Planet Ant Theatre opens their season this year with Hamtown Races, a play by local playwright Margaret Edwartowski of Harper Woods. This original production is about the changing demographics in Hamtramck, Michigan and takes places at a local diner owned by Lebanese immigrants that has many different patrons.
Director and Dearborn resident, Mike McGettigan, is a long time friend of the playwright and loves the shows. “It’s a very unique show and it says a lot of things that you really don’t get to see that often,” says McGettigan. The diner is located in Hamtramck and through the patrons of it, the varied and shifting cultures of the city are brought to life.
“The playwright has done a fine job with finding the fault lines in society and exploring them,” says Rico Bruce Wade of Lansing, “ she gave us a wonderful script with wonderful characters.” Wade plays Jimmy James, a long time Hamtramck resident who worked at American Axel until an injury put him on disability. “Jimmy is prideful, but tries to make his way despite his limitations,” says Wade, “I’ve been given full range to explore that and it has helped me create a character I love and who is great fun with his strong potty mouth.”
McGettigan is always amazed in the process on how the show develops. “This show specifically has been surprisingly because have different things happen with characters that we didn’t expect,” he says, “and we are just letting the characters voices speak for themselves and very interesting to see where it goes.” McGettingan likes to let the cast be a big part of his preparation instead of doing things that might give him a lot of preconceptions on the characters. “Most of it is in the casting,” he says, “and if you can get to work with a really great cast like we got, it is really helpful to bring them to the show and then characters just evolve and come to life.”
Wade has had fun with the character development process. “I get to explore and play with this very genuine and supportive cast,” he says, “it has been fun to see all the characters blossom.”
Hamtown Races is a character driven original play that explores life situations that Michigan residents are facing today. “The show has a lot of heart,” says McGettigan, “and really strong message about friends and family and how important it is in our lives.”
Hamtown Races opens at the Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck on September 21 and runs through October 13. For more information on Planet Ant Theatre, visit www.planetant.com. For tickets, call 313.365.4948 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com