Auburn Area Community Theatre’s (AACT) 2021-2022 season opens on August 19th, and with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, AACT has chosen Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “End Days” as the opening show.
September 11th, 2001 was such a collective experience that it doesn’t need any name other than the date that it happened — 9/11.
“End Days” is a 9/11 story, and it isn’t.
This story takes place not on that unforgettable day, but in its wake. It is 2003, and life has returned to normal, except that it hasn’t, not for the Steins. We get to know a quirky little dysfunctional family that doesn’t realize how far they have retreated from each other.
Slow-moving Arthur thinks about sleeping even when he’s awake and won’t get out of his pajamas. His gloomy, angry, Goth daughter Rachel only wants someone to listen to her — and please buy some groceries!
Sylvia, the mother, desperately wants to be someplace safe from all harm, even if that means going through Armageddon to get there.
They just don’t understand each other anymore, and only gradually do we learn that each one’s personal obsessions are rooted in that impactful day.
Enter Elvis! (Not really.) Their 16 year-old neighbor, Nelson, for his own reasons, is emotionally dependent on wearing an Elvis costume. Nelson is able to connect with each of the Steins, and it is Nelson’s hopefulness that is the catalyst that brings their focus back on their love for each other, and living for the present.
At heart, this is a comedic redemption story about family and healing in the face of trauma.
AACT’s artistic director says, “‘End Days’ is not a typical choice for AACT. It is a somewhat irreverent, somewhat dark, comedy about the choices we make to feel safe, in response to a traumatic event. It is a redemption story that some might find a bit shocking at times.
Jesus and Stephen Hawking each make appearances! There is some language, a brief moment of marijuana use, and personal beliefs are challenged.
Even our cast and crew have different perspectives on the final moments. But theater shows us that we don’t’ have to agree with our heads to understand the emotions in our hearts. As theater-makers, we search for the things that unite us, and while this script is not for everyone, the emotions are universal.
“End Days’” — for all its quirks — is a family’s love story, reminding us to listen to each other and hold each other close.”
“‘End Days’ is funny and it is messy, but sometimes isn’t that just how life is?” — Lilly Nguyen, medium.com
This play will be performed on a limited run — 4 shows only. Performances will take place at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center on 222 E Drake Ave. on August 19-21 at 7 p.m., and August 22 at 2 p.m.
AACT will be giving part of the proceeds from this show to Tuesday’s Children, an organization formed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, committed to providing a lifetime of healing help for families who have been forever changed by terrorism, military conflict or mass violence.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Call 334-246-1084 or visit www.auburnact.org for ticket purchases and more information.
Covid protocols will be followed based on current recommendations at the time of performances.
Due to some brief adult situations and language, this event is not recommended for children under 13.