American Arcade

  • The Magnetic Theatre

  • Address: 375 Depot Street, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Times: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Thursday, Friday, Saturday
  • Admission: Low-priced previews June 8-9 $12; all other performances $16
  • Phone: (828) 239-9250
  • Email:

The Magnetic Theatre Presents the World Premiere of Steven Samuels’ AMERICAN ARCADE; or, How To Shoot Yourself in the Face (An Outrage in Two Acts) June 8-July 1 The Magnetic Theatre’s artistic director, Steven Samuels, author of such favorites as When Jekyll Met Hyde and The Merchant of Asheville, returns to the Magnetic 375 stage with his latest play, American Arcade; or, How To Shoot Yourself in the Face (An Outrage in Two Acts), which he also directs. A big, bold world premiere he’s been contemplating on and off for more than 45 years, American Arcade concerns a young manufacturer of old-fashioned shooting-gallery games struggling to sustain his beloved past, his family, and his sanity while the confounding present explodes in his face. Previews June 8 and 9, opens June 10, and plays Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 PM through July 1, at The Magnetic’s new low prices of $12 for previews and $16 for regular performances, tax and fees included.In American Arcade, Harry Hunter (portrayed by Cody Magouirk, a Magnetic Theatre regular who starred most recently in the eponymous role of Terry Tempest) tries to maintain the failing, retro-arcade game manufacturing company bequeathed him by his late father, who died under mysterious circumstances. Harry is literally haunted by his father, and the other people who plague his life—mother, wife, daughter, assistant, assistant’s fiancé, Harry’s psychiatrist, and a Mafia don—appear as often in his fantasies as in the one crazy day on which the play takes place. Their concerns—mostly money and sex—combine with Harry’s fears of war, environmental destruction, and the depersonalization of human interactions through overindulgence in the world of screens, to drive him at least half mad while he tries to solve his problems and the mystery of his father’s death. “The essentials of American Arcade came to me in a flash during Nixon’s presidency, but I knew I needed the ideas to mature before I wrote it—after all, I was only seventeen when it hit me! Then, this past November, the results of the presidential election made the concerns of that time pressing again, and achingly immediate to me,” Samuels says. “American Arcade is a strange cross, tonally, between such family dramas as Death of a Salesman and dark farce. A huge part of the fun comes from a set dominated by a wall in which faces appear, a la Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. It’s been a long time in the making, but more than worth the wait!”The Magnetic Theatre presents the world premiere of American Arcade; or, How To Shoot Yourself in the Face (An Outrage in Two Acts), written and directed by Steven Samuels. At Magnetic 375 (375 Depot Street in the River Arts District). Low-priced previews June 8 and 9. Opening night with free bubbly June 10. Continues Thursdays-Saturdays through July 1. All performances at 7:30 PM. Previews $12. Regular performances $16. $10 student rush tickets available 15 minutes before curtain with valid I.D. Prices include tax and fees. Info at: