In The Summer Pavilion

In The Summer Pavilion

October 12, 2012 - November 3, 2012

59e59 Theaters

About The Show:

What if there were multiple futures and you could see them all at once? At a Maine summerhouse, three recent Princeton grads drop acid and are repeatedly hurtled forward in time to see multiple futures. The fluid sexuality and hedonism of their idealistic youth twist in this love triangle on a wild summer night.



Written by Paul David Young
Directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan
With: Rachel Mewbron, Ryan Barry and Meena Dimian
Sound design by Julian Evans
Stage Manager - Bethany Ellen Clark
Lighting Design by Kia Rogers 

Creative Team

Fringe Festival, 2011, Living Theatre, Production Stills

59e59 Theaters, 2012, Production Stills

Film Adaptation Stills


Fringe Festival report: 'Greenland' breaks the ice; 'Pavilion' deserves Maine-stream audience

Friday, August 26th 2011

The New York International Fringe Festival, which wraps up its 15th season Sunday, deserves dings for some of the weaker shows it puts on stage. But there are also always gems. Finding them is the trick.

Happily, two wonderfully realized works have helped reaffirm my faith in stage samplers. Both have completed their runs, but deserve a mention.

Ice figures prominently in "Greenland," Nicolas Billon's quietly disarming drama from Canada about a family cracked apart by a fatal accident. It clinks in a glass, fires up a dedicated glacialist and mirrors the frozen heart of an unhappy wife.

Paul David Young's hour-long one-act "In the Summer Pavilion," likewise boasts an achy and richly observant story and a talented ensemble.

Set in Maine at a wealthy kid's family warm-weather retreat and propelled by a potent cocktail of liquor laced with LSD, the plot follows three Ivy Leaguers. That includes the unsure Ben (Ryan Barry, remarkably deft), arty Clarissa (Julia Taylor Ross) and bossy Nabile (Meena Dimian), whose ever-entwined futures unfold in a series of dream sequences. Those fantasies play out intriguingly in Kathy Gail MacGowan's unfussy staging.

Young, a New York writer, displays an understanding of human behavior. Triangles are tricky; inevitably someone gets left out in the cold.

Once he's past his intentionally starchy prologue, the playwright also shows a keen ear for everyday dialogue.

With one exception: Nabile's "Gatsby"-esque habit of addressing Ben as "my boy" jarred every time he said it.

The New York Fringe Fest: Cocaine-Snorting Juliet Meets Japanese Electra

Village Voice By C.C. Kellogg Tue., Aug. 23 2011 at 5:57 PM

We stepped back into this year's New York International Fringe Festival, which continues through Sunday. Below, some highlights and lowlights of a recent batch of theater-going.

Philosophically Bent Piece
Highlight: In the Summer Pavilion
Inspired by German philosopher Reinhart Koselleck, Paul David Young's poetic script explores the (possible) futures of three recent college grads, portrayed by a talented young cast. Meena Dimian's Nabile is dangerously charming in each of his many incarnations, and Julia Taylor Rose's Clarissa morphs seamlessly from idealistic college student into jaded professional and back again. But Ryan Barry's Ben stands out most in his infectiously anxious vitality. Kia Roger's lighting is also noteworthy: She defines half a dozen decades and spaces with ease, no small feat considering the limited light board.

In The Summer Pavilion

John Peacock, Flavorpill

“Ben, Nabile, and Clarissa, three Princeton students on vacation at a summer house in Maine, drop acid after having a threesome and experience the countless possibilities the future holds in store for them. The cast of In the Summer Pavilion are thrillingly versatile, convincingly playing multiple ages and sexualities in each version of their adult lives. By keeping Ben and Nabile’s sexuality fluid, the story allows an exploration of all three of the friends ending up as couples with one person always left out. The show is a clever and unpredictable look at the fallout from past intimacy.”

