Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

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The Match Game

by Steven Strafford

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The Match Game A photo of three paper cups in a row with a hand lifting one up to reveal a ball underneath it against a bright real background. A photo of three paper cups in a row with a hand lifting one up to reveal a ball underneath it against a bright real background.

Families, are we right?

A world premiere comedy! Steph has typical mid-life woes on her plate: a precocious daughter about to graduate high school and an absentee father who just moved in, who may or may not be faking dementia. Oh, and did we mention she has a little bit of cancer? Steph has ulterior motives for letting in her dad and a grand scheme to pull it off. When the family gathers for a birthday party with a hidden agenda, they’re forced to confront the truths they’ve been too afraid to acknowledge. The 2022 winner of the Jackie Demaline playwriting competition, this world premiere comedy hilariously reflects on how families aren’t always well matched.

Run time: ~2 hr with one intermission

Content warning: As Steph and her family navigate hard truths and schemes, they use adult language and mentions of sexual relationships. Steph and (possibly) her father are dealing with serious health conditions, and cancer and Alzheimer’s are heavily discussed, albeit with a healthy dose of levity and humor.

You'll love this show if you love...

  • Dysfunctional family dynamics full of secrets and schemes
  • Seeing brand new works and supporting local playwrights
  • Clever and hilarious dialogue that’s nonstop
  • Finding humor in bad situations
  • Shows about learning to rely on each other and opening up to loved ones
  • Relatable, complex characters whose bad choices you love to see snowball
  • Laughing so hard it hurts!

Similar ETC shows:

  • Grand Horizons by Bess Wohl
  • Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire
  • The Humans by Stephen Karam


Similar titles:

  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • The Big Sick (Lionsgate)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (Searchlight)

Creative team

A 30s white man with grown hair smirking at the camera

Steven Strafford

Steven Strafford

Events & Accessibility

Several people in theirs 20s and 30s around a restaurant table smiling at the cameraShow Up! Young Professionals Event

Saturday, April 10 at 2:00 pm

Join other Young Professionals (at a special YP price) for the performance then walk to a nearby bar or restaurant to mingle and discuss the show over discounted drinks and bites.

A yellow speech bubble graphicETC Essentials

Sunday, April 28 at 1:00 pm

Dive even deeper into each show with a FREE conversations series that explores our productions’ themes and context with local scholars and community members. These start an hour before show time, and registration is recommended.

""Meet the Artists

Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 pm | Sunday, April 28 at 2:00 pm

Stay after the show for a FREE post-show behind-the-scenes discussion with artists from the production.


American Sign LanguageASL-Interpreted Performance

Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 pm

Interpreters perform a translation of the play into ASL alongside the performance in a position with great sightlines to see both the action of the play and the interpreters.

Ask for an assistive listening device at any performance from our box office.

Audio Described PerformanceAudio Described Performance

Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 pm

Patrons can use a headset for one ear to hear descriptions of key visual elements inserted into natural pauses in the show, allowing patrons to still hear dialogue, sound effects, and music.

Ask for large print or Braille playbills at any performance from our box office.

Photo credits | First Timer’s Guide, Brooke Steele in The Frog Princess; Ticket Info, Bryant Bentley, Burgess Byrd, and Leslie Goddard-Baum in Detroit ’67 (Mikki Schaffner); Subscriptions, Cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Ticket Discounts, Torie Wiggins in Your Negro Tour Guide. All images by Ryan Kurtz unless otherwise noted.