Dominion Stage will be performing “P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!” – a dark, funny, physical comedy about losers on their worst day. It will be performed at Gunston Theatre Two, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington, VA, May 3, 4, 9 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 at 8pm. The Saturday, May 11th performance will be American Sign Language Interpreted.
For 69 years, Dominion Stage has brought innovative and unexpected theatrical productions to the Arlington community. With the tagline “Anything But Predictable,” Dominion’s productions often highlight marginalized voices and experiences, including storylines featuring LGBTQ characters (“Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Take Me Out”); minority characters in a time of racial intolerance (“Dreamgirls” and “The Wild Party”); or mental challenges of varying degrees (“The House of Blue Leaves” and “‘Night, Mother”).
Over the last five years, Dominion has been working to include the Deaf community. Our production of “Sordid Lives” featured a Deaf actor in a lead role, signing his lines with an onstage speaking actor. Because Dominion’s Set Construction team includes a Deaf Master Carpenter, Arlington County’s excellent scene shop facility has evolved into a safe and welcoming space for members of the Deaf community who wish to participate in building activities. In 2017 a member of the Deaf community joined Dominion’s board and in 2018 Dominion Stage began providing ASL interpreters at our performances.
Tickets are available at: www.dominionstage.org/buytickets
“P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!” is set on New Year’s Eve, 1978, in a NYC apartment. The play is a farcical story about two losers want better things in their lives but are ignorant of how to pursue them. Jimmy, a struggling actor, is at a breaking point. He has lost his job, been robbed twice, and he is on the outs with his girlfriend. Vito, a burglar, has come to rob Jimmy for the third time in the past 3 months, but this time he is caught and suffers the full wrath of the hapless Jimmy. These losers are, on the surface, enemies, but throughout the play we will see them grow as their circumstances seemingly force them to try to make changes in their life to better themselves. Everyone can relate to the feeling of being unsuccessful and nothing going right. This is the mental and emotional state we find the characters in “P.S Your Cat Is Dead!” We watch them, each in their own way, try to deal with this realization
I had a chance to interview Adam Downs who plays Jimmy Zoole in “P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!” at Dominion Stage.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself? Where do you reside? Do you perform for a living or do you have a “regular” job?
I grew up in northern Virginia, went to college at UCLA, lived in New York City for a couple of years, then back to Los Angeles for a couple more years before moving back to the DC area about 10 years ago. I’ve worked with both community theaters (Little Theatre of Alexandria, Dominion Stage) and professional theaters (Studio Theatre, Rep Stage) in the DC area. For my “regular” job, I work for Great American Restaurants (Check out our new restaurants opening very soon in Tysons!).
When you lived in Paris, did you do any theatre? If so, was is in French or English?
For many years, I was the nanny for the family of an American foreign service officer. When he was assigned to Paris, they took me with them! Only problem was…I hardly knew any French! I adapted and discovered some English-language play-reading groups. But I missed the abundance of theater I had come to love in DC. I’m so excited to dive back in with “P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!” at Dominion Stage.
How is your character, Jimmy Zoole, like you and how is he different?
Jimmy’s in his late 30’s and has played it safe his whole life. He’s been overly concerned with pleasing other people, ingratiating himself to those around him and being “Mr. Nice Guy”. Without giving too much away, he kind of snaps and the audience is taken on his journey of self-discovery. What does he really want out of life? What (or who) inspires him? Can he learn to live on his own terms and be happy? I certainly can relate to that. How are we different? I’m more of a dog person.
Were there any challenges in portraying this character and what were they?
At the beginning of the play, Jimmy’s in the middle of the worst day of his life. He’s been fired from two acting jobs, his apartment’s been robbed twice, his girlfriend’s leaving him on New Year’s Eve for another man, and he comes home to discover that his cat has died. I start off the play in a very depressing place. Jimmy finds a random gun in his apartment left behind by the guy who robbed him and takes it as a sign. It’s actually quite funny. Making the arc of this character grounded and relatable is going to be my biggest challenge.
What should the audience take away from this play?
You never know who will come into your life. You never know how you’ll react and be open to being inspired by a stranger. You can be having the worst day of your life and then all of a sudden, someone unexpected drops in and gives you a reason to look forward to the new year and the new you.