Reality Washes Past (and Future) In The Summer Pavilion

ReviewsoffBroadway Oct. 22, 2012

In The Summer Pavilion is a fascinating journey across possible realities, imported to 59E 59 from the NY Fringe is a simple story told with sincerity….In The Summer Pavilion is directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan, and it is she who tells the complex story straightforward and clearly. Some people will question the lack of resolution in the show, all the possibilities are presented but there is no indication of which comes to pass. Others will enjoy the ambiguity and the message that we are the designers of our own fate. Personally, I wanted Ben’s life to turn out well, I hope he made the right choices.

In the Summer Pavilion

The Advocate

In Paul David Young’s ambitious and haunting drama, recent Princeton grads — one woman and two seemingly bisexual men — drop acid and hallucinate multiple futures for their sexually fluid trio, including every romantic pairing imaginable. With scruffy looks like an American Apparel underwear model, Ryan Barry is a standout as Ben, who seems happiest, albeit only briefly, in a gay relationship with Meena Dimian’s closeted Middle Eastern heir.
59E59 Theaters, through November 3.

In the Summer Pavilion

by Bradley Troll on 11.20.10
Theater is Easy

BOTTOM LINE: A sexy, searing offering of the vast possibilities of life and love crafted by a sharp, poetic voice.

There’s a sort of call to action or, perhaps more accurately, a call to reflection upon leaving Paul David Young’s In the Summer Pavilion, presented by Go In Her Room Productions in association with WorkShop Theater Company. A soft, introspective elegance pervades the work and after a day or so, the show lingering in my mind, Young’s intentions start to become clear. The result is a surprising poignancy that manifests again and again on level after level the longer the play sits on the brain.
The plot is familiar. Three friends, Ben (Ryan Barry), Clarissa (Rachel Mewbron), and Nabile (Meena Dimian), enjoy each other’s company the night after college graduation, and as the classic coming-of-age story goes, they consider the many possibilities of their futures. But the reality of this night is heightened and poetic, and these futures, perhaps aided by the drugs and alcohol, come to vivid life. Possible future after possible future, their lives are taken in vastly different directions, but there is always the sense that they are inexorably linked. And by all accounts, this isn’t always a healthy thing.

The trio is anchored by Ben, the only character who seems able to lift this veil of alternate reality. Ben speaks to the audience and, in anticipation of our possible confusion, nearly chastises our need to look for characters on a stage to bring about catharsis. But he warns that the doors are locked, that they will keep us until they are done. It is this aspect ofPavilion that stays with you once the story has been told. Playwright Young is not telling the story of these three characters specifically; he is telling the story of friendship. He is telling all of our stories.

Interdependence, identity, and the confusion between friendship and love take center stage. These characters’s friendships were formed during the explorative playground of young adulthood, which has been tinged by sexual experimentation of all possible combinations of the three. In the first possible future, Ben and Clarissa are the two who have allowed friendship to give way to love. When Nabile arrives for a visit, he professes an attraction to, or perhaps even love of, Ben; Ben spurns his advances. In another possible future, Clarissa and Nabile are together; in another it is Ben and Nabile. With each different grouping, the characters’s lives, occupations, and mindsets are drastically different, and in each scenario, the characters flirt with heartbreak and betrayal.

Though there seems to be a slight sense that Ben and Clarissa possess the best possibility for romantic success, Young does not allow any judgments to be made. Ben hints at Clarissa’s metamorphosis into something that for whatever reason prevents their being together, but by the end of the play, the “costume” to which Ben initially refers is revealed to be the persona that each of us adopts as adults, meaning that perhaps at our young, idealistic college age we are truer to ourselves than we will be ever again.

Under the delicate direction of Kathy Gail MacGowan, Barry is a complex cacophony of neuroses and subtext. Barry’s Ben lives a constant struggle to be normal, to be young, to see his friends at their best. His interpretation of Ben is an optimist who is too plagued by pessimism to achieve any happiness. He’s far too internalized to ever actually connect with Mewbron’s artistic, ephemeral Clarissa or Dimian’s hedonistic, sly Nabile. MacGowan has shaped a world that gives the audience the knowledge that these friends undoubtedly belong together in some capacity but that romance will most likely lead to disaster. As a result, it’s as if we’re watching an impending collision in slow motion, and we leave only wishing we had the power to stop it.

