Youngblood Theatre goes dramatic with “Dying City”
Youngblood Theatre’s artistic director Benjamin Wilson talks their first show of the season, a post-9/11 drama about loss staged in the Lincoln Storage Warehouse.
There’s something I’ve found artistic directors all have in common – they’ve got projects just piling up in their back pockets, waiting for the perfect actor, the perfect venue, the perfect opportunity.
“I discovered Dying City about three years ago, and only recently found the time and place to do it,” said artistic director Benjamin Wilson. Youngblood performed a free show in the Lincoln Storage Warehouse a couple years ago, when it was a little more hollowed out.
“There’s drywall and stuff now,” laughed Wilson. “It’s been remodeled into more of a loft area instead of just open warehouse space. It really helps frame what the play means—the cityscape is useful.”
Christopher Shinn’s Dying City takes place in Kelly’s (Tess Cinpinski) NYC apartment. Her husband died in Iraq a year ago, and his twin brother (Andrew Voss) appears unannounced at her door.
“I would call it a period piece,” said Wilson. “Very post-9/11. The year is about 2004 or 2005, and so the writing has a lot of timely references. It’s not necessarily political, it just deals with loss, and about people not being who you thought they were.”
“I always seem to pick the dark plays,” joked Wilson.
Youngblood has seen other changes in that time, having received nonprofit funding and losing company member Michael Cody to other ventures.
“But Youngblood has always swapped roles in the past among company members,” said Wilson.
When asked about Milwaukee’s current theater scene, Wilson spoke excitedly about the past three or four years.
“Aside from reaching an audience, the goal is to make theater accessible to young actors,” said Wilson. “Milwaukee has really begun to bud again, with companies like Pink Banana and Quasimondo. We lost some of that a few years ago, but it’s really encouraging to see the grassroots efforts surging back, especially since it’s so tough to break in.”
Dying City premieres at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, Thursday, Sept. 26 and runs through Oct. 12. See the full schedule and purchase tickets ($15) online. The Lincoln Storage Warehouse is at 2018 S. First St, across from the Horny Goat.