With the world around us feeling a bit hectic, it’s nice to take some time to pause, laugh and find the lighter side of things. Philadelphians will be able to do just that this Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m., with Theatre Exile and award-winning playwright R. Eric Thomas when they do a virtual reading of Thomas’ play, ‘Human Resources.’
Thomas has quite the resume being an award-winning playwright, storyteller, author and the creator of ‘Eric Reads the News,’ a daily humor column for ELLE Magazine. On top of all that, Thomas also has ties to the City of Brotherly Love as the long-running host of ‘The Moth,’ being awarded the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play for ‘Time is on our Side,’ plus being a recipient of the 2018 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award and a finalist for the 2017 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. He is also the recipient of a 2017/2018 National New Play Network Commission and has also been commissioned or produced by the Arden Theatre Company, Theatre Exile, Simpatico Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Single Carrot Theatre, About Face Theatre, City Theatre Miami, Act II Playhouse and more. So, in short, his work speaks volumes in accolades and this virtual reading will truly be a showcase of it.
What makes this virtual reading a bit different and also even more satirical and quirky—on top of the unique writing—is the use of sock puppets, which is actually quite fitting for the plot.
According to a release, ‘Human Resources’ takes place after a company merger and follows a corporate drone that starts to notice strange things about the new coworkers. They’ve got strange ways of doing things, and they’re excessively zany, and they might be puppets—actual puppets.
The show will be directed by Theatre Exile’s Artistic Producer Brey Ann Barrett and will star actors Lindsay Smiling, Brett Robinson, Liz Filios, and David Pica, along with the sock puppets, of course.
“The goal of bringing ‘Human Resources’ to our audience virtually is twofold; we want to promote the humor and satire of Eric’s writing, while exploring theatrical tone,” Barrett said in a statement. “The inclusion of puppetry elements throughout the reading will help illustrate how zany the story of ‘Human Resources’ is.”
Theatre Exile’s repertoire has always mirrored their mission, which is to “enhance the cultural experiences of Philadelphians through the staging of works that engage the imagination, and producing challenging plays that explore the complexities of the human condition and contain a sense of Philadelphia grit and passion.”
This latest showcase will also help fund that mission, but also at the same time, not break the bank of participating viewers. The show will be pay-as-you-wish with a suggested minimum $5 donation. All proceeds will go directly to benefit Theatre Exile’s new play development program.
If you can’t catch the virtual reading this Thursday, Theatre Exile has also commissioned ‘Human Resources’ as a precursor to a forthcoming work by R. Eric Thomas, which will be premiering at Theatre Exile during the summer of 2021.
To learn more information, or to register for the event, visit theatreexile.org