The term “The New Sincerity” has been around since at least the mid-1990s, but the societal trend of ambitious youngsters who carefully craft personae of sincere individuals has hit its stride in the post-millennial era, in which we have near total control over the image we chose to project to the world.
Playwright Alena Smith promises to portray this rising generation for audiences in the world premiere of her play, “The New Sincerity,” which opens at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor this week.
The play, a comedy based on Ms. Smith’s own experiences in the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York’s Zuccotti Park in 2011, follows young journalist Rose Spencer as her ambitious literary circle becomes involved with some rowdy members of the Occupy movement.
Ms. Spencer finds herself in a love triangle where she has difficulty telling the difference between sincere action and skillful self-promotion among her suitors.
The play was originally workshopped by the Cape Cod Theatre Project.
Ms. Smith, who received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, also studied philosophy at Haverford College and Oxford. She is currently a writer for “The Affair,” a Showtime production that revolves around a Manhattan/Montauk love affair, and was previously a writer for HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
One of her plays, “The Bad Guys,” about a filmmaker who spills his boyhood friends’ secrets in his first film, was made into an independent film — Incidentally, this is also a great example of what this “New Sincerity” business is all about — painfully public self-examination at the expense of trusted friends, turned into a movie about a movie about painfully public self-examination at the expense of trusted friends.
Ms. Smith was this year named one of Variety magazine’s 10 TV Writers to Watch.
This production stars Justine Lupe, who can currently be seen as a regular on the ABC show “Cristela,” as Rose. Ms. Lupe, a Julliard graduate, recently appeared in Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” opposite Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver. In 2013, she starred in the Philip Seymour Hoffman-directed family drama “A Family for all Occasions” at the Bank Street Theater.
Teddy Bergman, who has appeared on “Law and Order: SVU” and “As the World Turns,” plays Benjamin. His theater credits include the original Broadway cast of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Sex Lives of Our Parents” at 2nd Stage,” “Philip Goes Forth” at The Mint and “The Cloud” at Slant Theater.
Peter Mark Kendall, who has appeared on the TV shows “Girls,” “The Americans,” “Eye Candy,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “The Leftovers,” plays Django. He has also appeared in the films “Time Out of Mind,” “Louder Than Bombs,” “The Ticket” and “Seven Lovers.” Mr. Kendall is also a musician, and has created original music for many regional theaters.
Elvy Yost, who plays Natasha, has appeared on the TV shows “Mildred Pierce,” “Southland” and “The Office” and in the films “Oldboy,” “Bandslam” and “Brightest Star.” Her New York theater credits include “Pocatello” at Playwrights Horizons, “Black Tie” at Primary Stages, “The Belle of Belfast” at Cherry Lane and “Balm in Gilead” in a warehouse.
Director Bob Balaban has received Golden Globe, DGA, PGA and Emmy nominations for directing and producing the HBO film “Bernard and Doris” as well as DGA and Emmy nominations for directing Georgia O’Keeffe. He directed the movies “The Last Good Time” and” Parents” and the TV series “Alpha House,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Oz.”
As an actor, Mr. Balaban has appeared in nearly a hundred films, including “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Capote,” “Waiting for Guffman,” “Absence of Malice,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Catch-22,” “Midnight Cowboy,” and, most recently, George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” and Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” He will soon be seen in the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero.”
The theater will be offering free Student Sunday matinée tickets, allowing high school and college students with photo ID free admission to the 2 p.m. Sunday performances during the Mainstage Season. The theater will also be holding Talkback Tuesday sessions with Bay Street’s Artistic Director, Scott Schwartz, and members of the cast following each Tuesday performance (except for preview week).
Showtimes are 7 p.m. Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays through June 14. Tickets are available online here.