And since there is no optimal outcome, it is easy to leave Pavilion wondering about the ultimate purpose. It might be tempting to dismiss Young’s explorative piece as anticlimactic or even self-indulgent, a showcase for his obvious artistry in language. But I would encourage the viewer to approach this piece with no preconceptions of the literal or the linear. This is play is reflective — reflective for the characters as well as the audience.

On the technical side, I would be remiss not to compliment that unsung theatrical hero, the stage manager. Bethany Ellen Clark’s detail in management is evident in the perfect execution of Kia Rogers’s lighting design and especially Julian Evans’s crisp, jarring sound design. On the nearly bare stage, these technical elements meld perfectly with Young’s script and, of course, MacGowan’s direction. The result is a hip, electric world for the skilled actors to explore.

But again, Young’s play will resonate long after the specifics of Ben, Clarissa, and Nabile’s story or the events in the play fade from memory. This work seeks to appeal to our nostalgia, the way we once saw the world only through possibilities and the way we look to those around us, at their best and their worst, and see a reflection of ourselves. Young’s words drip with the poetic reminder of who we once were and who we have the capacity to be. “CRITIC’S PICK”!

Review: 'In the Summer Pavilion'
Go in Her Room Productions at the Living Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival

Reviewed by Erik Haagensen
AUGUST 14, 2011

Paul David Young has written a deceptively quiet winner with his new one-hour one-act, "In the Summer Pavilion." Set on an alcohol- and LSD-fueled summer night in the titular location, three 20-something friends experience a multiplicity of futures that might be theirs in shared hallucinations. Surprisingly straightforward, richly compassionate, and directed with clarity and intelligence by Kathy Gail MacGowan, the show is an early highlight of the Fringe.

Young shows an impressive awareness of both the shifting, halting, yet unlimited hopes of youth and the realities of circumscription that experience brings. His characters—the rich but unfocused and insecure Ben (Ryan Barry); the mercurial, confident, also wealthy Nabile (Meena Dimian) who has masculinity issues; and the artistic, self-contained, yet loyal Clarissa (Julia Taylor Ross), whose drive is the strongest—accrete into complex beings as much through the differences in their possible futures as through their similarities. All three actors do excellent work, with the shaggily sexy Barry getting to show the greatest range, including a strong delivery of Young's intriguing and enticing prologue.

A final shout out to lighting designer Kia Rogers and sound designer Kristyn R. Smith, whose clean, simple work, limited by the primitive Living Theatre venue, nevertheless immeasurably supports and enhances the proceedings.

Presented by Go to Her Room Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Living Theatre, 21 Clinton St., NYC. Aug. 13–22. Remaining performances: Sun., Aug. 14, 4:45 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 15, 4 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 20, noon; Mon., Aug. 22, 8:15 p.m. (866) 468-7619 or

‘In the Summer Pavilion’ Imaginatively Peers Into Possible Futures

By Erik Haagensen | Posted Oct. 18, 2012, 7 p.m.

Paul David Young’s compassionate drama “In the Summer Pavilion” was a highlight of the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival. An imaginative exploration of the various possible futures for three close friends just one year out of college, it has moved on to an Off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters with a tweaked script (it runs 75 minutes now as opposed to an hour) and one cast replacement (Rachel Mewbron, in for the excellent Julia Taylor Ross). Though a bit hemmed in by the venue’s unforgiving black-box space, the show remains a quiet winner.

Handsome and wealthy Nabile, with Middle Eastern roots and masculinity issues, and the lovely Clarissa, a blond stunner who’s an artist, have been invited by insecure, unfocused, but rich Ben to visit him at his family’s deluxe summer home, which he has to himself. Though Ben is throwing a party, he’s hiding from it in the titular building, restless, out of sorts, and not sure that he made the right choice in bringing his friends to be with him. As first Clarissa and then Nabile come looking for him, the tensions and erotic connections among the three, who haven’t been together in nearly a year, become immediately apparent. Fueled by some LSD-laced vodka, they are soon hallucinating a variety of scenarios that their just-beginning adult lives might take. In each, two of the friends are romantically coupled, leaving the third one out in the cold. Relationship dynamics, professions, and accomplishments alter from vision to vision. In not one case are all three simultaneously happy.

