“Meet Me at Dawn” tracks two women in an unfamiliar land

There’s nothing like a big Broadway musical. The huge impressive sets and the live music are a spectacle that I enjoy, but recently I’ve also found myself increasingly appreciating the magic and intensity of being up close and personal in a smaller theater. 

I recently had the privilege of seeing the show “Meet Me at Dawn” at the Louis Bluver Theater at the Drake. It’s located right around the corner from the Kimmel Cultural Campus and tickets are reasonably priced.

In the show, two women wash up on a distant shore following a violent boating accident. Dazed by their experience, they look for a path home. But they discover that this unfamiliar land is not what it seems, and though they may be together, they have never been further apart. That’s the official description, and I’m not going to add anything to it as to avoid any spoilers. 

Two people holding our interest for 90 minutes is a big ask, but the two actors (both queer identifying), Hannah Gold and Jackie Soro, are up to the task. Not only do they contend with whip smart dialogue and rapidly changing emotions, the two have to deal with sand and water on stage (as the characters have been in a boating accident, they’re soaked to the bone throughout the show). Behind the scenes tip: Hannah told me they wear wet suits under the costumes to keep warm. The play deals with very intense emotions but balances them cleverly with a sense of humor that comes across so realistically that I kept thinking that I knew the two people on stage without having ever met them. 

Hannah Gold has the bulk of the dialogue along with the breakout monologues that occur throughout the show. When asked about playing such a demanding role, she said “I really try to lean into the words in the script and the setting. The way the show is written and staged allows me to get lost into that world and use the interactions with Jackie to stay in the moment. In preparation I use images and music and my personal experiences to tap into the emotions she goes through.”

When asked about the physical challenges of the show Gold said that the two of them are “put in a position where we’re actually suffering because of the cold and the sand, but I think it’s great because it puts us into the show in a very corporeal way. But the real demand is vocally, I mean I don’t go for more than a minute without speaking and doing that with a Scottish dialect. It actually changes to way your mouth moves to pronounce different words and I found my jaw getting sore changing from a Pennsylvania accent to the brogue (with the accent) ‘where evra-theng is tiiighter’. But we had a great dialect coach and amazing director and it’s fantastic going through this journey with Jackie every night.

Gold’s scene partner, Jackie Soro, is described as a Philadelphia-based artist, singer, and collaborative theater-maker. Jackie’s recent projects outside of this show include being part of the Late Night Snacks queer cabaret festival, a cast member at 1812 Productions, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret’s Love Notes film series, and Team Sunshine’s Your Optimism is Not Required. Soro does a miraculous job of acting as if she weren’t acting. She brings a worth and depth to the character that draws you into their world. 

The entire show is women centric, from the playwright Zinnie Harris to the director Sam Tower, Sound Designer Eliana Fabiyi, set Designer Jillian Keys, lightning designer Isabella Gill, Costume designer Tiffany Bacon and too many more to mention.  

The show runs from February 15 until March 5, 2023 for a total of 15 performances. All performances will take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Theatres at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, in Philadelphia. Tickets are on sale now for $30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting inisnuatheatre.org.

Inis Nua is a Theatre Company whose mission is to produce contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales which reflect those cultures’ new identities in today’s world. This year they will be doing a series of shows with LGBTQ content, “Meet Me at Dawn” is the first of the season. 

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