Workplace friendships and an old-fashioned movie theater sound simple, but they create complex drama in the next production from Prospect Theater Project.
The Modesto company brings “The Flick”, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Annie Baker, to its downtown theater Feb. 22-March 10.
The everyday lives of three ushers in a run-down, single-screen movie palace create the drama that will “draw you in immediately,” according to a press release from Prospect. “It creates high-stakes drama out of the minutiae of workplace friendships. Not once does her (Baker’s) dialogue feel forced or overwrought — these characters feel very, very real and close to home.”
The title is also the name of the Massachusetts movie palace where 24-year-old Rose works as the projectionist, 35-year-old Sam works as an usher, and 20-year-old Avery has just been hired as usher.
The Flick is the last movie theater in the area that hasn’t made the transition from 35-millimeter film to digital, according to the release. Avery, “a celluloid purist,” hopes to get promoted to projectionist so he can be the one to handle the film canisters and ancient projector.
Sam and Avery, who bond over their love of films, are often scheduled at the same time with Rose “and their easy banter and workplace alliance turn the three into a friendly trio,” the release said.
Still, with Rose mostly in the projection booth during their shifts, Sam and Avery’s bond runs deeper, and it become obvious to Avery that Sam’s got a crush on Rose.
The friendship between the three turns when Sam takes time off to attend a family wedding and “something happens between Avery and Rose that drastically shifts the balance of the trio,” the release said, “and when Sam returns, it’s clear that things will never be quite the same between the three again.”
Adding to the drama, the owner of the movie house has been considering selling The Flick.
Prospect Theater’s co-founder and Artistic Director Jack Souza directs the play and also designed the set and lights. Sarah Wilson stars as Rose, Adam Torrian as Avery, Eric Watkins as Sam and Andrew Brown as Skylar/Dreaming Man.
“Poignant and wonderfully written, modern and daringly real, ‘The Flick’ upends the ‘slice of life’ genre as we know it,” the Prospect release said, “transforming it from the humdrum living-room dramas of the 1980s and reinventing it for the 21st century with heart and immense vulnerability.”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m Sundays; Feb. 22-March 10
WHERE: Prospect Theater Project, 1214 K St., Modesto