See a reunion gone awry in ‘The Bends’

Janice Rowland and Megan Slater get tipsy in “The Bends.” Credit: John Flak
Janice Rowland and Megan Slater get tipsy in “The Bends.”
Credit: John Flak

Flashpoint Theatre Company is continuing its female-centric season, titled “XX,” with “The Bends,” a play by Megan Mostyn-Brown about women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The show centers around Gemma, a best-selling author, who comes homes to reunite with old college friends. And then, says director Kathryn MacMillan, things get complicated.

Is the audience going to be surprised by twists and turns in “The Bends”?
Ohhh, yes. Ha! During this process, I had a lot of great conversations with Megan Mostyn-Brown. One of the things she said early on was that it was important that these characters have a Midwestern energy. This really spoke to me because, like Megan, I went to college in the Midwest and the people I met were, at best, incredibly warm and kind and, at worst, extraordinarily passive-aggressive. You’ll see this in the play — a building discomfort, an aggression that eventually explodes but, before that’s possible, starts to hiss out through the seams of people’s politeness. Being their best selves and showing that to the world — it’s important to these characters. But it breaks down for every single one of them in the play.

A diver can get the bends from surfacing too quickly and not taking time to adjust to the change in pressure. How does that relate to the play?
That’s an important metaphor for Gemma, in particular. When there’s a “change in pressure” in the room she becomes paralyzed, psychologically. The show is inspired, in part, by the Radiohead song of the same title. Larry Fowler, the sound designer, played with electronica elements as a nod to Radiohead and juxtaposed these against natural elements like water lapping.

What makes this show so timely?
Without giving too much away, there are secrets revealed in the play about the characters’ pasts. These are reminiscent, in a way, about the recent Steubenville verdicts. Like that case, the play raises questions about how our culture allows us to treat each other, both our bodies and our eternal sacred selves.

Do you think every woman has friends like the ones in the play?
Sadly, these characters don’t have friends, although they wouldn’t know enough to say that. They’d say that yes, they are still friends with this core group from college. But these aren’t friends I would want. They aren’t generous with one another – they’re self-centered. And hard to like. It’s one of the great surprises of the play — the way Megan has given us characters who are hard to like sometimes, but who are nonetheless easy to care about. Or feel passionately about, at least.

If you go

“The Bends”
Through March 31
Off-Broad Street Theatre
1636 Sansom St.
$15-$22
www.flashpointtheatre.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…