July 20, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A new play celebrating everyday life in Queens will premiere in Sunnyside next week.
“Under Woodside” will be performed live at Sunnyside Gardens Park on Friday, July 30 for the first time— followed by more showings throughout the city in August.
Playwright and Sunnyside resident Juliann Lavallee crafted “Under Woodside” about a single day in the lives of people who live on a few city blocks in Sunnyside and Woodside.
Lavallee, who has lived in both Sunnyside and Woodside for a combined 13 years, drew inspiration from Dylan Thomas’ 1954 work “Under Milk Wood” — but put a contemporary twist on the play by centering it in Queens.
“Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’ marinated in my mind for over a decade and when the pandemic hit, and I could no longer leave my apartment, memories of my neighborhood bubbled,” Lavallee said.
“Thomas’ style became a framework to describe my city: the way the air chills at night, the sound of dishes clattering in restaurants, how other people walk and move on their way to work.”
The play, directed by Bryna Kearney, is also a celebration of the return of the liveliness of the city after the long difficult pandemic.
“‘Under Woodside’ became my pandemic baby, a way to be in the world I missed so much, inaccessible though it was outside my door,” Lavalle said. “I attempt to capture the beauty of the efforts, little and large, people put into living.”
The first performance of ‘Under Woodside’ will be on July 30 at 7 p.m. in Sunnyside Gardens Park.
Future showings are listed below.
August 6 at 7 p.m. in Hunters Point South Park (at the kayak launch across from 2nd Street and 56th Avenue)
August 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Central Park at the Summit Rock (enter the park at W. 81st Street)
August 12 at 7 p.m. in Astoria Park on the North Lawn (at the intersection of Shore Boulevard and Ditmars Boulevard)
August 13 at 6:30 p.m. in McCarren Park on the Bedford Lawn (at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Lorimer Street)