The Contrast

Christine Rouse

By Christine Rouse on November 30, 2022

Awb actor in a play

In collaboration with The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective (PAC), the AWB Sr. actors performed a staged reading of The Contrast at The Independence Seaport Museum on Sunday, November 6th, 2022. A staged reading is a performance of a play with script in hand with some degree of staging.

The Contrast was written in 1787 by American playwright, Royall Tyler and is a comedy written in the tradition of the English Restoration comedies of the 17th century. Created to satirize Americans who conformed to European culture, Royall Tyler aimed to expose the contrast between what he thought to be the pompous Europeans and the wholesome, grounded, patriotic Americans. The Contrast is also the first comedy that was written by an American citizen that was professionally produced.

In addition to the opportunity to work with PAC and two extremely talented professional actors, Aleah Beche and Clark Smith, this experience also proved to be a milestone for many of our AWB actors: for the first time, our actors were paid for their performance. For many of our actors, it was also their first ever paycheck! Each actor was smiling from ear to ear!

This performance was amazing for many reasons: collaborating with PAC, Aleah, and Clark; performing in Downtown Philadelphia; being paid for their time and effort; and much more. We are grateful and thankful towards PAC for gifting us with this wonderful experience and for helping us to expand the voice and mission of AWB.

The Contrast was deemed as one of the firsts for America, and it seems to parallel with the many firsts that this production has provided for our actors, patrons, and AWB—truly a gem to be remembered and cherished by all!