"The first image that came to me for 'Broken Daughters,' way before it was anything, ended up being a note that I scribbled down, 'Skin Head With a Broken Nose,'" says Denver-based actor and playwright Josh Hartwell concerning his play that's set to open at MadLab.
Conrad Douglass is a Bostonian, transplanted to Tampa, dealing with the traumas of his three grown daughters. Rene suffers from a brain injury. Cassandra and her partner Morgan hope to add a child to their family. And the imprisoned Penelope has suffered a sexual assault by a guard.
Hartwell is known for plays with some connection to music. In a recent Denver interview, he joked about how cool it would be to have a business card that reads “Rock and Roll Playwright.” “Daughters” has no overt musical reference, but that broken nose was what Hartwell called “the earliest development of the character Penelope. I wrote her a long monologue, some of which made it to this draft. At that point, she was much more of a biker. Outwardly tough. Maybe a little Allman Brothers Band with some Lynyrd Skynyrd. But angrier, sort of that Altamont-concert-stabbing feel. Just on the edge of blowing up. I think she still has a bit of that in her.”
Directing the MadLab production of “Broken Daughters,” Michelle Batt strives to craft a story to which people can relate. She encourages her cast to “ask questions about who each character is, why they do the things they do, why today is the day, and how they have come to this moment in their lives.”
Batt tells audiences to “expect a riveting story about three sisters, their father, and those in their lives that help or hurt them through dealing with circumstances that can challenge your judgment between love, forgiveness and happiness.”