For anyone in a relationship where techno-distractions—laptops, tablets, TVs, smart phones, even stupid phones that can’t call up Netflix, go shopping, text, grab an Uber or take photos/videos—threaten to dissolve one-on-one communications, have I got a show for you. The new play Fiercely Independent, penned by Tony-winning producer Kathleen K. Johnson, cuts to the crux of everybody who’s been forced to play second fiddle to the internet over dinner. Which nowadays I would venture, is roughly 90% of Earth’s population.
My husband and I are both chronic offenders and we’ve been married a long time. Imagine trying to boost marital morale when it’s been less than five years since you’ve blurted your “I do’s.” As it happens, Johnson presents theatergoers with a husband and wife situation that tackles modern day couple communication in a most aggressive way: a 24-hour stay in a hotel room with total abstinence from any and all devices, screens, cell-phonery, etc.
The participants: Julie and Robert, married four years.
The problem: They haven’t been getting along and are making an effort to work things out by stepping away from the 21st century devices so dear to their hearts.
This timely work stars Caitlin Gallogly (Silicon Valley, Future Man, Colony); Christopher M. Smith (The Blacklist, Orange Is the New Black), and Jordan Sobel (several acting companies from New York to Fort Worth).
As for Ms. Johnson—whose trio of Tony Awards are for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; and Hair—she not only wrote Fiercely Independent, she also signed on as director. She is joined on the creative side of things by set and lighting designer Will Cotton; costume designer Rodney Harper; and Andrew David Sotomayor, who wrote original music and lyrics for the production (performed by George Bugatti on a recording by Erik Gloege).
This Off-Broadway world premiere will begin previews on March 2nd at the SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam St.), with an official opening on March 6th. However, be forewarned: this is a limited engagement of five weeks with a closing date set for April 7th.
The playing schedule is Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm, with matinees Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 3pm. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit fiercelysoho.com or call 212-691-1555. The show runs 90 minutes, without intermission.