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The Dangers of Tobacco

Justin Jain


Categories: Theater, Comedy & Improv

Dates: September 3, 2023 - September 11, 2023

Run Time: 50 mins

Venue: Fidget Space


A wild Filipino-American adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s solo play, The Dangers of Tobacco. This lesser-known one act by the renowned Russian playwright is a lecture given by a dusty old professor about the harms of smoking. However, he is neither a professor or a non-smoker, and we come to realize he is being forced to give this lesson by his wife. What starts as a simple and funny bumbling speech evolves into a revelation of a life lived, complete with regrets, sorrow, and a looking-back at the ever-present “what could have been.” I’m going to deconstruct this text and structure to overlay my own familial story and journey as a first-generation queer Filipino-American, playing with the fine line between performer, character, and clown, as well as pushing the boundaries of performance and audience.

Having recently performed in his iconic work, The Cherry Orchard (at The Wilma Theatre, Spring 2022), directed by the esteemed Russian director Dimitry Krymov, I was compelled by his irreverent style of performance and the breadth of knowledge I was gaining about Chekhov. I had been hungry for a container to tell “my story” that allowed a veil full of potential in how far to push both audience and performer. When I read the play, I was immediately inspired.

Cannonball, produced by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, is the first and largest independent festival hub of the Philadelphia Fringe that presents risk-taking independent artists in back-to-back performances next to delicious lounge spaces, fostering creative collisions and community conversation.

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About the Artist

Justin Jain is an Actor, Director, Educator, and Wilma HotHouse Company member, previously appearing in Kiss, The Cherry Orchard, Minor Character, and Heroes of the Fourth Turning among many others at The Wilma. When not onstage, he’s making new work with his Barrymore nominated alt-comedy theatre company, The Berserker Residents ( Additionally, Mr. Jain has performed Off-Broadway and with many regional theaters including: 1812 Productions, Arden Theatre Company, InterAct, Lantern Theatre, Azuka, People’s Light, FringeArts, Shakespeare in Clark Park, McCarter Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Passage Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, The Assembly in Edinburgh, ASU Gammage, and Ars Nova NYC, among others. Justin won the 2019 Barrymore for Outstanding Performance in a Play for his work in The Great Leap. He teaches Theatre at his alma mater, The University of the Arts. As a Director, Justin’s recent credits include The Chinese Lady at InterAct Theatre, No Child… at The Arden, This is the Week That Is at 1812 productions, among many others. As a Dancer and Movement Coordinator / Choreographer, Justin has worked with choreographer David Gordon, Headlong Dance Theatre, The University of the Arts, 1812 Productions, among others. Justin hails from a dance background, later moving into theatre as an actor and is in constant pursuit of the actor’s full expression of the body as a vehicle for transcendent storytelling. Recent performance credits include The Play That Goes Wrong at 1812 Productions and 12th Night at the Wilma. Appears as Jay on WHYY/PBS Kids' Albie's Elevator. 


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