New Iowa City company brings ‘Tender Napalm’ to Public Space One

Tender Napalm

Public Space One — Friday and Saturday Jan. 20-21 at 6:30 p.m.

Skylar Matthias (L) and Amiee Townsend in 'Tender Napalm' -- photo courtesy of Lightswitch Theatre Company
Skylar Matthias (L) and Amiee Townsend in ‘Tender Napalm’ — photo courtesy of Lightswitch Theatre Company

Philip Ridley’s 2011 poetic, surreal play Tender Napalm, presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York, is the debut production of Lightswitch Theatre Company, a new addition to the vibrant Iowa City theatre community. Founded by University of Iowa senior Skylar Matthias, the company grew out of a winning John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center pitch.

Matthias describes LTC in an email as, “a company of theatre artists abstracting familiar spaces and creating unique theatrical experiences where lines between performer and spectator are constantly shifting.”

“Audiences are invited to rediscover the childlike excitement of exploring the unknown and experience the adventure of storytelling,” Matthias writes.

Tender Napalm explores the relationship between an unnamed man and woman, and is in turns romantic and violent. Aleks Sierz’s review of its premiere at London’s Southwark Playhouse notes, “[T]his is a piece that explores the language of love, mixing desire with fantasy, and blending contemporary fears with deep human needs.”

The play is presented in conjunction with Company Carolina at UNC Chapel Hill. Student designers and the show’s producer are at Chapel Hill; the production features Matthias both as director and actor, along with co-star Aimee Townsend.

This production of Tender Napalm opened in North Carolina on Jan. 13; LTC brings the show to Public Space One for two nights, Jan. 20 and 21, at 6:30 p.m. each night. Admission is free.

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