Unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, so it’s long been said. In her conceptually ambitious and expertly acted play, Catch as Catch Can, Mia Chung takes that time-honored trope and puts her own theatrical stamp on it. Bottom line, she doubles down. Three actors play six characters – each an adult child and one of their parents — jumping genders and generations while they’re at it. In director Daniel Aukin’s staging at Playwrights Horizons, a trio of Asian actors play the characters who,...
Catch as Catch Can Tickets
Catch as Catch Can Information
Mia Chung's play Catch as Catch Can is off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons this fall. Get Catch as Catch Can tickets on New York Theatre Guide.
Catch as Catch Can is a play about two working-class New England families: the Irish Phelans — Theresa and her son Tim — and the Italian Lavecchias — Roberta, Lon, and their children Robbie and Daniela. The action kicks off when Tim comes home from California after 11 years. Once the family's golden boy, he lost that title after being away for so long and now, announcing his engagement to a Korean American woman. This ruffles Roberta, as Robbie is still reeling from a divorce from an Asian American woman. On the flip side, Daniela is eagerly waiting for her boyfriend to propose, though there's a whiff of romantic tension between her and Tim.
These families are so close that they're almost like one, but above all these other tensions is one that threatens to tear them apart: the mental illness of one of its characters. Plus, all these beliefs the parents have about their children and their expected roles — like the golden boy, the happily engaged daughter — may all turn out to be wrong.
Though Catch as Catch Can starts out like a typical living-room family drama, with two moms swapping local gossip over tea and cookies, the show is anything but typical. Ordinary conversations and events are staged in unconventional ways. For one, three actors play all six characters to highlight the inherited similarities and differences between parent and child. Roberta and Robbie, Lon and Daniela, and Theresa and Tim are each played by one actor without any costume changes, so the actors morph between ages and genders — sometimes within a single scene.
In addition, this production of Catch as Catch Can off Broadway features an all-Asian cast playing the Italian and Irish characters; this is a change from the 2018 world premiere of the play at the New Ohio Theatre, which featured an all-white cast. That production was presented by Page 73, a company that gives new playwrights their first New York productions. Past playwrights featured there include Pulitzer finalists Heidi Schreck and Clare Barron; Pulitzer winner and In the Heights bookwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes; and Samuel D. Hunter, whose play A Case For the Existence of God got rave reviews in the 2021-22 theatre season.
Chung's other plays include You for Me for You, which was performed in London and Washington, D.C., and This Exquisite Corpse. Director David Aukin was formerly the artistic director of Soho Rep and has directed world-premiere shows by acclaimed playwrights including Joshua Harmon, Sam Shepard, and María Irene Fornés.
Tickets to Catch as Catch Can in New York are available now.
October 14th, 2022
November 20th, 2022
Cast and creative
By: Mia Chung
Producer: Playwrights Horizons
Director: Daniel Aukin
Lighting: Marika Kent
Sound: Bray Poor
Design: Matt Saunders
Costume: Enver Chakartash
Cast list: Cindy Cheung, Jon Norman Schneider, Rob Yang
Latest Catch as Catch Can News & Features
Cast as cast can. Mia Chung's Catch as Catch Can has set the cast for its Off-Broadway production. Performances run from October 14 to November 20 at Playwrights Horizons, with opening night on November 1.The cast includes Cindy Cheung as Lon and Daniela, Jon Norman Schneider as Roberta and Robbie, and Rob Yang as Theresa and Tim. Each actor plays a parent and their adult child, one man and one woman each. Furthermore, though the characters are Irish and Italian American, this production...