By Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival | June 19, 2023
Wet Brain


 Brooklyn SciFi Fans Save 30% off tickets!  Use Promo Code: BrainFest - Order Online 

Brooklyn SciFi is thrilled to share this critically acclaimed SciFi dark comedy by John J. Caswell Jr. with a 30% off discount now available online using promo code BrainFest.

Deep in the suburbs of Arizona, three trainwreck siblings are charged with the care of their trainwreck father, who may or may not live a secret alien life. John J. Caswell, Jr.’s brutally funny new play pierces one family’s emotional void as they search the cosmos to find a common language. Don’t miss this startling sensory feast from the award-winning director of WOLF PLAY, Dustin Wills. 

Since its opening on June 6, Wet Brain has garnered critical praise. In a Critic’s Pick review for The New York Times, Laura Collins-Hughes describes the play as “a very funny pitch-black comedy about addiction and obligation, love and abandonment, and patterns of poisonous behavior lodged so deep they seem encoded.” Writing about Wet Brain for Vogue, Liz Appel calls it “the kind of play that forces you to reckon with the singular nature of what theater can do,” and explains, “Equal parts heart-stopping and heart-wrenching, the play follows three siblings as they struggle to care for their ailing (and possibly alien?) father. A ferocious take on one family’s struggle with mental illness and addiction, Wet Brain traverses vast swathes of the universe with surprising moments of hilarity and hope.” Christian Lewis of Theatermania calls Wet Brain “a compelling portrait of family dysfunction,” Jackson McHenry of New York Magazine / Vulture describes it as “a play that’s comfortable leaving gaping wounds bleeding while still being quite funny,” and Robert Hofler of The Wrap writes, “Dustin Wills’ inspired direction of Caswell’s play is a wild ride.” 

An inventive look at addiction’s ability to transform one’s existence and relationships, Wet Brain offers an American family drama that is not only freed from realism, but also, perhaps unmoored from Earth itself. In a crumbling house in Arizona, a family haunted by addiction—and hardened into smart- asses—wrestles with the alcoholic ruin of its patriarch… who may or may not be repeatedly abducted by aliens. With humor and horror, John J. Caswell, Jr. brings us the transfixing story of a family mining the depths of loss, traveling lightyears to find a language for closure.

Caswell, Jr. began this semi-autobiographical play depicting events grounded in reality—at first, in a style and vision uncharacteristic of his offbeat authorial tastes and tendencies—until the playwright’s own reality presented him with a reason to explore perspectives beyond what we think we know and see. Caswell, Jr., whose recent Off-Broadway debut Man Cave was “a political drama wrapped in the spooky pleasures of the horror genre [that] works on both levels” (The New York Times), merged the work’s depiction of a family’s deep, wounded unknowns with those that hover just above all humanity.

Wet Brain’s cast includes Frankie J. Alvarez (Looking, to the yellow house) as Ron, Ceci Fernández (Men on Boats, Tiny Beautiful Things) as Angelina, Florencia Lozano (Playwrights: Placebo; Rinse, Repeat) as Mona, Julio Monge (Oedipus El Rey, On Your Feet!) as Joe, and Arturo Luis Soria (Ni Mi Madre, The Inheritance) as Ricky. The creative team includes Kate Noll (scenic designer), Haydee Zelideth Antuñano (costume designer), Cha See (lighting designer), Tei Blow (co-sound designer), John Gasper (co-sound designer), and Nick Hussong (projections designer). Stage management: Kasson Marroquin (production stage manager), Kelsey Vivian (assistant stage manager). 

With a background in devised theater, Caswell, Jr. pursued a process with Wills that emphasizes collaboration with and amongst the design team to create a cohesive, and insinuating, vocabulary of dread. Members of the creative team worked together in a room for a week, dissecting and discussing the play and future production, before going off and doing their individual design work. 


Performance Schedule and Ticketing

Wet Brain began previews on May 19, opened June 6, and now runs through July 2 in Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater.

