Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Space 55 presents ROGER & GENE, A Play About Two Old Critics In A Brave New World, June 7-16

Space55 Theatre Gives Two Thumbs Up To Premiering "Roger & Gene," A Play About Two Old Critics In A Brave New World

For 18 years Space55 has been bringing unusual, underseen, and adventurous new work to the
Valley. We’re proud to return to Metro Arts this June with a new play by Ashley Naftule, the
ariZoni Award-winning playwright of Radio Free Europa and Orange Skies. Directed by Space55
Artistic Director BJ Garrett, Roger and Gene is an absurdist & timely comedy about two very
familiar film critics navigating a strange new world of on-demand content, artificial intelligence
run amuck, and their own disintegrating relationship. Roger and Gene is a play about two men
fighting over movies and what place humanity has left in a digital world.

Inspired by At The Movies, Samuel Beckett, On Cinema, and the novels of Philip K. Dick, Roger
and Gene will unleash a torrent of profane & hilarious conversation about modern Hollywood
movies, toxic male friendships, ABBA, basketball, and the inevitable (?) extinction of the human

Starring Matt Clarke as Roger, Steve Wilcox as Gene, and Shelly Trujillo as Pauline, Roger and
Gene plays at Metro Arts (1700 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix) from June 7 to June 16. Friday shows at
7:30pm, Saturday shows at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm. There will be a special Saturday
matinee performance at 2pm on June 8 and a Pay What You Want performance on Thursday,
June 13 at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $20 and available at the door or online via Space55.org.

Plot Synopsis:
Roger and Gene are living the dream. The media ecosystem is crumbling around them, the arts
are being destroyed by A.I., but they’re still holding onto their jobs as America’s most beloved
film critics. There’s only one problem: they absolutely hate each other. Also, their producers
keep giving them bizarre and increasingly hostile notes. Oh, and they’re starting to get a little
worried about all the inexplicable aches & pains on their bodies and the frequent memory loss.
And their biggest rival knows a devastating secret about them that she won’t share. Will Fate
give these bickering boys two thumbs up or has their mixed review of Barbie sealed their

About the playwright:

Ashley Naftule is an ariZoni-winning playwright and the Associate Artistic Director at Space55.
They’ve written and produced six plays: Ear, The First Annual Bookburners Convention, The
Canterbury Tarot, Radio Free Europa, The Hidden Sea, and Orange Skies.

About the director::

BJ Garrett is an ariZoni-nominated director whose prior credits include Fennec the Fox, A Bloody
Mary Christmas, and Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?. He is a partner at local film
collective Synthetic Human Pictures and the Artistic Director of Space 55.

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