toil and Trouble: Pygmalion’s Weyward Sisters Brings Levity and Wordplay to the Salt Lake City Stage

The Weyward Sisters, by local playwright L. L. West, is a quaint journey through a never-before-seen side of “Macbeth” that is both hilarious and refreshing, with the three leading ladies carrying the story brilliantly through to its conclusion.  The play starts out with a brief introduction – a bit of a “Shakespeare for Dummies,” during which the entirety of “Macbeth” is rapidly summed-up with great wit and a short PowerPoint by Barb Gandy and Natalie Keezer.  Though this rapid-fire retelling may be a bit redundant for those who are most familiar with The Scottish Play, for anybody who has never seen it before, or for whom it has been a while, it is essential to what unfolds — a backstage look at three “good” witches who have been hired to act in a new play by William Shakespeare, whom they know only as The Brad. READ MORE