A play in nine segments showcases the wrenching ,deeply felt battles of the US War on Drugs

August 27 to September 9.
Theater for the New City (Cabaret Theater) 155 1st Avenue.
A New York Off-Broadway premiere presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of Dream Up Festival 2018.
8/26 3:30pm, 8/27 6:30pm, 8/30 9pm, 9/1 8pm, 9/3 6:30pm,
9/7 9pm, 9/8 3:30pm, 9/9 2pm
Tickets: $18. Box Office: (212) 254-1109,
Running time: 45 min. Critics are invited to all performances.

NEW YORK, August 2 -- “The Rounds” by Justin Moriarty is an experimental dance-theatre performance about the US War on Drugs, its soldiers, and its battles. The piece is is a one-act play divided into nine parts that exhibits the internal conflicts associated with individual and communal experiences with addiction and mental illness. Incorporating true stories from the lives of both patients and professionals in the medical industry, “The Rounds” addresses the relationships that exist within the shared struggle of addiction and the desire for recovery. Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival will present the work's New York premiere August 27 to September 9. Jonathan Schwolsky directs.

We are first introduced to a nervous, overly apologetic PhD student, a hostile patient, and a doctor, but they will soon shift identities, roles and power dynamics. From the stories of drug addicts, to people being diagnosed with personality disorders, to that of a marriage falling apart and the extreme self-effacing lengths one husband wants to go to to save it, there is no subject too stigmatized to show the audience observing these rounds. This is a play that takes place in liminal spaces such as dream worlds, hospital rooms, and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Its worlds are heightened by the choreography that serves as a transition and allows one to melt into the next. The piece was developed at Warehouse 550 in Lewiston, ME, when Schwolsky was Artistic Director there, and was described by Entertainment Hour as "horrifyingly accurate.”

Jonathan Schwolsky was creative producer of last fall’s world premiere of "The House of Charity" by Andre Degas at the Theater for the New City. He is an independent filmmaker, theater director, videographer, and photographer interested in the exploration of psychological and stream-of-consciousness narratives.

Playwright Justin Moriarty is a faculty member at Bates College, where he has worked in the Department of Theater and Dance since 2003 and has been the department’s Technical Director since 2016. Lighting design for modern dance is one of his favorite artistic challenges, and he is an accomplished dramaturg. During the summers, he is the Director of Peace Camp at One Tree Center in South Portland, Maine, a haven where young children learn how to create performance focused around social justice issues. He also volunteers at Long Creek Youth Development Center, working with youth incarcerated in South Portland using the arts as a vehicle for building confidence and self-awareness. The aspirations of Moriarty’s work are to create social awareness and positive dialogue through focusing on the stigmas that prevent them from being discussed.

The ninth annual Dream Up Festival ( is being presented by Theater for the New City from August 26 to September 16. An ultimate new work festival, it is dedicated to the joy of discovering new authors and edgy, innovative performances. Audiences savor the excitement, awe, passion, challenge and intrigue of new plays from around the country and around the world.

The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.

In addition to traditional plays, a unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered, drawing upon a variety of performance genres including musicals, puppetry and movement theater. The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.

# # #

Return to festival listings
Captioned, high-resolution photos of shows in this festival are available for download at:
The festival's website is