Round House Theatre will continue its traditional attention to classic literature during its 2011-2012 season, the Company has announced, producing adaptations of much-revered novels by Jane Austin, James Agee and Ray Bradbury. But it will also feature the world premiere of a take on the Odyssey by emerging playwright Jason Grey Platt, whose seek/strive/find provoked a stir in DC’s 2009 Inkwell Incubator festival.
Platt’s play, Crown of Shadows: the wake of odysseus focuses on the family Odysseus leaves behind and in particular the struggles of his son, Telemachus, to deal with his father’s absence and with the many suitors his mother, Penelope, has. The company promises “a shocking ending that can’t be found in Homer’s saga.” The play will run between April 11 and May 6 of next year.
The Round House season also features Ray Bradbury’s adaptation of his own best-known work, Fahrenheit 451 – a novel about a society in which books are routinely burned and people watch interactive reality shows on their enormous TVs. Although this may sound like a contemporary work, Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. Seven years later, Bradbury told the novelist Kingsley Amis:
“In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451, I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.” New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction (1960).
Fahrenheit 451 will run between September 7 and October 9 of 2011
The Round House season will also feature an area premiere of Joseph Hanreddy’s and J.R. Sullivan’s adaptation of Jane Austin’s acidic romance, Pride and Prejudice. The novel marked the emergence of strong female protagonists in literature about conventional English society, and Austin herself is widely regarded as the first female novelist of importance in the English-speaking world. The production will run between November 23 and the end of 2011.
Round House will also do some plays which are not adapted from novels next season, including the area premiere of the Outer Circle Critics Award-winning Next Fall. This is the tale about a deep love affair between two men, one of whom is fervently religious and the other of whom is a militant atheist. The play, which New York Times critic Ben Brantley, called an “artful, thoughtful and very moving story”, will run between February 1 and 26 of next year.
Emily Ackerman’s & KJ Sanchez’s ReEntry will run for twelve days between October 18 and 30 of 2011. Much like the excellent Black Watch, seen at the Shakespeare earlier this year, ReEntry is taken from the stories of the men and women who return from the Iraq war, culled through extensive interviews. Unlike Black Watch, however, the ReEntry playwrights interviewed the families of returning vets – in this case, American Marines – as well as the soldiers themselves. The company promises that the play “puts politics aside to probe the unvarnished, powerfully personal truths of those who serve and sacrifice.”
The Round House season concludes with David Pichette’s and R. Hamilton Wright’s adaptation of James Agee’s Double Indemnity. The play, which is receiving its East Coast debut, follows the machinations of a corrupt insurance agent as he schemes to assist a beautiful woman who wants to kill her husband for a large insurance payoff. This story, which Billy Wilder adapted as an acclaimed movie, will run from May 30 to June 24, 2012.
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