People, Places & Things is an exhilarating new play about surviving in the modern world. The story focuses on Emma, a thirty-something actress who thinks she is having the time of her life, until she finds herself in rehab. Her first step is to admit that she has a problem. But the problem isn’t with Emma; it’s with everyone else. And when intoxication feels like the only way to survive, how can she ever sober up? From award-winning playwright Duncan Macmillan comes this mesmerizing trip into addiction, rehab, and identity.
NOMINATED for FIVE 2022 Elliot Norton Awards: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Actress (Marianna Bassham), Outstanding Design, & Outstanding Ensemble
WINNER of THREE 2022 Elliot Norton Awards: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director, & Outstanding Actress
Marianna Bassham’s brilliant disguises in ‘People, Places & Things’
Few directors can engineer the trip across the border from real to not-real with more bracingly discombobulating theatricality than Gammons, who has guided some of the most memorable SpeakEasy productions of the past decade, from “Hand to God” to “The Whale” (starring Kuntz and Elwood while she was still a student at Emerson) to “Red” to “The [Expletive] with the Hat.”). Gammons keeps the emotional temperature high and the coming-apart-at-the-seams vibe constant in “People, Places & Things.” This is especially so during the hallucination scenes, which Gammons and his design team (lighting designer Jeff Adelberg, sound designer David Wilson, and video designer Adam Stone) turn into genuinely searing experiences.
- Don Aucoin, The Boston Globe
SpeakEasy’s ‘People. Places & Things’ Takes Us Into the Belly of Addiction
People, Places & Things, SpeakEasy Stage Company’s first-rate, must-see production, covers a lot of ground and checks a lot of boxes. Playwright Duncan Macmillan unsentimentally tackles the uncertain journey from addiction and recovery and the many shapes and forms it can take. For two and a half hours, the audience is in the thick of the raw process of rehab, detox, group therapy, relapse and the harrowing realization of what “one day at a time’ really looks like. If this sounds like a maudlin, predictable trope, it is anything but. Working with Macmillan’s sharp, incisive script, director David R. Gammons has created a phantasmagoria with flashing strobes (light design by Jeff Adelberg) and vibrating sounds (David Wilson) that make us feel like we are marching right beside these crumbling, addicted minds on the verge of self-destruction. He has also amassed a splendid ensemble cast to bring the script to life, most notably the exceptionally talented Marianna Bassham as Emma. Her performance alone is reason enough to hightail to BCA.
- Shelley A. Sackett, Theater Mirror
Marianna Bassham leads an all-star SpeakEasy cast in a bracing tale of addiction and rehab
Orange soda and karaoke are on offer for those graduating rehab in “People, Places & Things,” a probing dive into addiction. The highly lauded Duncan Macmillan play, with riveting direction by the Elliot Norton Award-winning David R. Gammons, is as stimulating as it is afflictive in a SpeakEasy Stage Company production running through March 5. …Bassham excels as Emma, who is always putting on a show; eager to be seen, but not truly. She’s a charming addict, quick to hurl a pithy or startling line to whoever is listening. Later, when her body trembles from too much of everything in her system, she’s even better. …Gammons portrays the chaos of Emma’s mind artfully. He uses strobe lights, movement and dialogue in slow motion, and Emma’s printed likeness held over the faces of the ensemble cast. These paper faces represent perhaps, all her warring selves, colliding, vying for space and usurping Emma’s desire or ability to get and stay clean.
- Jaqueline Sinclair, WBUR
New England Premiere
By Duncan Macmillan
February 11 - March 5, 2022
SpeakEasy Stage Company
Roberts Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts
Photos: David R. Gammons