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Wackadoo Family Antics:

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The Spaghetti Catalyst
Browncoat Pub and Theatre
Thurs-Sat., 8/11-14, 18-21, 8 p.m.,
or Sunday matinees, 5 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$15

theaterWho doesn’t have a story of wackadoo family quirks or antics? Perhaps a dorky dad who tells outdated Star Trek jokes, an annoying uncle who wears out his welcome, or an eccentric mom who adorns the color pink every day­—then proceeds to judge your wardrobe and lack of makeup. All, in spite of our love for them, drive us bonkers with every move they make. Guerilla Theatre understands the hilarity amongst the hysterics and starting August 8, Wilmington will get to explore the often complex dynamics of the atypical American family in “The Spaghetti Catalyst.”

Patricia, an overly controlling mother, is dealing with a distant husband and a rebellious teenage daughter. On top of it all, her parents lose their house and are forced to move in with the family. Patricia is pushed to the brink of collapse as pressures build and her own mother’s fetish for kitty figurines wears on her nerves.

The insightful dark comedy is directed by Stephen Raeburn but written by Wilmington native Milo Shucavage, who explores the traits that are passed on from one generation to the next, and the chaos that can occur within a family. To learn more about this dramedy and its inception, encore sits down with the young screenplay writer to get the dirt on this deliciously dysfunctional family.

encore: What was the inspiration for this screenplay?
Milo Shucavage: I was inspired a lot by family dynamics. So many times it’s the negative traits we pass on [from generation to generation], and it’s hard to stop the cycle. This play tends to be a family drama, but, like most of my writing, even the most horrific moments can be completely hilarious.

e: Tell us about the plot.
MS: “The Spaghetti Catalyst” is about a family with a bipolar mother, grandparents that are forced to move in with the rest of the family, and a smart, flawed daughter. When the grandparents move in, and the mother realizes her daughter is pregnant, all hell breaks loose. In the play the women tend to pass down their most negative traits. No one is willing to accept blame, so they all believe that it is someone else in the family that has made their lives go so far off track.

e: What’s been your favorite part of this project’s progress?
MS: Work-shopping the play at NYU in my playwriting class. I was able to hear it read aloud by others, and then get critiques from students who, like myself, are working toward becoming playwrights.

e: What character do you relate to the most and why?
MS: I relate somewhat to the daughter, Abby because, like her, I have big goals and expectations for myself. I also hate conflict like she does. When there’s a family fight, I will run away and hide in just the same way. Unlike her, I don’t have a nasty addiction to cigarettes or have gotten pregnant.

e: What are some of your goals with your academics and career at this point?
MS: I’m currently studying playwrighting at New York University in Tisch’s dramatic writing program. While living in New York City, I’ve had a number of short play productions in different theaters and festivals. I interned last summer at Theater for the New City. I’m about to spend a semester in London in an NYU playwrighting program, and plan on completing another full length play while I’m there. I’m hoping to produce one at a small theater in New York.

I’ve wanted to be a playwright since I was 13, and in New York I’ve come a long way to achieving it. The hard part is making any money at it, so for now I’ll continue working as a nanny and hula-hooping on the street for tips.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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