Thrown Stone launches its sophomore repertory season

You usually don’t hear the words “rabbits” and “arson” in the same sentence but when it comes to Thrown Stone’s second repertory season, they figure prominently in two plays that are well suited to each other and explore similar concepts harmoniously.

Thrown Stone will again take up residency at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance this summer to present the New England premiere of The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger July 13-29, and the East Coast premiere of Where All Good Rabbits Go by Karina Cochran July 20-Aug. 4.

“Subconsciously, I was looking for two shows that can complement each other and say similar things or have some interesting dissonances,” said Jonathan Winn, founder and co-artistic director for the daring theater company whose motto is to provide “a new theatrical experience.”

Fellow founder and co-artistic director Jason Peck said the desire to do two shows came before they decided which shows they wanted after reading dozens of plays. “I read these plays a week apart and they both resonated with me,” Peck said, noting both centered on the idea of letting go.

“You might think our sophomore outing is a bit of an odd duck, and you’d be right. You just don’t hear the words arson and rabbit together that often. But there was no denying, as we devoured play after play in our search for the perfect second season, that these stories — two sides of the same strange, but beautiful coin — cried out with scintillating urgency, and that they somehow belonged together.”

Winn added that in vastly different ways, each play is a testament to a deep love and the courage that it takes to let go. “We put them in repertory so you could hear the harmonies and dissonances you can only really discern in a short interval,” he said.

Taking place in a Florida swamp, The Arsonists focuses on a father-daughter relationship and is a story of grief, loss and redemption. Paying homage to the Greek tragedy, Electra, the play delves into the relationship between parent and child in the brief moments between death and life. “I decided to write a love letter from a daughter to a father, filled with the laughter, fear, joy, hope and eternal love we have for our parents, both in life and in whatever comes next,” says Goldfinger, the playwright. The opening show is July 13 at 8 p.m.

In Where All Good Rabbits Go, Walt and Julia are an up-and-coming young couple whose world turns upside down when Walt finds he is growing a rabbit tail, signifying the first symptom of a fatal disease. The play elegantly meditates on illness, grief, personal transformation, and the realities of turning into a rabbit.

“My play aims to examine loss through the wacky, ridiculous lens of becoming a rabbit,” says playwright Cochran. “Death really is the biggest mystery we face as humans. I am hoping that by shifting the focus to something more playful we can learn something about grief and how we manage it.” The show opens July 20 at 8 p.m.

Asked what can audiences expect from this season, Winn said they want to create a give-and-take. “The thing we are shooting for is to conduct a meaningful conversation with the audience. We want to create an opportunity to experience and reflect,” he said.

Repertory can have several meanings in the theater world. Winn and Peck present an experience where they take a shared space and radically reimagine it in two different ways for each show. Both were gratified by the success they met their first season. “It taught us there was a hunger and demand for this kind of work,” Winn said.

For more information, or call 203-442-1714.

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