New beginnings are a recurring theme in the world of theater, as playwrights explore the transformative power of fresh starts and the complexities that come with them. In the shows Fireflies by Matthew Barber, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin by Kirsten Childs, Shutter Sisters by Mansa Ra, A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter, and Bubble Boy by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the concept of new beginnings takes center stage, captivating audiences with compelling narratives and thought-provoking explorations of personal growth and change. These diverse plays and musicals offer unique perspectives on the human experience, highlighting the challenges and triumphs that accompany new chapters in life —be it graduation, new leases on life, or taking control of one’s destiny.
A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter
A Kind of Alaska is a masterly study of a middle-aged woman waking up after 30 years passed in a coma induced by sleeping sickness. In her mind she is still 16, and her attempts to fathom the changed world into which she re-emerges is not only poignant and emotionally charged but, in the end, devastatingly brilliant theatre as well.
Bubble Boy book by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, music, and lyrics by Cinco Paul, based on the film Bubble Boy by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Jimmy Livingston was born without immunities and has spent his entire life confined inside a plastic bubble room. Enter Chloe, the girl next door, who becomes his friend and steals his heart. When she leaves town to get married, Jimmy travels cross-country in a homemade bubble suit in order to stop the wedding and finally tell her how he feels. Along the laugh-filled journey he deals with a crazy cult, a biker gang, a dead cow, and a controlling mother who will stop at nothing to get him back in the bubble.
Fireflies by Matthew Barber
Retired schoolteacher Eleanor Bannister lives a quiet life alone in tiny Groverdell, Texas, set in her routines and secure in her position as the town’s most respected woman — until a hole in her roof draws the attention of Abel Brown, a smooth-talking drifter intent on renovating Eleanor’s house, and possibly her life. Can the unexpected sparks of late-life romance be trusted, or is there truth in the gossip that Abel isn’t all that he seems to be? Either way, the whole town is talking. Fireflies is from the novel ‘Eleanor & Abel’ by Annette Sanford
The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin by Kirsten Childs
What’s a black girl from sunny Southern California to do? White people are blowing up black girls in Birmingham churches. Black people are shouting “Black is beautiful” while straightening their hair and coveting light skin. Viveca Stanton’s answer: Slap on a bubbly smile and be as white as you can be! In a humorous and pointed coming-of-age story spanning the sixties through the nineties, Viveca blithely sails through the confusing worlds of racism, sexism, and Broadway showbiz until she’s forced to face the devastating effect self-denial has had on her life.
Shutter Sisters by Mansa Ra
A heartfelt dramedy, Shutter Sisters tells the story of two women living parallel lives. A white woman named Michael struggles with strained family relationships at her adopted mother’s funeral, while a Black woman named Mykal navigates a challenge of her own: becoming an empty nester. A surrealist journey through womanhood, identity, and what it means to belong.
In the world of theater, the theme of new beginnings is a source of endless fascination, as playwrights delve into the profound impact of fresh starts on individuals’ lives. Through the plays Fireflies, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Shutter Sisters, A Kind of Alaska, and Bubble Boy, audiences are transported into the lives of characters grappling with the complexities of change, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness. These captivating narratives provide a platform for reflection, encouraging us to contemplate our own journeys and the transformative power of embracing new beginnings. With their rich storytelling and diverse perspectives, these plays remind us of the resilience and strength that can be found within each of us as we navigate the ever-changing landscapes of life.