“Seven Minutes in Heaven” Revisits Life of ‘90s Teens

Monday, November 11, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (November 11, 2013) – Remember the days when killing time didn’t involve email, social media, cell phones or mobile apps? The SJU Theatre Company revisits a time when unexpected moments of leisure forced the boundaries of teenage social class and stereotypes in playwright Steven Levenson’s comedy, “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” The show opens on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. and runs through Sunday, Nov. 24. It is the play’s premiere in the state of Pennsylvania.

“Seven Minutes in Heaven” explores the private and public lives of six ninth grade teens gathered in the basement of one of their homes on a Friday night in 1995. The host, Margot, played by Rachel Dansky ’17, is waiting for her out-of-town boyfriend to arrive to meet the party’s other guests. While the group waits, they engage in many of the games familiar to the 90s generation, such as truth or dare and spin the bottle, among others. Inner monologues and soliloquies given by the party guests – played by Collin P. Mallee ’17, Katie Jordan ’15, Catherine McParland ’16, Justin Russell ’17, and Patrick Meaney ’16 – reveal to the audience the intricacies of the group dynamic, including peer misconceptions and heartbreak.

Laura Pattillo, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and co-artistic director of the SJU Theatre Company, says Levenson’s 90-minute play has something for everyone.

“It’s a timeless nostalgia piece in many ways, but at the same time, it chronicles an event that may never take this particular form again,” she says. “We can all recognize the angst and anticipation of being a guest at a party like this, but the whole evening would have a very different shape if it happened in the 2000s instead of the 1990s. Without the technology we have today, there’s nothing to mediate the experience of spending four hours in someone’s basement.”

The production’s release is well-timed and in sync with the experience of the young actors. The bittersweet comedy features six cast members, all of whom are freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Four are making their SJU Theatre debut.

“Steven Levenson is about the right age to have been one of the teens in the basement he creates in this show,” Pattillo explains. “Our actors were born around 1995, which gives them a certain amount of distance from the situation, but enough insight to really connect with it. They do a wonderful job.”

Pattillo cautions that though “Seven Minutes in Heaven” features young teen characters, some language and references may not be suitable for children under 13. The show runs Nov. 14 – 16 and 22 – 23 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. in Bluett Theatre, Post Hall, on Overbrook Ave. near 56th Street. Tickets are $18 for general admission, and $10 for all students and SJU faculty and staff.. To reserve tickets, call 610-660-1181. For more information on the show or Cap & Bells, visit http://www.sju.edu/theatre.

Media Contact

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Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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