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The Play

Passing opens in Hartford, CT on Passover, 1988. Two women, Gretchen, and her younger sister, Emma, have recently lost their mother, Ruth, who was a survivor of the Holocaust. Gretchen, who is married and has a young daughter, has long since moved away from Hartford. Emma, on the other hand, is unmarried and has spent her adult life living in the family home with their widowed mother. As is often the case in such instances, there is great love between the sisters, but considerable antagonism as well. To make matters worse, they've been unable to locate a will. Gretchen wants to sell the house. Emma wants to continue living there. This basic conflict stirs up many other long-standing tensions between them. When Gretchen leaves to run some errands, Emma discovers a sealed envelope in a box. It's addressed to Gretchen in their mother's handwriting. Emma opens the letter and reads it, leading to a long flashback to 1945 and the end of the war, during which a dark and profound family secret is revealed. The play's final scene takes place in the present day -- in the very near future. Perhaps tomorrow. In it, the choices made by Ruth in 1945 and those made by Emma in 1988 result in the gravest of repercussions.

The Artists

Cristen Stephansky (Emma/Ruth)

Margaret Anne Murphy (Gretchen/Hannah)

Harley Venton (Director)

Stephanie Zambrano (Stage Manager/Understudy)

Hannah Halpern (Artwork)

John Sowalsky (Writer/Producer)

The Production



Riverside Baptist Church
699 Maine Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20024


Thursday, July 11th @ 6:30pm
Saturday, July 13th @ 5:45pm
Tuesday, July 16th @ 8:30pm
Saturday, July 20th @ 2:30pm
Wednesday, July 24th @ 8:30pm


Tickets can be purchased by the general public through the Capital Fringe Web site. Complimentary tickets are available, upon request, to members of the press.

The Company

The Indian Ocean Theatre Company was founded in 2008 when playwright John Sowalsky concluded that the easiest way to get his work onto the stage would be to produce it himself. Since that time IOTC has brought five productions to the Capital Fringe Festival, has participated in the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival annually since 2012, has participated in staged readings held by Playwrights' Collaborative and elsewhere, and has provided assistance to a number of other independent productions. The Indian Ocean Theatre Company is devoted to bringing new works to the DC-Metro stage utilizing the best emerging talent the region has to offer. We place a premium on artistic excellence, production values, and attention to detail, in an effort to provide a springboard for those who aspire to the professional stage.

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