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Tar Beach Synopsis


4 female, 1 male
Nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

It is July 1977. Son of Sam is on the loose and New York City is in the midst of a brutal heat wave. Sixteen year old Mary Claire and her best friend Mary Francis start that day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Younger sister Reenie is searching for her lost Greek Mythology class project, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The boy crazy Marys hatch a plan to stay out all night, but an overstressed electrical grid leads to a city-wide blackout and a sudden loss of innocence.

"Her most accomplished work to date...a splendid memory play"
  - Ruth Ross, NJ Arts Maven

"Tammy Ryan's dialogue is rapid fire...she has tapped into the ghosts of family arguments everywhere. This is a big, thick, slice of life that is fiction, non fiction, experience and observation, life and love and struggle and you need to see it."
  - Sherri Rase, Q on Stage

  • "Splendid memory play" Ruth Ross.     (link)
  • "Riveting" Jay Lustig.     (link)
  • "A crystal sharp portrayal of family function and dysfunction" Gwen Orel     (link)

Production Photos, click to enlarge (photo credit: Steven Lawler)


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Copyright 2009-2010 Tammy Ryan