Derby Day


LA TIMES says, "the most combustible fraternal rapport since Sam Shepard’s “True West. Williams, who also directs, engineers the transformation brilliantly."

"Williams writes pungent dialogue, his characters are drawn with wit and sure strokes... it makes for a lively evening."

LIFE IN LA PUBLISHING says "DERBY DAY" is, "Deep, traumatizing and funny... cleverly layered with paramount comedic timing. Their chemistry is impeccable, and only heightened by Williams’ sharp and witty dialogue."

"Derby Day features gut-wrenching prose, black comedy, and animalistic acting as it examines the destructiveness of one family . Lines and zingers fly through the visceral, intense production." - TOLUCAN TIMES


"Derby Day is quite a violent piece...delivers flesh-and-blood characters we can all relate to—even if we don’t necessarily want to know them." - BC BLOG CRITICS

"Playwright Samuel Brett Williams not only creates a story line that is far better than a soap opera, but is one that offers down and dirty contending...EDGY...DERBY DAY is a sure bet!"


From what appears to be black comedy,
Derby Day quickly shifts into serious emotional pyrotechnics rivaling anything mounted by the Grucci* family.

"Samuel Brett Williams' DERBY DAY makes for a winning day at the races!"
Doug Strassler, City Arts

STAGE AND CINEMA says, "The Audience is the WINNER!" - When you go see "DERBY DAY".

"A welcome voyage to undiscovered country, DERBY DAY is wittily subversive country at that."
NY Press

Top Ten Off Broadway Shows of 2011, DERBY DAY
Paper Magazine, Tom Murrin

"DERBY DAY doesn’t just push the envelope, it rips the envelope in half, lights it on fire, and has sex with it."
"Samuel Brett Williams' new play is an amazing piece of theatre."
Julie A. Feltman, Theatre is Easy


February 20, 21

Sat, Feb 22 – Sun, Mar 23
Thurs, Fri, Sat, 8 pm
Show Calendar

$15 Previews

Special Show Info
Running time: 80 minutes.

Elephant Stages - Elephant Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90038
Ample Street Parking
Area Map

The Ballard brothers are three of the most dysfunctional, chauvinist, volatile, unregenerate characters outside of Shakespeare. From what appears to be black comedy, Derby Day quickly shifts into serious emotional pyrotechnics rivaling anything mounted by the Grucci* family. Slightly more than an hour of increasingly abhorrent behavior and raw revelation passes in a mesmerizing blink.

Frank, Ned (Thumper), and Johnny (oldest to youngest), have waited two weeks to bury their abusive, alcoholic father in order to come together for Derby Day at the Arkansas Racetrack where they spent much of their childhoods. The only one with an apparent income, Frank has paid for the use of a luxury, third-floor “box” from which the brothers periodically and vividly watch races on which they’ve bet—across the fourth wall. “You don’t gamble to win,” he reminds his siblings when they voice big dreams, “You gamble for the possibility to win.” Rough, southern dialect and peppered idioms are pitch perfect.

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