In bold, neon pink letters against the dim, blue stage lights, a sign reads “Clyde’s” — a reference to both the titular diner on stage and the title of the PlayMakers Repertory Company’s current show.
Rap music thunders through the speakers, then stops as the stage lights turn on. Two characters have appeared. The woman — Clyde, the restaurant’s owner — takes out a cigarette and lights it. The man, Montrellous, picks up a plate in front of him. On it is a sandwich, and he offers it to Clyde.
But she refuses to eat it. She storms out, and the play begins.
“Clyde’s” opened on Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 24 in the Paul Green Theatre. It is the PlayMakers’ first show in its 2023-24 season.
The play's 100 minutes are filled with an array of comedic moments, including Clyde’s dominating personality and touching displays of emotion as characters try to understand one another and their place in society after being incarcerated.
“Clyde’s” is a one-act show by playwright Lynn Nottage about workers at a truck stop sandwich shop, all formerly incarcerated and trying to re-integrate back into society.
Melissa Maxwell, the show's director, said her approach to directing a show involves understanding the deeper human complexities that the show encapsulates.
The diner is designed to be a liminal space — that is, it’s a place of transition for the characters, designed to elevate them to some other place. The show is as much about the characters’ interactions with one another as it is about their individual circumstances and the actions they need to take to grow, she said.
“They are in a liminal space until they can change their mindset,” Maxwell said. “And when they change their mindset, they free themselves.”