created and performed by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble

written by Jaclyn Backhaus

conceived and directed by John Kurzynowski

Performers: Harlan Alford, Jaclyn Backhaus, Michael Barringer, Andrew Butler, Nick Fesette, Nick Lehane, Emily Marro, Sydney Matthews, Anastasia Olowin, Patrick Scheid, Tina Shepard, Lauren Swan-Potras

Producing Director: Reed Whitney

Scenic and Lighting Design: Jonathan Cottle | Sound Design: Kate Marvin | Stage Manager: Nick Smerkanich | Asst. Stage Manager: Marlena Holman | Production Intern: Sam Corbin | Press Rep: Off Off PR / Paul Siebold


In this world premiere nod to the heyday of the American drama, the Lorimer family has gathered to welcome home their former golden boy after tragedy has forced him to retreat to the living room of his youth. A revolving door of newly explored stock characters reveal their inner demons while struggling to achieve the American dream - life, liberty and the pursuit of authenticity.

Theater Reconstruction Ensemble's epic dissection of the American REAL attempts to rebuild the most iconic and praised theatrical style of the past century while simultaneously questioning its core components. Can we ever truly create something REAL onstage? Or is it only in the struggle to do so that we stumble across that ever-elusive TRUTH?

photos by Hunter Canning


Theater Reconstruction Ensemble’s challenging but ultimately rewarding production of ‘Set in the Living Room of a Small Town American Play’ does more than deconstruct the style of the great American dramas from the 20th century. [Backhaus and Kurzynowski] essentially present a staged rehearsal, which turns out to be an apt forum for meditation on the techniques through which plays spring to life. The production’s organic hunt for an emotional authenticity that it doesn’t always find is exhilarating.
— Backstage
The dialogue is so impeccably written in the speech of that era it could have just as easily been taken directly from the pages of a Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller classic. Kurzynowski manages to weave the actors throughout the stage as if the whole piece were a dream ballet. All together Theater Reconstruction Ensemble’s piece is a surprising, fascinating, and engaging work of art that causes us to reflect on post-war America and ask if we’ve really changed that much since.
— Theatre Is Easy