What makes Young’s play so unusual is how each character comes into focus through the multiplicity of his or her possibilities. Kathy Gail MacGowan once again contributes empathic, perceptive direction that is at pains never to confuse. The performances are a joy. Meena Dimian is a cheerfully amoral, elegantly seductive Nabile who can turn hard on a dime. Mewbron excels at small but important adjustments that keep all of her Clarissas on the same page; she’s particularly good with the iteration in which Clarissa has given up painting to become a tightly wound art dealer. Ryan Barry is still a seriously sexy Ben, with Barry excelling at the character’s boyish vulnerability. The actor makes the scene in which Ben, newly out of rehab, decides to go off the grid and join a group of environmental revolutionaries deeply affecting.

Returning lighting designer Kia Rogers partners with new sound person Julian Evans to create the simple but immeasurably enhancing atmosphere, though the smaller space cramps their style just a bit. In particular, Young’s poetic and playful prologue, in which Ben breaks the fourth wall to toy directly with the audience, loses some of its sparkle.

But that’s a small quibble. Young’s play still movingly depicts, as I wrote before, “the shifting, halting, yet unlimited hopes of youth and the realities of circumscription that experience brings.” He has just finished directing its film adaptation, which will be released next year. I look forward to encountering this lovely work yet again on the screen.


After Princeton, Looking at Fickle Fates

The New York Times
October 23, 2012 - THEATER REVIEW

In Paul David Young’s “In the Summer Pavilion,” three recent Princeton grads examine the road not taken. Actually, make that roads, plural, not taken, or at least not yet taken.

On a balmy summer night spent boozing and dropping acid, these unformed, impressionable adults get to live out their possible futures together and apart. In a series of scenes we see permutations of their friendships, sexual couplings, careers, financial fortunes and mental health status, apparently intended to show us the fickleness of fate.

It’s not a particularly original concept, but it comes off as less gimmicky than it could, thanks to Kathy Gail MacGowan’s careful direction and some finely drawn scenes. Yet even at 75 minutes, there are just too many of these parallel-universe futures to sit through. There’s not much to learn by the fifth iteration of the threesome’s lives, particularly since Mr. Young provides almost no information about what decisions landed them on the roads to these various futures in the first place.

Clarissa (Rachel Mewbron), an artistically inclined tease, and Nabile (Meena Dimian), a sometimes closeted Middle Eastern heir, are weakly developed, showing relatively little change from future to future except in career choice and positioning in the love triangle. Ben, the morose little grad lost, shows the most range, thanks to better writing and to the acting chops of Ryan Barry, who plays him.

The eerie, hypersensitive sound work, from Julian Evans, and domineering, almost cinematic lighting, from Kia Rogers, help the ambitious but sometimes rambling script cohere. Such technical finesse elevates the play from mediocre to slightly more memorable.


Paul David Young's In the Summer Pavilion Will Make World Premiere at FringeNYC By Michael Gioia
25 Jul 2011

Go In Her Room Productions in association with The Present Company will present the world premiere of In the Summer Pavilion, a new play by Paul David Young, beginning Aug. 13 at the Living Theater as part of the 15th Annual New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC).
In the Summer Pavilion, directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan, runs through Aug. 22 and features a cast that includes Meena Dimian, Ryan Barry and Julia Taylor Ross.

"A party at a summer house in Maine turns serious when a vulnerable young man is seduced by his two college friends, one male, the other female, into a frightening game under the influence of LSD," according to press notes. "In the Summer Pavilion hurtles him repeatedly forward in time to see multiple selves and futures, any of which could be his. The hedonism and ambiguous sexuality of their idealistic youth twist in their love triangle as they witness what is yet to come."

Seeing the future in "In the Summer Pavilion"

T & B on the Aisle

The future lies before you like a summer sky when you’re fresh out of college. There are endless possibilities for you and your closest friends.

