“Gnit” an Eclectic and Eccentric Production for The Bluebarn Theatre

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February 19th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Action, adventure, and introspection are on tap in a new comedy onstage at The Bluebarn Theatre.

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The Bluebarn Theatre in Omaha continues its 25th anniversary season with “Gnit” a new play by Will Eno. This is only the second production of the play in the United States. The Bluebarn’s Producing Artistic Director, Susan Clement-Toberer, was able to see the first production at the “Humana Festival” in Kentucky.

“(The Humana Festival, which is a new playwrights’ festival, and) ‘Gnit’ just rocked my socks off.” Clement-Toberer said. “I thought it was perfect for the Bluebarn, it’s eclectic, it’s eccentric.”

From left: Sarah Carlson-Brown as Solvay and Matthew Pyle as Peter Gnit in Bluebarn Theatre's production of "Gnit" by Will Eno

From left: Sarah Carlson-Brown as Solvay and Matthew Pyle as Peter Gnit in Bluebarn Theatre’s production of “Gnit” by Will Eno

The play is loosely based on Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” and includes elements of adventure, drama, and humor.

“Solvay says, ‘I’ve heard about you, I’ve always wondered about that name, Gnit.’ And he says, ‘Oh, it was a typo on my birth certificate and we thought we’d just leave it.’” said Clement-Toberer.

This production features the Bluebarn’s signature minimalist approach to set and design, an aesthetic that responds to the theatre’s space restrictions and the resources historically available.

“We started on a shoestring budget, and we know that we can tell the story of the play in a simplistic and authentic way,” said Clement-Toberer. “The elements in are very minimalistic. You know, the mother’s house is a bed and a window. It moves very rapidly, the play does, so we knew that we had to create pieces that would immediately set the audience in place and time.”

The minimalist approach to this play also applies to casting. Matthew Pyle plays “Gnit” with Stacie Lamb as his mother. The rest of the roles are split between four actors, each one playing multiple characters.

“Sarah Carlson-Brown plays ‘Solvay’, who is really Gnit’s love interest for the span of the play, which is about 30 years. She also plays a male bartender, a gravedigger, which is very funny, and an auctioneer as well.” said Clement-Toberer. “And then we have Jonathan Purcell who plays ‘Town’, a multiple-character person, and he also plays ‘the Green Family’ – all of them at once – and he also plays ‘International Man’.”

Katlynn Yost, plays “Stranger 2”, another multiple-character, as does an actor who KVNO listeners might recognize.

“Bill Grennan plays a hunter, he plays a sweet man who gets left at the altar, and he plays ‘Pale Man’, which I won’t say too much about.” Clement-Toberer said.

“Gnit”, a new play by Will Eno opens February 20 and runs through March 16 at the Bluebarn Theatre in downtown Omaha. For showtimes, tickets, and more information, visit www.bluebarn.org.

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