“Don’t let tall buildings block the view of your dreams…” is one of the many quaint sayings peddled by Warren, a struggling twenty-something in New York City. Warren is one of four characters in the musical “Ordinary Days” presented for three weeks by Play Inc. Arts at their gallery in the Cambridge Public Library. Each character is relatable, real, unique, and decidedly normal or “ordinary.” Each is trying to grasp an elusive “place in the world.” Warren wants to be a part of something, but feels like a speck among thousands of specks. Deb is convinced that everybody has a “big picture” of how their life should be, but she has no idea how to draw her own. Jason is trying to connect with his girlfriend Claire, who continues to push him away now that he has moved in. Claire is afraid to move on from a loss so tragic that she hasn’t even told Jason about it.
Ordinary Days is a four person musical told in one act of almost constant music. It is set a few years after 9/11, and the events of that day play a significant part in Claire’s journey. She sees herself as a before and an after, as many in our world, do. Through the course of the ninety minutes, Claire and Jason reminisce, fight, get engaged, and break up. Deb and Warren meet each other as Warren is trying to return a lost graduate thesis of Deb’s that he found. The two are not kindred spirits but eventually Deb starts to see Warren’s view of the world and the beauty in the things that don’t stand out.
Selected by the Play Inc Arts board of directors several years ago to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Ordinary Days highlights the event, without that day being the center of the story. It is part of the world and anchors people to a time and place, but like all tragic events, it is something that we all eventually are able to move on from.
Due to the small cast size, directors Aaron Knudsvig and Shannon Shogren have actually triple cast the show. Knudsvig says, “we have such great talent, and we planned on double casting the show, that it was really hard to not cast a third group.” He added, “we really didn’t think about what we were doing to ourselves.”
The show plays at the Play Inc. Studio and Gallery attached to the Cambridge Public Library on Sept. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, and 25 with each weekend being played by a different cast. All performances are at 8 p.m. and will be done by 10 p.m. The directors really hope that this show offers a unique experience for the audience. It has moments that will have you laughing uproariously, moments that you will look at with recognition of your own real life experiences, and moments that will make you cry.
“In the end, it is a story of everyday people, trying to connect in a world that feels increasingly isolated,” says Knudsvig, “and I think it is important to be reminded that not all stories have or need superheroes or grand adventures. Sometimes seeing yourself in the stories is what we really need.”
Tickets are available www.playincarts.org and are limited to 36 per performance. With limited capacity, it is expected that there will be very few, if any, walk up tickets available.