Evocation to Visible Appearance

You wanna know what the future looks like? Samantha, 17 and possibly pregnant, longs for solid ground—but she’s haunted by the sense that nothing will last. Her college-bound boyfriend wants to go sing on The Voice, her dad’s asleep on the couch, and her older sister’s in treatment. When Sam befriends a tattooed musician, has she found someone who understands this fallen world? With black humor and black metal, this gripping new play gives form to a gathering darkness.

Cast of Evocation to Visible Appearance, Photo by Bill Brymer
Cast of Evocation to Visible Appearance, Photo by Bill Brymer
Ronete Levenson (Natalie) and Suzy Weller (Samantha), Photo by Bill Brymer
Daniel Arthur Johnson (Martin) and Bruce McKenzie (Russ), Photo by Bill Brymer
Luke F. LaMontagne (Hudson), Photo by Bill Brymer

Read Sample

FROM SCENE 7: WHAT DOES SATAN THINK?

MARTIN
Are you invested? Can you be invested?

SAMANTHA
In what. In food service?

MARTIN
In food service. Yes.

SAMANTHA
In mopping floors maybe? In cleaning sick off bathroom sinks? Shit off toilets? In wiping down countertops? In playing nice to fucking. Dead people?

MARTIN
Dead people. Who’s dead. Who’re the dead people.

SAMANTHA
Doomed people.

MARTIN
Right.

SAMANTHA
Have you seen the amount of sodium we’re pushing? Let alone. You know.

(She makes a vague gesture.)

I mean. Invested? What is that. What does that even. What is that.

MARTIN
Your life? Howabout your life invested in your life?

SAMANTHA
Huh.

MARTIN
Nod if you understand the question.

SAMANTHA
No one wants to be on a sinking ship.

MARTIN
I’m sorry?

SAMANTHA
No one wants to be on a sinking ship.

MARTIN
Um.

SAMANTHA
Do you have kids? Are you the sort of person who has kids?

MARTIN
Um. Yes. Yeah. You can see. On the desk.

SAMANTHA
Right.

MARTIN
The pictures.

SAMANTHA
Yeah. Sorry.

MARTIN
Two of them.

SAMANTHA
They’re cute.

They’re doomed.

You know that right? That they’re doomed?

MARTIN
Um. No. Actually. I didn’t know that.

SAMANTHA
Yeah. Ten, twenty years? Doomed. So. I mean. Invested?

You wanna know what the future looks like? It doesn’t look like your kids. I’m just saying. The future’s a google search away. If you know what you’re looking for. It’s horrible. It’s tasteless.

Speaking of which: I’ve always admired your taste in ties. I think you match colors and patterns really very well. Though there was the odd occasion? I thought maybe you were colorblind. Are you colorblind?

MARTIN
Yes. Actually.

SAMANTHA
See? I’m very perceptive.

I don’t mean to startle you. When I think about the future. I don’t generally think of kids. Of the future being the sort of place where kids would be very happy. So I don’t generally tend to think the future has too many of them, yeah? I’m not much of a sadist. Truth be told. Not where kids are involved.

Are you a sadist?

MARTIN
No.

SAMANTHA
Right.

Well maybe not consciously. Wink wink.

Anyway. I’m joking. I’m pregnant. Honestly. No joke. Totally pregnant. I believe the children are our future.

So we have that in common. Apparently.

(Pause.)

What do you feed them? They look so happy.

Seriously.

(SAMANTHA looks as if she might vomit.)

MARTIN
[Are] you okay?

SAMANTHA
No. Yeah. Sorry. Wow.

I just got nauseated all of a sudden. I felt very very nauseated.

I don’t know if it’s you or.

I just got—

I’m fine.

My kids’ll eat your kids for breakfast. I have that feeling.

Cast Requirements

2w, 4m

Set Description

Various blighted suburban locales.

Press

[Evocation] has a fearsome grandeur that floods it’s decrepit, devastated set with gut-busting humor and chilling, heartbreaking despair. ... We get an inkling of a dark and foggy future filled with demonic dancing bears and bloody spirits summoned by power chords and dark lyrics that meld modern metal and medieval liturgy.
--Marty Rosen, Leo Weekly

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Press

I found myself laughing ferociously in existential horror. Satan and absentia, violent nihilism and empty fortitude are played with fearlessly to great result. ... Samantha’s sensational “in yer face” black metal journey soars. The piece is gleefully loud with caustic abandon. Hilarious, unapologetic, bleak, and demanding, Evocation packed an acerbic punch.
--Kate Bergstrom, Santa Barbara Independent

A harrowing vision of hell on a trash-strewn earth, populated by hollow, disaffected, disconnected youth and adults flailing through an existential abyss.
--Roger McBain, Courier & Press

Stunningly beautiful and troubling.
--Margy Waller, The Bright Ride, Arts Journal

For this reviewer, the originality of the piece and the avant-garde aesthetics made for energizing theater, but the pitch-black nihilism was also very off-putting. ... [Evocation is] a potent and controversial statement that we will be talking about long after this year’s festival has ended.
--Keith Watts, 89.3 WFPL Louisville Public Media

Production and Development History

2014--Commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
2017--Workshopped by Actors Theatre of Louisville
2018--Performed in the 42nd Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, directed by Les Waters