Robin Bradford's 'Low Hanging Fruit' makes its Midwest Premiere

By Jason A. Michael

The Theatre Company of the University of Detroit Mercy and Matrix Theatre Company recently announced their first joint production, Robin Bradford's "Low Hanging Fruit." The production is the Midwest premiere of the work.

San Francisco based playwright Robin Bradford wrote "Low Hanging Fruit" after being inspired by articles in reference to the dramatic rise in homelessness amongst military women who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Through her research she spoke to many people, including active and retired military personnel, government employees, volunteers in the private sector and homeless people living on the street. Bradford said her intention with the play was "to shed light on what can happen after we say, 'Thank you for your service.'"

"Low Hanging Fruit" tells the story of four ex-military women broken and damaged by their experiences and the ways they find to survive and cope on the streets through their friendship.

"For me, the real story is not only the shameful abandonment of the women who have served our country, but also the power of friendship to support and sometimes heal us, even when we are badly broken," said Lisa Hodge Kander, director of the Detroit production.

"Low Hanging Fruit" had a critically-acclaimed world premiere run at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles in 2014. The Detroit production will feature local professional associate guest artists Angeles Vara Pichetter as Maya, Denise Graham as Alice, and Theatre Company Alumni Karen Kron as Cory and Travis Reiff as Tito. Additional cast members include UDM theater students Autumn Russell as Yolanda, Sidney Mains as Canyon, and Avera Smith and Alexander Kendzuiuk as police officers.

Performances will be held at The Marlene Boll Theatre at the Boll Family Y.M.C.A. March 3-20. The production is a part of a larger initiative to raise awareness and support for female homeless veterans in the Metro Detroit area. The project will feature five different post-show audience enrichment events. Matrix Theatre Company will be leading these events, which will center on topics around female homeless veterans. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices are $25 for general admission, $22 for senior citizens, $15 for veterans and $10 for students. "Low Hanging Fruit" contains adult themes, strong language and is not recommended for young children.

In addition to the 12 performances of "Low Hanging Fruit" and a clothing and goods drive, the project will feature five audience enrichment events. They include:

Sunday, March 6: A panel discussion following the show entitled "Same War, Different Battle: Women Soldiers, Women Veterans and Homeless."

Saturday, March 10: A story booth event before and after the show. Volunteers will have their responses recorded for an archival collection.

Sunday, March 13: A panel discussion following the show entitled "Healing Through Art."

Thursday, March 17: Pub Trivia Night following the show at The Detroit Beer Co. Teams will compete to earn prizes as they test their knowledge on homelessness and facts pertaining to female veterans.

Sunday, March 20: A panel discussion following the show entitled "Mother, Daughter, Sister, Soldier: Family Matters."

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