"Naming True" World Premiere Run Ends Sunday



In a motel room in the Florida Panhandle, in the middle of a hurricane, a dying woman named Nell receives an unexpected visitor. Amy, a young transgender woman from Seattle, wants to talk publishing Nell’s childhood memoir about life on the streets of Detroit. But as events unfold and the storm rages outside, the two seemingly disparate women find more than common ground and perhaps an unspoken reason for their meeting. A world premiere from playwright Natalie Symons, Naming True finishes its debut run at Urbanite Theatre this Sunday.

“It’s a story about redemption,” says Symons. “And how it is that we let go of the past and let go of the guilt we cling to in order to find peace.” There’s a universal camaraderie and catharsis to the sharing of stories—of secrets that lay the individual open to the other—and it’s a universal Symons sought to underline with Nell and Amy. “When we go to the theater, we see something of ourselves in the characters,” she says. “I wanted to write something that we wouldn’t expect to relate to, but I believe audiences will relate to very strongly.”

In addition to bringing voice to characters from the fringes of society, Symons also saw the opportunity to create a play riding on the performance of two strong female characters—something she says is a rarity in such “two-hander” plays. “And I don’t mean strong as in resilient,” says Symons. “But strong as in they’re very flawed and broken.”

Selecting Urbanite for the world premiere, Symons worked with Urbanite founders Brendan Ragan and Summer Dawn Wallace to bring the production to the stage, a collaboration that continued as the run progressed. Each night, small tweaks and adjustments are made and the first run is almost a workshop, says Symons. “There’s a tremendous difference between the first and second production,” she says. As Urbanite’s first world premiere—a demanding task for any theater—the playwright reports only satisfaction.

“They are such risk-takers,” Symons says. “They’re all so collaborative and adventurous, and their audiences are ready to take that journey with them.”

Naming True runs through July 2 at Urbanite Theatre.

Pictured: Alexia Jasmene and Minka Wiltz in a scene from "Naming True." Photo by Brendan Ragan.

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