New play performed on a Flatbush terrace explores the unseen effects of gentrification • Brooklyn Paper

A brand new play performed on a terrace in Flatbush will deal with themes of neighborhood histories and gentrification in an ultra-intimate setting, which is itself a foremost half of the plot. 

“Terrace Play” (stylized as “terrace play”) from director and playwright Elizabeth Irwin, whose terrace it’s performed on, follows the tales of two younger folks on the terrace of the well-to-do household they work for in present-day Brooklyn, contrasted with the story of two excessive schoolers in Flatbush in 2011 on the roof of the similar constructing earlier than it was become higher-end residences.

Actors Charlie Hurtt and Siercia O’Brien will take on the starring roles of the script, taking part in each the residents of yesteryear, in addition to the upper-middle class residents representing the post-gentrified neighborhood. 

Irwin mentioned she wished to do extra than simply carry out the play on a terrace, and that it was necessary to her to have the setting be significant. 

“I don’t want this to just be a play on a terrace,” she mentioned. “I want there to be a reason why whatever is going to happen would take place on a terrace.” 

When she first began planning the play, Irwin researched her constructing on Parkside Avenue close to Flatbush Avenue, and located that it was as soon as dwelling to a barbershop, Nelson’s Barbershop, earlier than it was redeveloped. Irwin finally tracked down Nelson Urraca, the former proprietor of the barbershop who nonetheless cuts hair in Flatbush and interviewed him together with different Flatbush residents as half of the analysis course of. Urraca ended up attending the play as nicely. 

“It’s pretty vital, whoever you’re writing about to actually talk to them,” she mentioned. “I don’t ever want to write a story about anyone and not honor the truth about it.” 

Irwin’s analysis led her to the second act of the play, which follows highschool college students Omario and Megan whereas they hang around on the roof of the constructing in 2011, which at the time was above Nelson’s Barbershop, the place Omario works sweeping hair on the weekends. 

Omario sees Nelson’s as a sanctuary from the on a regular basis strife of residing in Flatbush — a sanctuary that not exists in the current day. Irwin mentioned she was taken with exploring the much less tangible issues like this which can be misplaced throughout gentrification. 

“One of the things that I was interested in focusing on is the less tangible ways to measure what happens when places disappear,” she mentioned. “It’s more common to hear about ‘well, this building got knocked down and this affordable housing was lost and now we have this high rise.’ That’s kind of the standard way we look at it but I was interested in the idea of the less tangible ways that things get lost.”

Irwin mentioned she labored to advertise the play amongst locals, and it’s been necessary for her to have the ability to inform a story about Flatbush truly inside Flatbush. 

“Stories of Brooklyn, or any place, we might see those stories in a theater in Midtown, or they’ll bring theater to the outer boroughs, but what’s been really lovely has been doing a play in a neighborhood, about a neighborhood, and getting people from the neighborhood to come,” she mentioned.

“Terrace Play” runs via Nov. 7, tickets can be found here.

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