In E.M. Lewis’ “Apple Season,” which will have its world premiere at NJ Repertory Company Jan. 12, a brother and sister who thought they’d left their past behind find that it has instead shaped their current lives and could still alter their future.
How they deal with their childhood pain and with each other is the dramatic thrust of the story, director Zoya Kachadurian said.
“When bad things happen, it’s not just the victim who is affected. That’s an important message to convey and I like how this play shows that,” Kachadurian said. “We think children get over things. We acknowledge basic traumas but we think they outgrow it. It colors their lives in ways we don’t even realize.”
The director was careful not to reveal any of the details of the show.
The general description offered by NJ Rep will have to suffice, she said: “Twenty years ago, Lissie and Roger fled from their family farm and made themselves disappear. But the family secrets haunt them still. A funeral and a question from an old friend send the two siblings tumbling down a rabbit hole of memory and grief, as they try to let go of a tangled past that refuses to release them.”
Just as the play is about a homecoming for the characters, it’s also one for Kachadurian, a Newark native and graduate of Barringer High School. There, she said, drama teacher Alfon Valor inspired her to follow a career in theater.
“This is my first time directing in my home state,” she said. “It’s nice to be back where you have your memories, just as the play is about someone going back to a place and having memories, both good and bad.”
Despite being set far from Long Branch, Kachadurian is confident the play will resonate with NJ Rep’s audience.
“Anytime theater is thought-provoking, it has succeeded,” she said. “It makes people think of their own community.”
NJ Repertory Company
179 Broadway, Long Branch
Tickets: $50-55, available online at njrep.org. January 12 – February 10.
Natalie Pompilio is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Twitter @nataliepompilio. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook.