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Publisher's Summary

Lydia (Aja Naomi King) and Henry (Jason Butler Harner)’s dinner guests (Madeline Brewer and William Jackson Harper) are about to arrive when Henry’s spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she’s going to commit to a future with Henry.

Directed by Whitney White, Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere comedy marches into the muddy intersection of romantic entanglement, identity, pride, and survival.

Please Note: Animals contains adult language. 

©2020 Stacy Osei-Kuffour (P)2020 AO Media LLC

Go Behind the Scenes of Animals

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About the Creator

Stacy Osei-Kuffour is an accomplished playwright and television writer. She was most recently Supervising Producer on The Morning Show and previously wrote on Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s series Run (HBO), The Power (Amazon), Watchmen (HBO), and the upcoming series The Hunt (Amazon) produced by Jordan Peele. Stacy also wrote for the comedy series PEN15 (Hulu) and received an Emmy nomination for her work on the episode "Anna Ishii-Peters." Stacy grew up in Chicago and received her BFA from NYU and her MFA in playwriting from Hunter College.

About the Director

Whitney White is an Obie Award and Lily Award-winning director, writer, and musician originally from Chicago. She is a believer in alternative forms of performance, multi-disciplinary work, and collaborative processes. She is a recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing Award, is part of the Rolex Protegé and Mentorship Arts Initiative, and is Associate Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company and Associate Artist at The Roundabout. Her directing includes The Amen Corner (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theatre and Second Stage, NYT Critic’s Pick), Aleshea Harris’ What to Send Up When it Goes Down (The Movement Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, American Repertory Theatre, The Public Theater, NYT Critic’s Pick), An Iliad (Long Wharf), Canyon by Jonathan Caren ( LA Times Critic’s Choice and recipient of the CTG Block Party Grant, IAMA), Jump by Charly Evon Simpson (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, PlayMakers Rep). Her digital projects include What is Left, Burns by James Ijames (Steppenwolf), Finish the Fight by Ming Peiffer (the New York Times, 30K+ viewers), Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Williamstown Theatre and Audible), and Soft Light by Aleshea Harris (The Movement Theatre Company). Her original musical Definition will debut at the Bushwick Starr in 2021 and her five-part cycle deconstructing Shakespeare’s women and female ambition is currently in development with American Repertory Theater (Boston, MA). Her past residencies and fellowships include Sundance Theatre Lab, Colt Coeur, The Drama League, Roundabout Theatre Company, and the 2050 Fellowship at the New York Theatre Workshop. White received her MFA in Acting at Brown University/Trinity Rep and her BA at Northwestern University.

Original Music Composition and Sound Design by: Fan Zhang
Assistant Director: Tyler Thomas
Executive Producer for Audible: Kate Navin
Producer for Audible: Jessica Amato
Executive Producer for Williamstown Theatre Festival: Mandy Greenfield
Producer for Williamstown Theatre Festival: Lucie Ledbetter
Staff for Williamstown Theatre Festival
Antonello Di Benedetto, Director of Audience Engagement
Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director
Henrietta Key, Development Coordinator
Aileen Lambert, Literary Manager
Lucie Ledbetter, Line Producer
Josh Martinez-Nelson, Director of Development & Communications
Amy Russell, Director of Finance
Laura Savia, Associate Artistic Director
Lindsey Turteltaub, Director of Production
Lianna Rada-Hung, Assistant to the Artistic Director
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including Community Works and Late-Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theatre artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at WTF fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. WTF's world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Actually, Paradise Blue, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the abbreviated 2019-20 theatrical season, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented or scheduled to be represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside and Grand Horizons, both of which received Tony Award nominations for Best Play, The Rose Tattoo, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Soldier, and Lempicka. Visit us at www.wtfestival.org.
Williamstown Theatre Festival would like to thank 321 Theatrical Management, Telsey & Company and DKC/O&M.

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What listeners say about Animals

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

So much swearing!!!

Overall, I enjoyed this but there were so much swearing. It was like the characters couldn't go one sentence without swearing. Do people really talk like this to each other? The swearing felt a little overwhelming to hear at times.

The plot escalated fast and the drama felt too much at times.

It also left me a little confused at times. I got the sense that two of the four characters are exes but at times, they didn't feel like friends to me. I am guessing this is why the play is called "Animals"???

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This was an ugly listen

I get what the author was striving to do here, especially in light of the heightened attention in 2020 to America’s disgusting racism. I perceive the issues she was seeking to highlight: microaggressions, white saviour complex, nepotism, gentrification, white mediocrity and the way they’re granted advancement due to privilege and not earning such, colonialism, hegemonic ideology, misogynoirism, systemic injustices, white inheritance of wealth and Black exclusion from access, etc., but this story was pedantic, unpleasant, gratuitous, poorly illustrative, and imbued with stereotypes even while it was seeking to undermine such.

I could not finish listening to this production, and this will be my first and last time engaging with anything this author produces.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Real life

I felt everything in this production. This is real life and not the regular pretend fairy tales we get.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Eye opening

What I liked about this piece were the uncomfortable conversations about race, sex, and politics. Because I believe these things need to be talked about. I love how Lydia was an extremely messy character with her own doubts and her own insecurities and how she portrayed a woman who is ready to go full force into a marriage, knowing that she did not absolutely love Henry. I also loved how both of the couples were interracial and both couples had representation from different age ranges.

What I didn’t like or appreciate as much about this particular story is the constant arguing and digs that the characters made at each other. Even though I understand it was a part of the atmosphere of the story, it got old very fast. But I also think that a lot of people can resonate with the story simply because that is how some people behave.

Would definitely recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Real and raw

This play is so real. Very worth the time. Would like to see it live.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

off-putting and crude

this was just not enjoyable. it felt more like bad reality tv that anything approaching real relationships that are worth exploring. and the constant swearing is incredibly distracting.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Life is messy

This was spectacular. Hit close to home as a 30 something year old. Worth it 😉

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story!

The characters were so real! This is the story of Lydia and how she struggles to come to terms with decisions and circumstances from her past. Even when the characters are way off base in terms of what they say, you smile and shake your head because what they say sounds like someone we know, someone we've met or even someone we've been at some point on our own journey!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed Animals greatly

I was surprised initially at the relationship squabbles, tension, up and down quickly. The afterwards with producer was helpful snd interesting to me, although another reviewer hated it. The post discussion helped me understand how the character of Lydia was meant to be, and that she was entering “self awareness “
The actors were talented, and the entire production kept interest

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simply cathartic

Wow! The actors and the writing were all amazing. Chidi from The Good Place plays Jason/Yao! I really felt like I was at the edge of my seat, watching this unfold, or more like being the neighbor who gets to hear every little thing because of the thin walls and wondering at times if you should intervene before someone got hurt. While I am not necessarily a fan of strong language/cursing (there's a lot!), I appreciate that it really serves to showcase the level of comfort everyone has with each other, after so many years (I know I can't be the only who is less nice to my husband now than I was when we dated). Race and politics were approached wonderfully, with nuance, and the dialog with the writer and director at the end was also interesting to have.

1 person found this helpful