For the first production in the company's sixth season, Davenport's QC Theatre Workshop will present a world-premiere drama: author Aaron Randolph III's Broken, running August 25 through September 10. A new offering by the local talent who wrote 2013's Workshop smash A Green River, this unflinching yet hopeful tale was developed in collaboration with the Quad Cities' Family Resources program Braking Traffik, and the show's six-person cast is composed of both veterans of the theatre company and performers making their Workshop debuts.
Broken will be presented at the QC Theatre Workshop (1730 Wilkes Avenue, Davenport, IA) August 25 through September 10, with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday performances at 3 p.m. Doors open a half hour before each performance, and due to the play's adult themes, language, and violence, parental guidance is recommended.
Having explored the effects of a returning soldier's post-traumatic stress disorder in A Green River, Randolph now takes an incisive, empathetic look at the subject of human trafficking, with Broken focusing on the life of a young woman whose first romance leads to a nightmarish world of confusion, desperation, and violence. With the protagonist's past and present selves enacted by two different actresses, Broken follows the actions and choices of this young woman, her mother, and the significant men in her life over a period of several years, and in the process delivers a stinging drama that still manages to provide comedy, joy, and hope.
Produced in collaboration with Braking Traffik – the local organization devoted to eradicating human trafficking in Iowa and Illinois – Broken has been in development for more than a year, with its production being made possible through a grant by the Regional Development Authority. Half of the proceeds from the show will go directly to Braking Traffik's educational and outreach programs.
Serving as Broken's director is the QC Theatre Workshop's Artistic Director Tyson Danner, whose credits at the venue include helming such hit productions as The Pillowman, 'Art,' and the company's 2012 debut RED. He says he was excited for the chance to bring this debuting drama to Quad Cities audiences, particularly in light of its important subject matter and message. “We’re grateful that we have the opportunity to tell a personal story set in this world,” says Danner. “We were all surprised – as I think our audiences will be, too – at the depth and prevalence of human trafficking. Exploring that topic through one woman’s story has been very moving and powerful.”
Portraying Broken's principal figure at different points in her life are Workshop veterans Jessica Denney, whose recent appearances include roles in Peter & the Starcatcher and Inheritors, and Laila Haley, previously seen in The Big Meal and The Pillowman. Joining them are two additional actors familiar to Workshop audiences: Jennifer Popple (director of Tribes and cast member of Love, Loss, & What I Wore) and Thomas Alan Taylor (star of A Green River and RED). And rounding out Broken's cast are two busy area talents making their Workshop debuts: Michael King (director of Genesius Guild's Henry V and the title character in Richard III) and Augustana College senior Keenan Odendirk (The Passion of Dracula and Titanic: The Musical.)
“I’m a very collaborative writer,” says playwright Aaron Randolph III. “We’re lucky to have such a talented cast helping to create this play with us. The first staging of a play depends a great deal on the actors who are creating these roles, and these actors have brought so much humor, heart, and personality to the process.”
Broken will be presented under the QC Theatre Workshop's “Pay What It's Worth” pricing policy in which guests see the play first and then pay afterward, allowing viewers to determine what the experience was worth to them personally. This innovative strategy was designed to create a wholly accessible theatrical experience for patrons regardless of financial means, and the continued generous response by patrons has allowed it to continue for Broken.
For reservations and more information on Broken, please call (563)823-8893 or e-mail QCTheatreWorkshop@gmail.com, and visit QCTheatreWorkshop.org and Facebook.com/QCTheatreWorkshop.
Broken performance schedule
Friday, August 25th at 7:30pm
Saturday, August 26th at 7:30pm
Sunday, August 27th at 3:00pm
Friday, September 1st at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 2nd at 7:30pm
Sunday, September 3rd at 3:00pm
Friday, September 8th at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 9th at 7:30pm
Sunday, September 10th at 3:00pm