Tickets can be purchased here


 Brooklyn SciFi Fans Save 30% off tickets!  Use Promo Code: BrainFest - Order Online 



About John J. Caswell, Jr. (Playwright)

Playwrights debut. John is a playwright originally from Phoenix. Recent honors include the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award for Wet Brain, the 2020 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award from the Vineyard Theater, the 2020 Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, a 2018 MacDowell Fellowship, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Residency, Play Group member at Ars Nova, and the 2017 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship. Education: Juilliard School, Hunter College, Arizona State University.

About Dustin Wills (Director)

Dustin Wills directs theater and opera. Upcoming: Jeremy O. Harris’ A Boy’s Company Presents: Tell Me If I’m Hurting You, Handel’s Alcina (Yale Opera). Recent: Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play (Soho Rep and MCC Theater), Kate Tarker’s MONTAG (Soho Rep), Keith Reddin’s Black Snow (Juilliard), Phillip Howze’s Frontières Sans Frontières (Bushwick Starr—named a Top Ten Theatrical Production of 2017 by New York Magazine), Will Arbery’s Plano (Paper Chairs, Austin TX), Casey Llewellyn’s O, Earth (Foundry Theatre — Off-Broadway Alliance Best Play 2016), and a 2018 Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency. Wills has devised new work with Teatro L’Arciliuto in Rome, Italy, created large-scale puppetry pageants with Creative Action, trained with Augusto Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed legislative performance, and for a couple of years gave rogue tours of the Vatican. He is a Princess Grace Award recipient, as well as a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow. MFA: Yale School of Drama.


About the Cast


Frankie J. Alvarez (Ron). Playwrights and MCC debut. Off-Broadway: Othello (workshop, NYTW), Play On! Shakespeare Festival (CSC), Those Lost Boys: The Ten-Year Reunion (co-creator, Ars Nova). Regional: to the yellow house (La Jolla Playhouse); twenty50 (Denver Theatre Center); Bathing in Moonlight (McCarter Theatre); The Whipping Man (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Hamlet: Prince of Cuba/ Hamlet: Príncipe de Cuba (Asolo Rep); Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). TV/Film: HBO’s Looking & Looking: The Movie (as Augustín), Let the Right One In, Fantasy Island, The Blacklist, New Amsterdam, Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife. 


Ceci Fernández (Angelina). Playwrights and MCC debut. Fernández has worked on stages all over the world, including The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Yale Repertory, and Bristol Old Vic Theatre Royal. TV and digital: WeCrashed, The Resident, The Good Wife, The Exorcist, Temporary Guardian. Ceci is the co-creator and head writer at @instaMiniSeries. 


Florencia Lozano (Mona). Playwrights: Placebo. MCC: Last Easter. Other NYC theater: NYTW, The Public/Shakespeare in the Park, LAByrinth, MTC, Clubbed Thumb, The Movement Theatre Company, Second Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, IATI Theater, Repertorio Español. Film: Life After You (also co-wrote and produced), Faraway Eyes, The Ministers, Veronika Decides To Die. TV: Keep Breathing, Narcos, Bull, The Baker and The Beauty, Kevin Can Wait, Blacklist, Mysteries of Laura, Blue Bloods, Lipstick Jungle, Ugly Betty, Royal Pains, Law & Order (CI&SVU), Gossip Girl, One Life To Live. Her play underneathmybed was produced at Rattlestick and won HOLA’s Best New Play Award.


Julio Monge (Joe). Playwrights and MCC debut. Broadway: On Your Feet, Lincoln Center’s Twelfth Night, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Fosse, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Paul Simons’ The Capeman. Off-Broadway: Oediups El Rey, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra (The Public Theater). Film: Come Find Me, West Side Story. Television: For Life; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; Mad About You; Twelfth Night (PBS). 


Arturo Luís Soria (Ricky). Playwrights and MCC Debut. Broadway: The Inheritance. Off-Broadway: Ni Mi Madre (writer, and performer) (Obie Award for Best Performance); Hit the Wall (Barrow Street Theatre). Regional: The Kennedy Center, Yale Rep, The Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Victory Gardens Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Studio Theatre, The Inconvenience. TV: Insatiable (Netflix), The Blacklist (CBS), East New York (CBS).