A New Kind of Apocalypse Play
An apocalyptic war has begun, and four friends leave behind their board games and comic books to survive underground. What starts out as a prolonged sleepover turns into a horror story that reminds you people can be infinitely more destructive than nuclear bombs.
SCUM was developed at Sarah's apartment in Washington Heights, NYC. Her friends would get together on Sunday mornings, which Sarah quickly realized was WAY too early to read this play. But luckily they continued to come and discuss the world's impending doom after brunch.
In April 2018, SCUM was performed as a staged reading at The Chipped Cup in Harlem. Directed by Javan Nelson, featuring Sarah Shear as Bekah, Kevin Sebastian as Dan, Michael Reep as Ronnie, and Justin Chesney as Adam, with Chelsea Loesel reading stage directions. The audience's excitement was evident, and made way for an overwhelmingly successful Indiegogo Campaign to fund a full production.
SCUM premiered in NYC at The Producer's Club's Royal Theater on August 9th, 2018.
It ran for 11 thrilling performances.
SCUM is available on New Play Exchange
What's Next? Who Knows.
The Producer's Club
Royal Theater, NYC
World Premiere: August 9th, 2018
Produced by Ross Lampert
Directed by Javan Nelson
Lighting Design by Jenn Burkhardt
Sound Design by Drew Weinstein
Costume & Makeup Design by Laura Mccullagh
Stage Managed by Maddy Cohen
Dramaturgy by Ross Lampert
with Marketing Producer, Emmy Kuperschmid
and Production Assistant Chelsea Loesel
Production Photography by Marth Brown
Bekah.............................. Sarah Shear
Dan............................... Aaron Mauck
Ronnie.............. Adrian Abel Amador
Adam................................ Jay Cobian
"Shear’s new play is witty, controversial, timely, and fun. 'SCUM' is a fictional, doomsday play with great hopes about society in real life – that, because the world isn’t actually ending, there is realistic hope for moral awakening and insight....There’s an odd reassurance about hearing someone grieve about the end of the world."
Listen in as playwright & performer of SCUM, Sarah Shear, along with fellow cast members Aaron Mauck, Adrian Abel Amador, & Jay Cobian, discuss nuclear overlay maps, Bartle’s Taxonomy of Players, playing against type and finding commonality with your character, emotional vs. physical labor, personal playwriting challenges, doomsday prep, healthy compromise, and just what scum is, both externally and internally.
"...if we are indeed approaching some sort of catastrophic, end of the world scenario....then we have to start thinking… start analyzing… start considering how we treat each other and how we talk to each other. What the play really boils down to at the end of the day is: “when we’re down to the wire do you want to surrounded by people who are good, or people who are just good enough?” It’s time to take stock and re-evaluate our interactions with each other. Especially now, when we’re seeing all these women come forward. It’s important.
And it’s important, in that same way, too, to be able to identify and understand what [behaviors] have become culturally normalized that really shouldn’t be anymore."
Interview: Emerging Playwright Sarah Shear on Apocalypse Preparation, Female Empowerment, and the Gritty Reality of SCUM
"The best part about this show is that every time we’ve done a public reading of it, people want to talk about it. It affects people. All I have to say is that it’s a horror story about a woman trapped in a room with three men, and people get excited about it."
Interview: SCUM, an Apocalypse Story
And What Do Our Audiences Think about SCUM?
"The book is refreshingly original. [Shear] does an incredible job putting a magnifying glass on a group of people, and showing a realistic vision of what would ACTUALLY happen in an apocalypse."
"If I could, I'd go back to have the shit scared out of me by Sarah Shear's intense post-apocalyptic play Scum all week. Do yourself a favor, go to this smart, compelling, only slightly anxiety-inducing play."
"IT WAS STELLAR! [Shear] has created a masterpiece that speaks a very dark truth, one that you will be thinking about for days on."
"The characters feel real and the situations they bring themselves transcend likelihood and fly into a completely prophetic statement."
"SCUM is a harrowing show that left the entire audience to pick our jaws off the ground."
"This apocalyptic show was the perfect amount humor, despair and suspense!"
"This show is not for the faint of heart. This two-hour, intermissionless rollercoaster of a play will renew your nuclear fear and subsequent fear of living in a bunker for an indeterminate amount of time."
About the Playwright
Sarah has worked all over the world creating ways to give a voice to the voiceless through art. She's worked as a professional theater artist and educator for over 10 years. Her writing career began as an ensemble writer with Marina Caldarone in London, followed by the TheaterMakers 2013 ensemble at The Eugene O'neill Theater Center. Sarah's full length plays Stupid Girl and Re-Rooting were developed at Wagner College, and Stupid Girl went on to be honored at the 2015 Staten Island Playwrights Forum after its world premiere. She also worked with Jack Cummings III of Transport Group to develop Helen Keller: Eighth Wonder of the World, a devised theatre piece.
She continues to work as a writer, actor, teacher, and director in NYC, and is always excited to gather friends in her living room to develop new pieces and drink rosé.
For the Audience
SCUM may have finished its world premeiere run in August, but the sirens are still blaring!
SCUM is eligible for several New York Innovative Theater Awards, if you caught our run in August you can vote here. Audience Input makes up 25% of our overall score, and every vote counts!
We're also looking for audience reviews on our Show-Score Page. If you attended our world premiere, we'd love to hear what you thought of it!
Thank you so much for joining us in the bunker. We hope this isn't the last time you come along for the journey.