Some people take their show on the road, but a group of Scranton performers will take theirs across the pond.
“The Darling Core,” co-created and co-starring local artists Simone Daniel and Conor Anthony O’Brien, makes its international debut at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland this summer.
In case they can’t make the trip to Europe, Northeast Pennsylvania residents have the chance to see it a little closer to home as the Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale, hosts two performances of the play on Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8. There is no admission price, but donations to benefit the Cooperage are accepted.
The show also will appear as a part of East to Edinburgh Festival at 59e59 Theatres, New York City, on Tuesday, July 11, and Sunday, July 16.
The story centers on Adam, the first man, and Lillith, the original first woman that “revisionist history has kind of wiped away,” said Daniel. According to lore, Lillith left Adam and the Garden of Eden, refusing to be subservient to him, and thus became known as a demon. In “The Darling Core,” Adam and Lillith are a vaudeville duo and the play takes place backstage at one of their gigs.
“After all these years of working together, they continue to butt heads and not understand each other. Pretty much like most men and women,” Daniel said with a laugh.
Daniel and O’Brien originally wrote the show and presented it at Pittsburgh Fringe Festival in 2014, then at local venues including O’Brien’s former Vintage Theater and Olde Brick Theatre and at the Cell Theatre in Manhattan. Both Daniel and O’Brien acknowledged how much the play has grown and changed over the years.
“It’s funny now how different we are and the writing is since we started,” Daniel said. “Three years ago we were like, ‘This is exactly what we want to say.’ But, we’ve changed, and the world is changed, and looking at it now, we think maybe that isn’t what we wanted to say anymore. It’s been a very cool experience.”
The pair also enjoys collaborating with an extended group of artists. As part of New Vintage Ensemble, a collective of regional writers, directors and actors, fresh eyes take a look at the piece each time it’s presented. For example, they noted that the different perspectives offered from original director Maggie O’Brien (now supervising producer) to Daniel Holme, who currently fills that role, have been the most invigorating part.
“It’s been a joy from beginning to end,” O’Brien said, adding that the ensemble’s mission is to “reinvent the familiar” with its works. “Working with this group of talented artists has been an amazing experience. Whether they’ve been with the production since 2014 or came on a little later, the guidance, support, creativity is just unparalleled.”
As co-founder of Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, along with co-founder Elizabeth Bohan, will attend meetings and workshops in Scotland to bring back to the city’s festival, which returns this fall. “The Darling Core” continues to elevate all who are a part of it to new heights.
“This has gone places that we never thought was it was going to,” Daniel said. “We’ll keep working on it and see what changes, but whatever happens is further than we thought we were going to be three years ago. And that’s really exciting.”
— gia mazur

If you go
What: “The Darling Core,” presented by New Vintage Ensemble
When: Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8; doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8
Where: The Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale
Details: Admission is free, but donations to benefit the Cooperage will be accepted.