Repertory Theatre of St. Louis finishes out 2022-23 Season with gripping and playful Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph

Tuesday | Apr. 4, 2023

ST. LOUIS (March 14, 2023) – The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) - the leading regional performing arts theatre in the Midwest - closes its 2022-2023 season with Gruesome Playground Injuries by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph running April 14 - May 13 at The Strauss Blackbox Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.  Gruesome Playground Injuries marks the return of the STEVE WOOLF STUDIO SERIES – Adventurous Theatre for Adventurous Theatregoers, and is directed by newly promoted Associate Artistic Director and Director of New Work, Becks Redman, in her directorial debut at The Rep.

“When I started as Artistic Director one of my main goals was to activate our art across the St. Louis community,” said The Rep's Augustin Family Artistic Director, Hana S. Sharif. “With the return of the Steve Woolf Studio Series, we get to explore a new space and introduce Rajiv’s incredible work to our Rep audiences.”


In Gruesome Playground Injuries Doug and Kayleen meet as eight-year-olds in the school nurse’s office. Over the next three decades, their lives intersect, in this nonlinear tale, as they return to each other and their injuries — both physical and psychological — struggling with vulnerability and love. 


“It is such an honor to be directing such a beautiful and intimate piece of theatre,” says Director, Becks Redman. “I am looking forward to sharing a story with St. Louis that focuses on how the passage of time can lead to reflection, self-introspection and growth. Ultimately, this is a story of love, believing in love and the metamorphosis of love.”


Gruesome Playground Injuries features a talented cast of two. The role of Doug will be played by Brian Slaten, a St. Louis native who Rep audiences will remember from his role in The Lifespan of a Fact in 2019. The role of Kayleen will be played by Jessika Williams, who has performed in theatres across America and the UK taking on more than 45 roles in over half of Shakespeare’s canon.


The creative team for Gruesome Playground Injuries includes Set Designer Diggle, Costume Designer Carolyn Mazuca, Lighting Designer Anshuman Bhatia, Sound Designer Kareem Deanes, Composer David Gomez, and Casting Director Amelia Acosta Powell.


Gruesome Playground Injuries playwright Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then in 2018 with Describe the Night. Joseph has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. 


Gruesome Playground Injuries will be performed in the Strauss Blackbox Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, as part of The Reps’s initiative to bring theatre into the St. Louis Community.  The Rep presented its first-ever Studio Theatre production in 1978 with David Rudkin’s Ashes

The Rep is pleased to offer several special offerings and accessible performances throughout the run of Gruesome Playground Injuries. These include:

Mask Required Performance, April 16 - In an effort to keep our productions accessible to those at high risk for airborne illness, we offer a performance asking patrons of all ages to please remain masked the entire time they are in the theatre during the performance. Masking will not be required in the lobby or outdoors.

Post Show Talkbacks, April 27, 8 p.m. & May 3, 7 p.m. – Following the performance, members of the cast and creative team will join the audience for a moderated, casual discussion where audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the artists who created the show.

Club Rep Night, April 27 – Club Rep nights offer young professionals in the St. Louis area an exciting evening of pre-show food, drinks, networking followed by a world-class performance at The Rep. Club Rep tickets (which include food and drink) are $25 with promo code CLUBREPNIGHT.

Audio Described Performance, May 4 – The Rep has partnered with MindsEye to offer live audio description for the final Thursday performance of every production.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreted, May 6, 2 p.m. – An ASL-interpreted performance will be offered on the final Saturday matinee of every production. Interpreters will be stationed inside the theater and will sign along with what the actors are performing onstage for the audience.

Open-Captioned Performance, May 7 – The Rep offers open captioning, an electronic text ticker that displays the words being spoken onstage, at the final Sunday matinee for all Mainstage productions.

Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at or by calling the Box Office at (314)968-4925.

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit for more, and find The Rep on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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