You know Las Vegas--spinning wheels, neon lights, slinky dresses. But do you really know this city and its almost two million inhabitants? Directed by Chicago veteran Kevin Christopher Fox, this darkly comedic new work by poker pro turned playwright Todd Taylor takes you to the real Sin City.
Set in a foreclosed residential property far from the glamor of the strip and viewed through a darkly comedic lens, Flamingo & Decatur shows you at different side of Sin City. It's here we meet Jackson, a wily professional gambler struggling to stay afloat in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crash that wrecked the city's economy.
Jackson thinks he's discovered a surefire way to trim living expenses—find one of the thousands of Vegas houses left vacant by foreclosure and start squatting there illegally with Ben, his online-poker-junkie roommate. But the pair soon finds that not only do they have to stay one step ahead of the law, they must also contend with their antagonistic next-door neighbor Simon, self-appointed guardian of neighborhood property values.
This is a play steeped in the language and ethos of the gambling culture. Football games on the tube, golf matches on the course, outlandish proposition bets — there's nothing these guys won't wager on. All of life for Jackson has become a fast-moving game; every person he meets, a potential opponent. But when he and Ben decide to take on an additional renter to make ends meet, everything changes.
The new addition is Nicole, an attractive professional poker player. She and Jackson connect in a way that only two battle-scarred professional gamblers could. As their mutual attraction grows, Jackson is forced to re-evaluate the way in which he interacts with other people, and perhaps most crucially, the way in which he views himself.
Flamingo & Decatur offers a portrait of life in a city that is at once the most popular tourist destination in the country and one of the most profoundly misunderstood.
As a playwright/producer and founding member of Block St, Todd has spearheaded the company's focus on bringing original, new work to the stage. Block St productions of his plays include: Flamingo & Decatur, a dramatic comedy delving into the lives of Vegas gamblers, The Jefferson Bottles, a black comedy inspired by the Koch Brother wine swindle, and Butte, a historical drama based on the rise and fall of copper baron Augustus F. Heinze. Other full-length plays include Calculation, a historical drama based on the calculus priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz, and The Gravedigger's Art, a comedy about finding vocational identity. Originally from the Raleigh area, before coming to dramatic writing Todd worked as a sportswriter for several newspapers, taught community college English, and played poker professionally in Las Vegas. He holds a BA in English from Duke University, an MA in English from UNC Greensboro, and an MFA in Drama from the University of Arkansas.
Kevin Christopher Fox
Originally from Asheville, NC, Kevin is an actor and director based in Chicago for the past 25 years. Chicago directing highlights: Bakersfield Mist and Widowers' Houses (TimeLine); the world premiere of Assassination Theater by Hillel Levin (Russell Lane, LLC), the world premieres of Graveyard of Empires by Elaine Romero and The Gun Show by EM Lewis, and Pull of the Moon, Accidental Rapture, & The Book Club Play (16th Street Theater), Lay Me Down Softly and Hughie (Irish Theatre of Chicago), St. Crispin's Day (Strawdog), Arms and the Man and Betrayal (Oak Park Festival), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gift), and his debut, Buicks (Precious Mettle). Regional highlights: world premieres of The Actuary by Steven Peterson (Peninsula Players), The Spiritualist by Robert Ford and Sundown Town by Kevin Cohea (TheatreSquared) and The Study by EM Lewis (Inge Festival). He has directed numerous new play development workshops for Chicago Dramatists, Inge Festival, TimeLine, and the Arkansas New Play Festival.