The Off-Broadway premiere of Mary Elizabeth Hamilton's Smart has received a one-week extension to April 30. The Ensemble Studio Theatre production, which explores the benefits and pitfalls of technology in the responsibility of caregiving, began previews March 30 and opened April 6.
Elaine is responsible for taking care of her cranky and ill mother Ruth. Ruth doesn't want aides in the house, but Elaine needs help so she can go to work. Enter "Jenny," a smart device Elaine buys to babysit and keep her mom company that gives Elaine a way to check on Ruth. Jenny becomes part of the family—but who else is listening?
The cast stars Christine Farrell, Francesca Fernandez, and Kea Trevett.
Matt Dickson directs the production which features scenic design by Ant Ma, lighting design by Colleen Doherty, costume design by Megan Rutherford, props design by Caitlyn Murphy, and sound design by Josh Samuels.
“Mary's play is about new tech and privacy, about loneliness and connection in the city, about mothers and daughters—she ties those threads together with humor and warmth, and an ache that stays with you long after the play is over,” said EST's Co-Artistic Director Graeme Gillis in an earlier statement. “We've been working on this play with Mary for nearly five years, but the story it tells is very much of this moment. It's very much a play about life right now."
There will be a post-show panel discussion following the April 22 matinee performance with Meredith Broussard, Sophie Bushwick, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, and Ben Moskowitz about the issues of using smart devices in the home and personal privacy and data rights.
Smart marks Hamilton's Off-Broadway debut. The play is so-produced with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It was originally commissioned and developed through the EST/Sloan Project, a program organized by the Off-Broadway theatre and the foundation.