Philly-born playwright Caridad Svich has twice won the National Latino Playwriting Award and has an Obie award for lifetime achievement in theater. Now she’s finally getting her first full production in her hometown: Red Bike at Simpatico Theatre Company, June 6-24.
Part of the National New Play Network’s “rolling world premiere” program, Bike has already rolled through Salt Lake and will soon be off to Cincinnati and elsewhere.
But wait, there’s more.
To introduce Svich to Philly, InterAct Theatre is throwing SvichFest! on June 17-19, three days of readings from her Red Bike cycle, which is a series of plays exploring the experiences of marginalized people in today’s cities. Included will be the plays Fuel, Holler River, and Trouble in Kind.
“I couldn’t be happier,” says Svich. How many plays in this cycle? “Right now it’s five, but it’s feeling like it wants to be seven,” she says. “When I was working on Red Bike, which takes place in this unnamed town, I kept thinking, ‘What’s the next town over like? Let’s explore.’ ”
Allison Heishman, new Simpatico artistic director, says the central town in Red Bike will feel a lot like Philly, with references to SEPTA, gentrification, and urban deterioration. The central figure is an 11-year-old kid with a bike. “We get to see how all this looks through a kid’s eyes,” Heishman says, “a kid who sees potential to bring everything back together and chart a new course.
“We’re chasing hope,” says Svich, “and trying to relocate it.”