Theatre Exile Presents Philadelphia Premiere of Erotic Thriller Smoke by Kim Davies

Following five Barrymore wins, and the sold-out and critically acclaimed production of Rizzo, Theatre Exile continues their 19th season with the Philadelphia premiere of Smoke by Kim Davies. Studio X (1340 S. 13th Street) is the intimate setting for this disquieting erotic thriller that carves away the layers of the human condition to expose our deepest self-deceptions. A playful game of cat and mouse turns a coincidental encounter between two strangers into a dangerous struggle for power. Previews begin on Thursday, February 18, 2016 and press opening night is Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 8:00pm. The show runs for a total of 21 performances through Sunday, March 13, 2016. Tickets are on sale now for $10.00 to $40.00 at or by phone (215) 218-4022.

John and Julie meet accidentally at a kink party in New York City. She’s an aspiring college dropout living a privileged life. He’s a jaded wannabe artist who happens to be her father’s intern. As the two explore their flirtation, they discover they have more in common than they previously thought. With desires exposed, knives out and sex an open-ended question, they push their own personal limits in their quest for the upper hand. No one leaves unscathed as they both knowingly play with fire -- but was getting burned the goal all along?

“Smoke is an intimate exploration of morality, power dynamics and the danger that we sometimes seek,” said Smoke Director and Exile Producing Artistic Director Deborah Block. “Smoke picks up where Rizzo left off in addressing the consequences of our actions, but does so in a much more personal way.”

Theatre Exile’s production of Smoke is directed by Exile Producing Artistic Director Deborah Block, and stars Matteo Scammell (The Hairy Ape, EgoPo Classic Theatre; Hans Bricker and the Silver Skates, Arden Theatre; Beauty and the Beast, Arden Theatre) and Merci Lyons-Cox (Timon of Athens, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective; Napoleon Princess Groupie Newspaper, Philadelphia Fringe Festival).

Smoke is set in a New York City apartment, recreated by Set Designer Colin Mcllvaine, Lighting Designer Drew Billau, Sound Designer Christpher Colucci, Props Master Clarissa Brodkin and Fight Coordinator Alex Cordaro (Red Speedo). Together, they help create the backdrop for a kink party where the only escape from the discipline, rules and safe words is the kitchen. “When left alone, John and Julie find a space away from the play where they can lose any sense of control and dismantle boundaries as they write their own rules.”

For costumes, Exile tapped new fashion designers Black Wednesday for a first-time collaboration. Black Wednesday was created in fall 2011 by co-founders and designers Diana Bader and Lindsay Leichner after the two graduated from Drexel University and decided to collaborate based on their interests in leather, metal and ‘all things dark and glamorous.’ “Status is an important part of power dynamics, not only in this play but in the world we live in,” added Block. “Diana and Lindsay fully understand the influence clothing can have on perceived status and as a result can present the nuances of the world of these characters through their costume design.”

Smoke is the first full length play by new American playwright Kim Davies. Davies is a member of Youngblood and the New Georges Jam. Smoke recently premiered at the Flea Theater for a thrice-extended run and was a New York Times and Time Out New York Critics' Pick. Davies’ short works, including Sensitive Young Men, Untitled Play about Balls, Miss Authenticity, and The Love of Richard Nixon, have been produced with the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Weasel Festival, and the 24 Hour Plays. Her plays have received readings and development with the Flea Theater, Partial Comfort Productions, and the Lark Play Development Center, among others. She is a recent graduate of Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney's MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Times Square Chronicle said, “Sexually charged, scalding script…a minefield of uncharted territory that takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride.”

New York Theatre Review said, “Smoke is one of those rare shows that builds moments that feel both repellent and enticing, captivating the audience in collective voyeurism...”

Smoke runs February 18 through March 13, 2016 (opening night Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 8:00pm). Tickets are $10.00 to $40.00 and are available online at or by calling the Theatre Exile Box Office at (215) 218-4022. Performances for this production take place at Studio X (1340 S. 13th Street). For more information about Theatre Exile, please follow on Twitter at @theatreexile, like on Facebook, call (215) 218-4022 and visit Smoke is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.

Exile will keep the tension building with an explosive ending to the season with The Invisible Hand by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, from May 12 to June 5, 2016 (Opening Night May 18, 2016, at Studio X. This raw political thriller pits self-preservation vs. the people’s welfare as the playwright examines how society, money and power shape the good and evil within. Nick Bright, a highly successful player at a major investment bank is kidnapped and held for ransom by an Islamic militant group. As he awaits his fate in remote Pakistan and with no one negotiating for his release, he must take matters into his own hands.  Full of questionable alliances and moral bargaining, this Philadelphia premiere is a chilling examination of how far we will go to survive and the consequences of the choices we make. Theatre Exile’s Associate Artistic Director Matt Pfeiffer will direct, with Barrymore Award-winning actor Ian Merrill Peakes playing Nick Bright.


Founded in 1996 by Joe Canuso and Trish Kelly, Theatre Exile was created by a group of artists who wanted to rattle the gates of the mainstream. Drawn to plays that delve into the complexities of the human condition and contain a sense of true Philadelphia grit and passion, Exile has produced 60 full-scale productions, including 15 world and 28 Philadelphia premieres. They were the first Philadelphia organization to produce such powerhouse playwrights as Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tracy Letts, Noah Haidle, Rona Munro, David Harrower, Annie Baker, Rajiv Joseph, Mike Bartlett, Sharr White and Lucas Hnath. For their excellence in producing theatre, they have received 60 Barrymore Award nominations, with 14 awards total. Theatre Exile believes in freedom of expression formulated through innovation, exploration and provocation, all while providing a safe and creative environment, in which local artists can grow, experiment and ultimately, find their own voice.