RINGING OUT Gets it’s first Review!!

A generation after the end of the world, one family of survivalists have made a life for themselves far below the surface of the earth.

RINGING OUT is a dark comedy set in the bunker of an aging survivalist (Rick) who predicted the demise of society. He built the bunker as a safe haven for his wife (Kendra) and a young girl (Mandolin), who they rescued from the post-apocalyptic destruction. The story begins fifteen years or so after their descent.

Throughout the play an unraveling takes place, incited by Mandolin’s search for a memory–something she remembers as Christmas. Her re-creations become a skewed interpretation of what had been. Their safe haven is further upset by the arrival of a Stranger, with whom Mandolin connects. The complex relationships between the family members are darkly moving as they discover their place in the new world. Ringing out is about creating new traditions and values after the old have disintegrated, but it is also about how some things, such as the impulse toward freedom and the bonds of family, never change.


“Actively working in theatre means I’m constantly thinking about different ways to engage the audience. Experiencing theatre shouldn’t be a passive activity. With the rise of media-driven experiences, the psychology of our audience is changing, and we, as artists, must also evolve.

Josh is one of those playwrights who immediately lays the foundation for such work. His rich characters are unconventional and provocative. His stories weave comedy and tragedy into one beautiful, bittersweet tapestry, reflecting the complexities and joys of the human condition. He, too, thinks about the audience. This is the third production we have created together. When we begin the process of brainstorming, we always ask: “What role does the audience play?” During “Salep and Silk”–our last dinner theatre collaboration with The Silk Road–the audience was placed in the spirit world, with candles on the table representing the intangible soul.

Food is a delightful way to engage the audience, particularly when it comes from The Silk Road. This will mark the sixth dinner theatre production with Sam Risho, Abe Risho, and myself in the Crystal. The food is a part of the concept. What is written into the script is often created on the audience’s plate, as a way for them to further engage the story through the palate.

In “Ringing Out,” the audience will be enveloped with the actors underground, through a lowering of the ceiling. The bulk of the play takes place in a bunker that Rick, a survivalist who predicted the demise of society, built as a safe haven for his wife (Kendra) and a young child (Mandolin) they rescued from the post-apocolyptic destruction. The story happens somewhere around fifteen years after their descent into the underground.”

~Rebecca Shaffer


“Ringing Out began as my attempt to write a new Christmas story. When I finished the first draft, I thought, ‘This is a bit darker than a typical Christmas story,’ but then I realized that certain scenes in ‘A Christmas Carol’ take place in a cemetery, and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is about a guy who wants to kill himself. The dark side of Christmas is important. It’s a dark time of year, and fighting against this is the point of the holiday.

So we set the story after the end of the world, as dark and bleak as it gets. As the story unfolded I realized it would be more about people and less about Christmas. This isn’t a play you have to see in December. That’s why, as a post-apocalyptic story we decided to stage it post-Christmas.¬†Ringing Out is about how things fall apart, and how new traditions can spring out the ashes.”

~Josh Wagner