On July 28, Chester Theater Company (CTC) will begin its two-week run of Pass Over, the show that reopened Broadway in 2021. The three-actor play, which shares some DNA with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, stars Austin Sasser (Western Reserve Playhouse, Karamu House) as Kitch and Kayodè Soyemi (Actors Theater of Louisville, Yale Cabaret, Dallas Theater Center) as Moses in their CTC debut, and the star frequents of CTC and Berkshire Theater Critics Award winner James Barry, double cast as Mister and Ossifer.
Moses and Kitch want to leave their Chicago street corner, if only they can get through. They dream of a fuller life and things that would soothe them: clean socks, brown rabbits, the return of a dead brother. But the world keeps those desires out of their reach.
“Pass Over may seem familiar at first glance,” said director Christina Franklin, who also directed The Niceties last summer, and was recently associated with Broadway’s For Colored Girls… “This play challenges us to muster the audacity to dream ourselves out of the pitfalls of life.”
“Pass Over excites me, and I think it will excite audiences,” said production art director Daniel Elihu Kramer. “Antoinette Nwandu takes only what she needs from Beckett and makes it her own, imposing a timely and critically important portrait of the barriers this country creates for black men and the systems of oppression that continue to deny them their rightful place. As theatre,” Kramer continued, “we are committed to doing our part to be more inclusive in every way possible. We have engaged a range of voices to tell important and diverse stories curated and developed by a diverse group of artists.”
Alaina Macaulay, Chester Theater Company Board Member, adds: “As a young person committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in the region, I was delighted to join the board. of directors of the Chester Theater Company. I was first captivated by its mission which is dedicated to sharing stories intended to bring the challenges we see as a society to the fore. Through our work, we hope the gathering of folx, from all walks of life, to be immersed in the performances and rich conversation continues to propel a love for the arts and a deep passion for social change.”
The play, first seen at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, was released as a film directed by Spike Lee. While the playwright crafted a different ending for the Broadway production, she leaves it up to each theater which ending they choose. Chester Theater Company will do the original ending as seen in the Chicago production.
Sarafina Bush, the Broadway production’s original costume designer, is designing costumes for the CTC production, assisted by Christina Beam, costume designer for [email protected] Kelsey Rainwater, who teaches stage combat and intimacy at the David Geffen School of Drama, is the combat director. Nadir Bey (sets) and Madeleine Hebert (lighting) make their CTC design debut. James McNamara returns to sound design. Chevonne Baylor will direct the production, her first with CTC.
All performances will take place in the intimate surroundings of the historic Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA. The price of individual tickets is $52.50. Residents of Chester and Middlefield, military members and their families, ConnectorCare enrollees, and EBT/SNAP cardholders can purchase discounted tickets by calling the box office. $10 Student Rush tickets are available the day of the show. Single tickets and season passes can be purchased online at chestertheatre.org or by phone at 413.354.7771. Special rates for groups of ten or more are available.
The CTC will require proof of vaccination and a mask to enter. See website for more details.