In “In The Summer Pavilion,” at 59E59 Theaters through November 3rd, those endless possibilities play out as alternate realities. Ben (Ryan Barry), Clarissa (Rachel Mewbron) and Nabile (Meena Dimian), friends just graduated from Princeton, come together like a sexy stew as “In The Summer Pavilion” begins their journey.

“Mr. Premonition here thinks he can see the future,” Nabile says. Ben is wary. “You two, you’re dangerous,” he tells them. Nabile answers him a little cryptically, “Take off your mask of sorrow and let the comedy play.”

In each scenario, Ben, Clarissa and Nabile pair off differently, as the play unfolds going forward seven years. There is a promise, unkept, of secrets being revealed. “A night full of adventure. Doors opening. Desires fulfilled. Secrets revealed,” Nabile says. Alas, they are not, but several likely outcomes are. “Do you sometimes have the feeling that we’ve been here before?”

Paul David Young’s play is rich in imagery; it teases with snippets of poetic philosophizing, and offers a satisfying amount of adventure.

“No, be a jerk. Say the uncomfortable thing. I’m ready for it now.” Ben says. “I am young/ Unripened hope.”

“In The Summer Pavilion” is an intriguing work. The acting under Kathy Gail MacGowan’s direction is charming and natural. Everything– sexuality, career paths, partners– is up for grabs. All of it is an a wild ride. We should probably take Nabile’ s advice and get out the Ouija board.

Bonus points for having the playwright, Paul David Young, in the audience. Young adapted and
directed his screenplay for “In The Summer Pavilion,” which is due to be released in 2013.
For more information about “In The Summer Pavilion,” visit

In the Summer Pavilion

In its own way, Paul David Young's In the Summer Pavilion is a perfect little play. Its premise is psychologically intriguing: What if there were multiple futures and you could see them all at once? The response to this question is surreally teased out in Young's 90-minute drama. The action begins when three recent Princeton grads drop acid on one wild Maine night and hallucinate their futures. They bend time, unleash ambitions, and rearrange themselves into new futuristic situations. This is a noirish comedy that allows the audience to witness the wreckage of dreams fulfilled-in-a-hurry. As you accompany this trio down their yellow brick road to success, you will likely recall that old maxim: Be careful what you wish for. Not only do these hedonistic characters immediately get to live in their mail-order futures, they enter a bizarre love triangle that works hetero-, homo-, and bi-sexually. Tautly directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan, this play is one terrifying comedy. Meena Dimian, as Nabile, creates a thoroughly slick mixture of intellectual schmaltz and all-American bonhomie. Ryan Barry, as Ben, is insecurity personified, albeit with a charming flair. And the pretty Julia Taylor Ross, as Clarissa, is impeccably poised as the colossally successful art dealer. This play tells the future with Freudian density and a phantasmagoric air. A Bacchanalian feast crossed with a coming-of-age rite, this disquieting work will make you stop yearning for magic bullets and instant results. Let us have more Young. At Living Theatre. 90 minutes.


In the Summer Pavilion review

FringeNYC Festival Review
Jo Ann Rosen • August 13, 2011

“Edginess pervades this 70-minute drama, focusing on the vagaries of the future and the fear of not measuring up to expectations.”
“The playwright has written smart characters and arms them with lyrical vocabulary, challenging arguments, and insatiable demands as weapons against their competition. Of course, they are each other’s competition.”

“Kathy Gail MacGowan directs the superb cast with a firm hand. Meena Dimian is suave and resourceful as Nabile. His character is first to step up to the plate in the pavilion and announce, ‘Let the games begin.’ Is this the game of life? Who among them will be winners? Nabile is a gambler and comfortable with the odds he’s been dealt. He is a world traveler. Clarissa, played by the lovely Julia Taylor Ross, grows from earthily appealing in the pavilion to elegant, sharp-tongued, and unapproachably elite. Ryan Barry plays Ben with all the insecurities of a recent grad, unsure of what he wants and where he will go.”

“Kia Rogers's lighting is downright magic. In one scene, Ben’s right eye looks positively evil. Sound designer Kristyn R. Smith employs artful transitions between scenes. This is an unusual play that requires some thought. It’s worth seeing.”