"Explosive! Exciting! Theatrical high-wire act!"

Alli Marshall, Mountain Xpress

"Among Magnetic Theatre's best! Zany, racy,

edgy, and over the top!"

Jim Cavener, Asheville Citizen-Times

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 PM, through July 1 only!


Read the full Mountain Xpress review here! 

Read the full Asheville Citizen-Times review here!

The Magnetic Theatre’s artistic director, Steven Samuels, author of such favorites as When Jekyll Met Hyde and The Merchant of Asheville, returns to the Magnetic 375 stage with his latest play, American Arcade; or, How To Shoot Yourself in the Face (An Outrage in Two Acts), which he also directs. A big, bold world premiere he’s been contemplating on and off for more than 45 years, American Arcade concerns a young manufacturer of old-fashioned shooting-gallery games struggling to sustain his beloved past, his family, and his sanity while the confounding present explodes in his face.

In American Arcade, Harry Hunter (portrayed by Cody Magouirk, a Magnetic Theatre regular who starred most recently in the eponymous role of Terry Tempest) tries to maintain the failing, retro-arcade game manufacturing company bequeathed him by his late father, who died under mysterious circumstances. Harry is literally haunted by his father, and the other people who plague his life—mother, wife, daughter, assistant, assistant’s fiancé, Harry’s psychiatrist, and a Mafia don—appear as often in his fantasies as in the one crazy day on which the play takes place. Their concerns—mostly money and sex—combine with Harry’s fears of war, environmental destruction, and the depersonalization of human interactions through overindulgence in the world of screens, to drive him at least half mad while he tries to solve his problems and the mystery of his father’s death.

“The essentials of American Arcade came to me in a flash during Nixon’s presidency, but I knew I needed the ideas to mature before I wrote it—after all, I was only seventeen when it hit me! Then, this past November, the results of the presidential election made the concerns of that time pressing again, and achingly immediate to me,” Samuels says. “American Arcade is a strange cross, tonally, between such family dramas as Death of a Salesman and dark farce. A huge part of the fun comes from a set dominated by a wall in which faces appear, a la Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. It’s been a long time in the making, but more than worth the wait!”

Regular performances only $16! $10 student rush tickets available 15 minutes before curtain with valid I.D. Prices include tax and fees. Tickets available here now!

Saturday, July 1, 10:30 PM


Rehearsed Readings

of Astonishing Plays!

Performances Saturdays at 10:30 PM! FREE!

Curated by Katie Jones


Ever wonder what the sources are for any number of The Magnetic Theatre's world premieres?

Wish for a chance to have a visceral experience of rarely produced but highly influential works of the American stage?


celebrating the original Off-Off Broadway theatre


June 24: “The Bed” by Robert Heide and “I Love You, Goodnight” by William M. Hoffman

July 22: “Moon” by Robert Heide and “I Like It” by Michael Smith

August 26: “Icarus’s Mother” by Sam Shepard (Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.) and “Medea of the Laundromat or The Stars May Understand” by H.M. Koutoukas


Presents a World Premiere


by Jeff Donnelly and The Cardboard Sea

Directed by Todd Weakley

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 PM, July 6-15!

Tickets on sale here soon!
Something is very wrong at Cadmus Academy. A teacher is dead, a student is missing, and the school is on edge. Anew head has arrived with a mandate to restore order and discipline, but as details of her strategy begin to emerge, members of the Cadmus community wonder if they may have gotten more than they bargained for.

Has Anyone Seen Ms. Ray? is a new play by Jeff Donnelly and The Cardboard Sea. Directed by Todd Weakley, Ms. Ray is The Cardboard Sea’s fifth production and is in many ways the company’s grandest undertaking to date.

Borrowing freely from Sophocles’ Antigone, the full-length script is a dark comedy for our time, delivering blow after blow of both sharp wit and scathing critique.

Antigone asked profound questions that explored the blinding and corruptive forces of power. But ancient as that play may be, these are questions that feel extremely relevant in our current political climate. It feels like a dialogue we should be having,” says Kirstin Leigh Daniel, who plays new Head of School Dr. Gail Colby. Daniel adds, “Thanks, Greek tragedians!”

“The play draws on Greek tragedy, magical realism, and sci-fi movies to create a wild and wicked sense of vitality,” says company member Hannah Eicholtz.

“What excited me was the mix of modern and ancient. The content is absolutely current. The themes are timeless,” says playwright Jeff Donnelly.

Director Todd Weakley adds, “This will be our third show at The Magnetic Theatre. Steve Samuels and company have created a wonderful space and supportive community. Their dedication to new works for theatre is vital and significant. We are humbled to be a part of it.”

In addition to Daniel and Eicholtz, the cast also includes Jacob Williams, Lauren Hewer, and Kristi De Ville. Olivia Stuller will serve as stage manager.

With a commitment to the transformative nature of live performance, a belief in the collaborative process, and an
obsession for storytelling, The Cardboard Sea seeks to activate, engage, surprise, and provoke audiences into new and
challenging territory. We aim to: produce works of social significance, highlight the constructed nature of the
theatrical event, and provoke self-reflection and critical perspectives.

TIckets only $16! $10 student rush tickets available 15 minutes before curtain with valid I.D. Prices include tax and fees.

Magnetic 375

375 Depot Street
in the River Arts District

Box office telephone:
(828) 239-9250

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