Set in 1930’s New York City, Citizen Plain is a charmingly absurd and bittersweet coming-to-terms comedy steeped in dark humor. Baxter, a hopelessly romantic dreamer, is an idealistic and lonely fellow who wishes life could be more like the movies … he’s also a used suitcase salesman and a certifiable nobody. But Baxter’s about to discover that there’s more to him than meets the eye. Strange things are beginning to happen in his attic apartment. He’s seeing things, and his interpretation of reality may be cracking. Even his cuckoo clock has formed an opinion about Baxter as his wife, an ex Flapper, leaves him for a roster of odd suitors. But on the night of October 30th, 1938, as The Mercury Theatre’s radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds has some believing that Martians are attacking Earth, Baxter’s world crashes into that of his cinematic idols: Charles Chaplin, the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, and Harpo), Orson Welles, and a young Bette Davis. It may seem that this eccentric, sharp-witted ensemble have somehow gathered as a godsend, but drastically opposing intentions begin to surface as the night goes on. Unwittingly becoming the center of their unpredictable antics, Baxter desperately wants this life-affirming evening to last forever. But surprising twists, brimming with complications, create an existential crisis between the desires of the heart and the logic of the mind. Baxter finds himself pulled between several versions of his life that are playing out in a place that separates reality and imagination, a place that’s neither here nor there, and the stage is set for a transformational standoff. Baxter heartbreakingly discovers that the longer he avoids the end of this perfect night, tragic consequences are materializing for the rest of humanity, spiraling him into a hero’s plight as Chaplin nostalgically asks, “Would you trade the world you’ve always wanted, just to save a world who never wanted you?”
Character-driven and cleverly energetic, Citizen Plain explores what it means to be truly alive, questions how much of our “reality” is actually imagined, and will delight audiences into musing about the joy we could find if we chose to experience life through our hearts instead of our eyes.
The Palace Theatre, 1993. Following the finale' for a play no one has shown up for, Broadway star Martin Hewson retreats to his dressing room to find solace ... only to be painstakingly consoled by the father he'd given up on long ago, a drunk and delusional ex-Vaudeville performer.