Accordingly, Brancato and executive director Andrew Horn have set a season that will provoke conversation, and maybe a little outrage, in the converted barn on Crickettown Road in Stony Point.
The season kicks off May 16 with Evan Smith’s “The Savannah Disputation” directed by Penguin regular Mark Shanahan.
It’s about two sisters whose world is shaken when a young evangelist arrives on their doorstep. “It’s a humorous play, but it sharply turns and becomes important,” Brancato says. “I’m interested in seeing the reaction from our audience. We’ll have a number of discussions after this comedy.”
From June 27 to July 20, Brancato directs the New York premiere of Lissa Levin’s “Sex and Education,” which tackles the role profanity and vulgarity play in contemporary life. “How do we deal with the change in language and the young generation’s openness about sexuality?” Brancato says. Suggested for mature audiences, it includes what Brancato calls “profanity with a purpose.”
In August, John Markus (head writer for “The Cosby Show”) and Mark St. Germain (a Pound Ridge writer best known for “Freud’s Last Session”) collaborate on “The Fabulous Lipitones,” a comedy with songs about a barbershop quartet that recruits a new member from a different culture and perspective.
The season wraps up with “Playing the Assassin,” about a former hard-hitting NFL star being interviewed by a young TV reporter. It runs Sept. 19 through Oct. 12. The plays, Brancato says, will “stir the gray matter” but will also arrive as a “punch in the gut,” something to which Penguin audiences are accustomed.
Penguin continues its popular “Play with Your Food” play-reading series on summer Mondays: June 9, July 7, Aug. 18, and Sept. 8. And Penguin will once again team with SUNY Rockland for three special events, at SUNY Rockland in Suffern, include Jim Brochu’s “Character Man,” “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn,” and Maureen McGovern’s premiere of her show “Sing, My Sisters, Sing.”
Mainstage productions in Penguin’s 108-seat theater, run Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. www.penguinrep.org or 845-786-2873.
Top photo by Dorice Arden: Founding Artistic Director Joe Brancato addresses the opening day audience of “Drop Dead Perfect” last August. Second photo by Dorice Arden: Brancato opens the Penguin door.