Cast: Justine Lupe, Genesis Oliver & Jimmi Simpson

sets / Reid Thompson // lighting / Grant Yeager
costumes / Sarah Laux // sound / Amy Altadonna
properties / Shannon O’Brien
production management / Sean Gorski // assistant director / Brittany Coyne
production stage manager / Seth Kieser // assistant SM / Emily Fischer
press agent / Richard Kornberg & Associates

EMPATHITRAX is a searing, darkly funny and heart-filled story of a young couple who turn to a new break through in pharmacology to save their fractured relationship. When “Empathitrax” hits the market promising instant emotional intimacy by divining what others feel, one couple takes the leap to eliminate all boundaries between them. Like any new drug, there are unforeseen side effects which in this instance have catastrophic and poignant consequences.


★★★★! Bring a loved one if you dare: Unsettling and wise, Empathitrax is the kind of play that could strengthen any relationship that survives it. Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, of Colt Coeur, grounds the production in everyday lucidity, and Lupe’s brave performance invites us to recoil from and connect with her at the same time.
The premise is sheer sci-fi, but the themes are universal, the raw stuff of every human relationship. 
Ana Nogueira’s new play considers a fearsome weapon – a little pill that acts as a sort of truth serum, allowing you to reach out, touch someone and instantly feel what they feel… Pitch perfect…
Every interaction, every hesitation, every flash of emotion between Simpson and Lupe is precisely evoked under Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s superb direction… In Nogueira’s satisfying ending, well grounded but still a surprise, the author comes down on the side of natural experience rather than chemically induced effects. Simpson’s Him does something uncharacteristic—he improvises—and the delicacy and romance of the final moments pull the play back from the darkness enveloping it. It’s no longer a comedy gone awry.
Forcing us to see this up-close like perverse voyeurs, director Adrienne Campbell-Holt stages the play in what appears to be a sterile and soulless Long Island City high-rise apartment (smartly minimalist scenic design by Reid Thompson). There are very few frills to distract us from the emotional thrust of each scene.
Mercifully, Nogueria holds out hope for redemption from our quick-fix drug culture in a playful and tender final scene. While big problems can take a lifetime to overcome, simple acts of kindness can really make that process bearable.
In the beautifully redemptive and sweetly funny final moments of the show, the aspects of design come together magically, creating an incredible moment of deep emotion. Beyond words, we transcend understanding and simply feel.