Down Past Passyunk, the new play written by A. Zell Williams, the InterAct Theatre Company’s 2012-2013 Playwright in Residence has rocked the streets of Philadelphia with this explosive story taken from National headlines. Williams wanted to tell the story of the havoc that may have erupted in the changing South Philadelphia neighborhood when a Philadelphia cheese steak shop owner told a customer when trying to order a cheese steak to Speak English you’re in America. The powerful play directed by Matt Pfeiffer brings to life the misconceptions of immigration, diversity, prejudice, hate, love, and South Philadelphia and cheese steaks.
Nicky Grillo, the steak shop owner played by William Zielinski skillfully captured the mindset of some who are grappling with the changing times. Alex Keiper passionately played the role of Sophia, Nicky’s daughter, who was caught between the past, present and future. Bobby Plasencia thoughtfully and delicately handled the role of Ignacio Guerrero, the Latino owner of the new steak shop in the neighborhood. William Rahill, Vince the best friend, kept us laughing and on point with his wisecracks. Brian Cowden as Stanley Drago made us feel his compassionate conflict and dilemmas. Kittson O’Neill could have stepped from a Philadelphia newsroom, perfectly casted as Newswoman, Tambrey Walker. Alice Yorke, Emma brought us into the present with her friendly outgoing words, stories and attitude.
In addition, the production team did a fantastic job. The sights, sounds and smells are so realistic it is guaranteed that you will leave wanting to go and get a Philly cheese steak. If you are from Philly, have ever been to Philly or eaten a cheese steak you know what I’m talking about. This is a must see play with unexpected twists and turns that will have you thinking and talking about change and what could happen for years to come.
You can still see Down Past Passyunk from April 4-27 at The Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom Street. Upcoming plays are Ritu Comes Home, May 30-June 22. The 2014-2015 season at InterAct Theatre begins with Jen Silverman's The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane January 16-February 8, 2015 followed by Thomas Gibbons’ Uncanny Valley runs April 3-26, 2015 and Seth Rozin’s Three Christs of Manhattan. For more information www.interacttheatre.org