South Philadelphia-based theater company Theatre Exile will present the world premiere of Extreme Home Makeover by up-and-coming Texas-born playwright Makasha Copeland. This
will mark Theatre Exile’s first production of its 25th anniversary season and the first live, in-person performances on its stage since the 2019-20 season. The play is a beautifully complex, bold, funny, and hopeful depiction of a family striving for the American dream in the face of financial hardship.
The show, directed by Deborah Block, will be performed live at Theatre Exile at 1340 S. 13th Street for a limited-capacity audience of 60 guests, reduced from the usual 125 seat capacity. Extreme Home Makeover will have 22 performances that will take place from Oct. 28 through Nov. 21. The cast will feature local Philadelphia actors Yajaira Paredes,Jessy Gruver, Krystal Rosa, and Angel Sigala.
Extreme Home Makeover follows the Vega family, who live in a small home in the Texas ranchlands with a long list of problems. Following the loss of her husband, the mother, Valentina, decides to apply for ABC’s hit reality show in the hopes that a home renovation can help them move one step closer towards the American dream.
“This season, we were looking for timely stories that offered our audiences a sense of hope,” said Block. “Extreme Home Makeover focuses on characters who have experienced a difficult loss but make it through because of love, resilience, and support of their family. We are so happy to bring Latinx voices to our stage and make space for new talent like Makasha Copeland.”
The story is told through a series of takes from the Vega’s audition tape, recorded by Valentina with the help of her two children, Marco and Lupe, and her mother, Guadalupe. As they continue to record their audition tape, the audience quickly learns that the family has been weathering problems that extend beyond the leaking pipes and broken walls. Extreme Home Makeover begs the question: how much do miracles cost in a world where so many receive so little?
“I’m so grateful to all the people who have supported this play, which started from a tiny idea I had reading an article about a reboot of my favorite childhood show into a fully realized production,” said Copland. “With Extreme Home Makeover, I wanted to think through experiences from three generations of my family’s childhoods, the intersection of generational poverty and grief, and the commodification of suffering. I also wanted to laugh! What happens when mourning meets reality TV?”
Patrons are strongly encouraged to purchase advanced tickets online at theatreexile.org as in-person box office tickets will be limited.