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Ensemble Theatre to Show Off Renovated Space with "This Random World"

Is it a Random World?

“Yes – and no,” says Annie Fitzpatrick, one of the area’s favorite, and best, actresses. She plays a central role in the Cincinnati premiere of playwright Steve Dietz’s This Random World, opening Oct. 11 at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. The wistful drama is packed with area all-star performers including Kelly Mengelkoch, Burgess Byrd, Patrick Phillips, and Justin McCombs.

The theater will also be debuting its $5.1 million renovation – Ensemble now encompasses most of its Vine Street block. Treats for audiences include a roomy new lobby (with a bar!), an elevator, and comfy new seats with leg room.

Fate or luck? Happy coincidence or unintended consequence? Dietz’s globe-hopping, intimate adventure ponders how often we intersect with someone else’s world and never even know it.

Dietz plays have been on Ensemble’s stage for almost 20 years. Fitzpatrick is a veteran of the playwright’s quirky looks at humanity, including Becky’s New Car and last season’s Bloomsday at Ensemble. If there’s a thread through Dietz’s plays, it’s getting out there and living life.

Fitzpatrick plays mom Scottie Ward who decides to go on a trip without telling her adult children. Meanwhile, they’re having adventures of their own.  

Dietz spent a couple days at Ensemble last week, talking to the cast. “The play’s subtitle is The Myth of Serendipity,” Fitzpatrick says. “It’s about mis-connection. The tiniest things can have a profound effect on your life, like catching the end of a conversation instead of the beginning.”

In This Random World, she continues, the Ward family “are all so caught up in their own lives that they miss something that could change them – like understanding someone you love better.”

If the work on stage is about life being random, the work that’s been going on backstage has been anything but.

“Oh. My. God.,” Fitzpatrick already loves the changes at Ensemble, starting with the rehearsal room. “You can see daylight! You don’t have to climb four flights of stairs!” The lobby is ten times bigger – there’s a bar where people can sit and talk. And there are so many restroom stalls!”

This Random World, through Nov. 4. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $53 adults, $31 students, $27 children (including fees.) Preview $35. Half-price rush tickets can be purchased starting two hours prior to performance by phone or at the box office when available. 513-421-3555 and here.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
Image provided