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The Vegas film their audition for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Photo: Theatre Exile
The Vegas film their audition for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Photo: Theatre Exile

‘Extreme Home Makeover’ marks the opening of Theatre Exile’s 25th season

The show from Texas-born playwright Makasha Copeland follows a Tejano family trying to get a spot on the famous ABC reality show.

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Theatre Exile has been a staple in South Philly and the overall Philadelphia theater scene for the past 25 years. The COVID-19 pandemic may have put that history on hold for a year, but the longtime nonprofit is back in 2021 for its 25th season, and is offering three plays with the theme of hope.

The opening play on Oct. 28 is the world premiere of Texas-born playwright Makasha Copeland’s Extreme Home Makeover, featuring Philadelphia talent on stage that includes: Yajaira Paredes, Jessy Gruver, Krystal Rosa, and Angel Sigala.

It will go on a 22-show run between Oct. 28 and Nov. 21.

Extreme Home Makeover’s story follows the Vegas, a family of Tejanos living in a small house in rural Texas.

Valentina (played by Gruver) is the matriarch of the family and after the death of her husband, decides to tell the family’s story to a national audience by applying to appear on the hit ABC reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The original ABC series ran between 2004 and 2012, and centered on sending a family going through hardship on a vacation while their homes were completely redone. 

It was a favorite childhood show of Copeland, who went back to the program after seeing it would be revived on HGTV, inspiring Extreme Home Makeover the play in the process.

The finished product is one that lays trauma bare as the Vegas film their audition tape for the show, but also offers a tinge of hope that the show’s producers will select the tape for an episode.

For Copeland, the story of Extreme Makeover is also a chance to take a playwright’s pen to three generations of their family’s childhoods, generational poverty and grief, and the commodification of suffering.

“What happens when mourning meets TV?” they said in a release about the play.

Interested parties are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior to attending due to limited box office operations. They will also be required to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks for all indoor shows. Audience capacity will also be limited to 60 guests, reduced from an original capacity of 125.

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