The Upper Room | Rady&Bloom


"There's exuberance here, and the musical numbers - moodily lit by Jay Ryan, with daffy-beautiful choreography by Mr. Bloom and Mr. Rady let it take flight."

"a sonic glow as entrancing as a phosphorescent sea... vocally complex, rich and consistently surprising"

-The New York Times, Critic's Pick

Written and directed by Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady; music composed and performed by Catherine Brookman; featuring Joe White (guitar): Catherine Brookman* (Hannah), Tjasa Ferme (Eileen), Dana Kaplan-Angle (Marta), Govind Kumar (Seamus), Robert Gadol Lavenstein (Albert), Joyce Miller (Philipa), Stacy Ayn Price (Sue), Julia Sirna-Frest* (Dawn), and Heather Thiry (Lena) *AEA

The Upper Room is a new play with original music inspired by the back-to-the-land movement. Set on an island way off the north coast of Maine, the last participants of a once thriving commune meet the sea. Anxious and restless, the quorum gathers around the table in their upper room to confront the rising water and certain members' curious ailments. A darkly humorous consideration of spirituality and the dangers of our changing environment combines with a live mixed score, antique scuba suits, and an overhead projector to create a new tale of human metamorphoses.

Inspirational sources include the lives of Helen and Scott Nearing (authors of "The Good Life"), the grandmother/grandfather of the back-to-the-land/ homesteading movement. The play is also inspired by Iris Murdoch's novels "The Bell" and "The Unicorn," by Karen Blixen's short story "Babette's Feast," and by selkie and mermaid legends at large.

"a daring piece you have to see to believe."

-Theater in the Now

The Upper Room was commissioned by the New Ohio, and was developed as part of the Archive Residency (New Ohio/ IRT), the Drama League Artist Residency Program, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Process Space program. The Upper Room is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC.net).

“But its most distinctive feature is a sonic glow as entrancing as a phosphorescent sea. Vocally complex, rich and consistently surprising, Catherine Brookman’s music elevates the play onto another plane. “

- New York Times (NYT Critic’s Pick)