Pinky Swear Explores Dark And Messy Side Of Family In Three-​Play Rep

When the bonds that hold the family together are broken, twisted, or begin to dissolve, what is the shape of the thing that’s left? Is it still a family, something less, or something more? This spring, Pinky Swear Productions presents three plays, including two world premieres by D.C. playwrights, that ask this question in the most startling of ways.

Bleed by Renee Calarco (starring *Karen Lange and Francisco Reinoso) tells the story of a husband and wife playing the last round of a delicate game that’s defined their marriage.

Benched by Allyson Currin (starring *Toni Rae Salmi, Rebecca Ellis, and Karina Hilleard) is about three friends and mothers whose friendship is threatened when one of them confronts one of life’s powerful changes.

Smudge by Rachel Axler (starring *Melissa Hmelnicky, Brandon Cater, and *Shane Solo) explores the awful question that ke/​eps expectant parents up at night: What happens if your child isn’t the perfect bundle of joy you hoped for? What if it comes out…wrong

All three of these plays present women who are interesting, smart, and complicated,” explained Pinky Swear co-​artistic director Karen Lange. “Their lives are about more than just dating and romance, which is, too often, the subject of plays. Instead, we have women who have married, who have divorced, who have given birth. Some are ambivalent about motherhood, which is something society still sees as taboo. Their relationships to the men in their lives are not pat and not about finding happily ever after. These characters are flawed, truthful, and they reflect real women.

This trio of plays, written by some of the most talented women working today, will run in rep at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda from April 19 to May 19. Bleed and Benched (both directed by Matt Ripa) will be paired as a single evening of theatre, with Smudge (directed by *Ryan Maxwell) running on alternate evenings.

Any of these plays could stand on its own, but, together, they present a panoramic view of the many ways one’s family can change one’s identity and well-​being,” Lange added. “We are not just mothers, but spouses, friends, in-​laws, daughters, siblings — in short, humans. We really wanted to present a full spectrum.”

The mission of Pinky Swear Productions is to produce modern plays with strong, engaging women’s roles. Pinky Swear’s goals are to build a company in which local theatre artists can make a living in the DC community; raise the profile of women’s voices in theatre by hiring women artists and technicians whenever possible; and enable artists to experiment with new avenues of expression. Previous productions include: Killing Women, Carol’s Christmas, and Cabaret XXX (voted best musical at the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival).

* denotes a Pinky Swear company member

Tickets can be purchased at pinkyswear​fam​ily​.brown​pa​pertick​ets​.com/

Specific dates for each show

Friday May 3 8pm Smudge
Saturday May 4 3pm Benched/​Bleed
Saturday May 4 8pm Smudge
Sunday May 5 3pm Benched/​Bleed
Sunday May 5 8pm Smudge

Friday May 10 8pm Benched/​Bleed
Saturday May 11 3pm Smudge
Saturday May 11 8pm Benched/​Bleed
Sunday May 12 3pm Smudge
Sunday May 12 8pm Benched/​Bleed

Friday May 17 8pm Benched/​Bleed
Saturday May 18 8pm Smudge
Sunday May 19 3pm Benched/​Bleed
Sunday May 19 8pm Smudge

You are here: Home Previous Productions The Unclear Family: A Repertory