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A Native Son Returns

Sam Hood Adrain comes back to Providence with his experimental theater company in tow

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Actor, playwright and native East Sider Sam Hood Adrain is returning home for a month-long residency with the theatre company What Will the Neighbors Say? Founded in 2016 by Sam, Jorge Morales Pico, James Clements and Ana Christina Schuler, WWTNS will be performing two original works, including the premiere of their new musical Untitled Shape Show, which was written by Sam with music and lyrics by Brooklyn-based musician Will Davis.

Growing up on the East Side, Sam developed a love of theatre early on, performing in productions at Trinity Rep and 2nd Story Theatre in Warren before attending the Experimental Theatre Wing of New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts. His return to Rhode Island to premiere Untitled Shape Show is a full-circle moment for Sam, who has maintained a strong connection to the arts scene in Rhode Island.

With a cast of characters made up of non-gender-specific geometric shapes, Untitled Shape Show explores themes of diversity, inclusion and bullying as the characters assemble for their high school reunion and reflect on old times. The cast will be made up of local student and adult performers who will be working alongside professional actors, and the production will serve as a pilot for WWTNS’ educational offshoot, What Will the Kids Say?

“We had this idea to combine pro New York actors with local actors wherever we are, but we have to test it out first,” explains Sam. “When I was growing up doing theatre, I was really thirsty for more, so we’re hoping that this will be a breeding ground for that kind of exposure.”

Additionally, the group will be performing the regional premiere of In Her Own Words: The Diana Tapes, written by James. Based on the scandal-filled book by Andrew Morton that shook the royal family, the play, which made its worldwide premiere last year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is a thriller set in a cafe, a publisher’s office and Buckingham Palace.

In Her Own Words: The Diana Tapes; weekends through July 2 at The Seg Hub. Untitled Shape Show; July 1 at the Providence Public Library on Empire Street.