“Natural Shocks" at the Black Box Theatre -- February 2 through 12.

Thursday, February 2, through Sunday, February 12

Black Box Theatre, 1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline IL

Hailed by StageLeft.nyc as "taut and lively" and by Theatre Scene as "a compelling play on important and topical themes," playwright Lauren Gunderson's unique and unpredictable dramatic comedy Natural Shocks makes its Quad Cities debut at Moline's Black Box Theatre from February 2 through 12, with DC Metro Theatre Arts adding its praise by deeming it a work that "raises important points about the need to take action in times of crises."

A dark yet hilarious tour-de-force, Natural Shocks concerns a woman named Angela who is forced into her basement when she finds herself in the path of a tornado. While trapped there, she spills over into confession, regret, long-held secrets, and giddy new love through tales that she shares with the audience. Though a self-proclaimed unreliable narrator, she begins to reflect on a lifetime of trauma, illuminating the truth behind her endangerment. But as the storm approaches, Angela becomes less and less sure about where safety lies, and how best to defy the danger that awaits. With playwright Gunderson basing her work on Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy, Natural Shocks is a damning condemnation of violence, abuse, and firearms in America, and in April of 2018, 107 theaters in 45 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 5,000 audience members came together nationwide to hear public readings of the piece, raising more than $50,000 for charities dedicated to addressing the issues of guns in America.

Helming Natural Shocks in his directorial debut for the Black Box Theatre is Augustana College student Roger Pavey Jr., a member of the Reader's theatre-review team who has appeared in numerous Augustana productions including Cabaret, The 39 Steps, Macbeth, and One Flea Spare. With four area performers sharing the role of Angela, the play will mark the Black Box debut of Trish Foster, and also boast the talents of Noel Jean Huntley (the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Beehive: The '60s Musical), Kira Rangel (Circa '21's Disaster!), and the Black Box's co-owner and artistic director Lora Adams (Murder in Green Meadows). Adams also serves as the production's scenic and costume designer, and with Celeaciya Olivera Natural Shocks' stage manager and assistant to lighting designer Pavey, additional members of the show's creative team include scenic builder Michael Kopriva and sound designer Ryan J. Hurdle.

Natural Shocks will be performed in downtown Moline February 2 through 12, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Admission is $13-16, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)284-2350 and visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.

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