Senior lecturer directing Toledo Rep’s edgy reading ‘Detroit’

October 7, 2014 | Events, UToday, — Communication and the Arts, Alumni
By Staff

Dislocation, dislocation, dislocation. Where has the American dream gone? That’s one of the questions Lisa D’Amour addresses in her play “Detroit.”

: Cindy Bilby, John DuVall, center, and Lane Hakel rehearsed a scene from “Detroit.”

: Cindy Bilby, John DuVall, center, and Lane Hakel rehearsed a scene from “Detroit.”

The Toledo Rep will present a reading of the work Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10 and 11, at 8 p.m. in the Valentine’s Studio A Theatre, 410 Adams St.

Jennifer Rockwood, UT senior lecturer of theatre, will direct the reading of “Detroit,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Obie Award for Best New American Play.

At times blistering, quirky and humorous, the 2010 work spotlights two suburban couples as they walk a tightrope between boredom and self-destruction while yearning for upward mobility in a time of economic uncertainty.

“I love this play and I think it will speak to friends who grew up in the suburbs that are so different and ‘gated’ now. There was a time when everyone knew everyone and neighbors were friendly, and block parties and barbecues were happening a lot,” Rockwood said. “It was the American dream to own a house in the suburbs; not so much anymore.”

Four years ago, Rockwood headed west to see “Detroit.”

“I saw it produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago with Laurie Metcalf, who was on ‘Rosanne,’ and fell in love with it,” she recalled.



Rockwood, who is teaching part time since retiring, believes the reading will appeal to many who long for simpler times — and like to laugh.

“I think we all pine and mourn our old neighborhoods and sidewalks, special childhood places, backyard BBQs, and how it used to be hanging out in our yards,” Rockwood said. “I generally pick plays that speak to difficult communication and growing up in America.”

The cast features Kate Abu-Absi, director of UT’s Arts Living and Learning Community, as Sharon; UT alumni John DuVall as Ben and Jeffrey J. Albright as Frank; and Cindy Bilby as Mary, Lane Hakel as Kenny, and Qarie Marshall as the narrator.

“My cast is very funny and poignant,” Rockwood said. “The play goes all over the psychic map; because of that, the script is strong for a staged reading.”

Tickets for the reading are $10.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 419.243.9277 or go to

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