Juniper Productions brings “Splinter And Crack” to Philadelphia

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Sonya Aronowitz
Sonya Aronowitz

Juniper Productions has partnered with Arts + Crafts Holdings to present the world premiere of Jessica Bedford’s Splinter and Crack in the brand new Hamilton Studios, at 1025 Hamilton Street in the Spring Arts District of Philadelphia.

The synopsis of Splinter And Crack

The play tells the story of a daunting secret that nearly shatters a mother and daughter’s relationship. It is being staged at Hamilton Studios, part of a three-story, thirty-five thousand square foot building. (Quick history lesson: In the mid-1800s, this space was the location of a school, then in the late-1800s it acted as part of the marble yard that was in the neighborhood. In the early-1900s, the property was a machine shop that manufactured boring bars for locomotives and lathe work).

MB Scallen and Julianna Zinkel
MB Scallen and Julianna Zinkel

Splinter and Crack introduces us to Rosemary, a sharp, successful academic. She’s immensely proud of her daughter, Andie, who has recently had a child of her own. However, Rosemary’s deep obsessions threaten to crack and break her cherished relationships with her daughter and granddaughter. A TV personality has been invited by Andie’s husband to meet Rosemary, in a desperate effort to “heal” her. But will Rosemary be able to let go of the dreams and demons of her past?

I caught up with Sonya Aronowitz, Founder and Producer of Juniper Productions to tell me about the production. Plus she discussed the exciting partnerships that are happening to coincide with the premiere of Splinter and Crack and what makes her so passionate about theater.

Michael Cook: Tell me a little about Splinter and Crack. It has a fantastic familial angle to it.

Sonya Aronowitz: It is about a mother and daughter relationship in distress. I think one of my ambitions, as a producer is to put more of these relationships on our stages. As a mother and a daughter, it definitely rings true in terms of what I would personally like to see more of and hope the audience will follow.

Juniper Productions is a welcome addition to the Philadelphia landscape. Tell me how you came up with the concept to found the organization to begin with.

SA: I came from working as a playwright myself and met Jessica Bedford. She is the playwright of Splinter & Crack through a playwriting group of many years ago. It reached a point where, to myself, I realized that what I was truly interested in and more than the art, was how the audience was going to feel, what that moment that they take away from themselves was going to be like. Years later, I realized that what I was truly drawn to was an enormous amount of talent. I could help these Philadelphia playwrights find their audience; that is after all, the role of the producer. I started thinking that theater should not be closed off in these inspirational places. I wanted to open up the doors to the people of Philadelphia.

MB Scallen
MB Scallen
It all started t the Friinge in Philadelphia

I started Juniper at the Friinge in Philadelphia in September. We did a set of plays that were commissioned by Philadelphia Distilling in Fishtown. Those went really well and I loved that kind of immersive experience for the audience. There are no walls between the theater, the performers and the audience there. That is what really interested me as a producer; finding those venues where curious and adventurous people are looking for new places to come as well. The stroke of good fortune with Splinter and Crack is that we are right next door to Love City Brewery, which literally just opened. It is a stroke of luck and good fortune that it has worked out that way.

There are different mini events occurring in tandem with the premiere. Do you think those events really help the show stand out from the crowd? 

SA: Well, one of the best things is that when you come in and buy a ticket, you get a token for a free beer next door at Love City Brewery, which is a great added plus. I am so excited about these partnerships. They help Juniper grow and sustain. We pay the artists. We have equity actors in this production. And we have a Barrymore Award Winning director, Harriet Power. The art is fantastic, but I want to open it up to more people as well. That’s why partnerships like this are crucial. That way we can introduce people to artistic talents.

As a playwright and producer, what kind of shows really bring the passion of theater to you? 

Sonya Aronowitz
Sonya Aronowitz

SA: I have officially retired from being a playwright, myself. It is a mission though, to produce the best talent in Philadelphia. Sometimes it is where the work is produced really. I myself grew up in Manchester, in the United Kingdom. There was a theater there called the Royal Exchange — it was theatre in the round. Experiencing a play where you feel that you are just right in the place, where the drama is so raw and visceral, is special. It is that type of experience, as much as the play itself, which has to be good. I am drawn to language. I love shows that are beautifully written. That being said, I love music also. And I love shows that are written to include music, which may not necessarily be called a musical. Powerful language, incorporating music, or a really rich sound design, they are definitely important to me.

What do you want people to take away with them after seeing Splinter and Crack? 

SA: I think it is something about the joint experience; people coming together to share some really astonishing and raw and beautiful theater, and really sharing in that.

Splinter And Crack will run until May 13, 2018 on Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm.  Tickets are $30. Theres are $40 packages for the closing matinee and Mother’s Day afternoon tea. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit juniper-productions.ticketleap.com/splinter-and-crack.