At some point during Azuka Theatre’s 2011 production of “The Terrible Girls,” playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger envisioned a trilogy out of the play. “Terrible” was a local hit, but her inspiration was based on craft, rather than box office sales: She realized the Southern Gothic genre the show fell under provided unique possibilities.
“There’s something about this genre that allows you to do things that you can’t do in ‘straight’ theater,” says Goldfinger, from her home in South Philly. “And I think that’s true especially for female identities, because the normal societal judgments just don’t apply. So I can push these characters in ways that might be off-putting in a straight dramatic play.”
This week Azuka is premiering the second installment of the “Terrible” trilogy, “Skin & Bone.” Don’t expect any characters from the first installment to appear, but these residents of Transfer, Fla., the same fictional town, promise to be just as wacky, disturbing and hilarious. This time the play takes place in a creepy bed and breakfast — with a dark secret.
Goldfinger grew up in Tallahassee, and carries the North Florida landscape in her bones.
“My brand of Southern Goth tends to be more humorous. I think that’s because of Florida. Very few Southern Goth tales take place there. And let’s face it, Florida is a bizarre place," she says.“We embrace the bizarre in Florida. Our take on life is a little wacky and out there.”
But, as in almost any Southern Goth tale, there are disturbing truths underlying the outlandish and outsized personalities of this play.
“Growing up, I spent a lot of time up and down the I-10 Interstate,” Goldfinger says. “And the landscape is gorgeous, and the people were always nice, but I always felt a little undercurrent of something darker.”
‘Skin & Bone’
Off-Broad St. Theater at First Baptist Church
1636 Sansom St.