A story of isolated terror, “Abominable” takes audiences on a journey of how fear can strike any of us, at any time. –Shelby Robinson
Sterling resident, Helen Pafumi wrote the first draft of “Abominable” to explore the destructive behavior exhibited by the son of her friend after his parent’s divorce. But the countrywide terror caused by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary hijacked Pafumi’s play, leading her to transformed it into an exploration of the potential affects bullying has on an individual and on a community.
“What happens when we feel, as a community, that we have a safe place and someone breaks into that safe place?” asks Pafumi, Helen Hayes nominee and the artistic director and co-founder of the Hub Theater in Fairfax. “That’s the same thing that bullies do—they break into that safe place that we all feel.”
Although Pafumi thought this was one story better left in a desk drawer, her friend, director and producer and Kirsten Kelly, was quick to get on board for the project, seeing “Abominable” as relevant to the current struggles of communities everywhere.
Kelly, a two-time Helen Hayes nominee who has directed three shows at the Hub and the soon-to-premiere “The Homestretch” in Chicago, says “Abominable” is not just about fear and terror but is also a “story full of the joy and spirit of life … what keeps us going during the hard times.”
In “Abominable” two stories converge as a boy named Sam feels his inner world crushed by the pressure of a bully while the quiet town in which he lives begins to unravel from the presence of a beast. As Sam’s bully acts with more aggression, large footprints start to appear throughout the town.
Is Sam the beast? Is the beast a metaphor? These are questions that will be grappled with by viewers, as well as explored by Pafumi and the designers as they continue to plan the staging of the play. One thing is for certain, as Pafumi states, “The beast is real: There is evidence of the beast, there is fear of the beast.”
‘Abominable’ by Helen Pafumi
Running June 11 through Aug. 3
The Hub Theatre, Fairfax; thehubtheatre.org