Holdridge, Vreeke, Goldman and Serotsky scheduled to direct; Lawton play to have its world premiere
Two acclaimed dramas from Israel will highlight Theater J’s 2012-2013 season. The company will stage Savyon Liebrecht’s Apples from the Desert from December 15, 2012 until January 6, 2013 and Boged: an Enemy of the People, co-authored by Return to Haifa adapter Boaz Gaon from January 12 to February 3. The two plays will constitute this year’s Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival and will be part of a eight production schedule that will include plays from Annie Baker (author of Circle Mirror Transformation), David Mamet, Jacqueline Lawton (whose play Blood-Bound and Tongue-Tied just closed at The Strand in Baltimore), and Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth.
The season will begin with Baker’s Body Awareness, in which disruption comes to a politically exquisitely correct New England college town. A psychology professor and her partner, who is the mother of a young man who may have Asperger’s Syndrome, invite a photographer into their home as a part of the college’s Body Awareness Week. They are apparently unaware that the photographer specializes in the female nude, at all stages of life and in all sorts of physical conditions. The play, which the New York Times called “consciousness-befuddling,” will run from August 25 to September 23 of this year, and Eleanor Holdridge will direct.
Theater J will then tackle Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s highly-charged Our Class, which examines the massacre of sixteen hundred Polish Jews in the town of Jedwabne in 1941. Historians have recently acknowledged that the local population, rather than German occupiers, were responsible for the slaughter, and Slobodzianek examines heroes and villains in miniature not only at the moment of the massacre but over an eighty-year span which brings us to the present day. Georgetown’s Derek Goldman will direct this production, which will run from October 10 to November 4.
From November 8 to December 2, Theater J will be celebrating the work of folk artist Woody Guthrie in Woody Sez: the Words, Music and Sprit of Woody Guthrie. The work, a collaboration among five writers, mixes Guthrie’s music with words from his outspokenly liberal newspaper column. The London Guardian called it “A high spirited celebration.”
Apples from the Desert is Liebrecht’s adaptation – and translation – of her own short story of the same name, and re-clothes a familiar story in modern garb. An ultra-religious family, headed by a dogmatic, controlling father, is scandalized by their headstrong daughter’s decision to live with her secular lover on a kibbutz. Apples from the Desert won Israel’s Best Play Award in 2006. Johanna Gruenhut will direct.
Boged: An Enemy of the People, which Gaon co-wrote with Nir Erez, riffs on Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. A growing industrial town in the South of Israel is beset by a chemical leak. The Mayor is quick to pronounce the problem solved, but the Mayor’s brother, a doctor, discovers that chemical pollution is threatening the nation’s water supply. His persistence in bringing truth to power threatens his reputation and livelihood. Goldman returns to direct this play.
David Mamet’s latest follows the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. First seen locally at the 2011 CATF festival, Race, an intense four-actor foray into America’s most persistent problem, observes two top-flight lawyers – one Caucasian, one African-American – as they try to suss out a defense for a white millionaire accused of raping a black woman. In devising their defense, they lean heavily on the resources of a bright young associate, an African-American woman. The New York Times called this “Scalpel-edged…a topical detective story”. John Vreeke directs this production, which will run from February 7 to March 17.
Theater J will top off the season with two plays by local artists. Ari Roth’s Andy and the Shadows, in which a man tries to understand how his parents survived the Holocaust by making triumphant movies about their experiences but discovers the truth to be a little more slippery than he had hoped, runs from April 3 to 28. Daniella Topol will direct.
And Theater J will end its season with the world premiere of Jacqueline Lawton’s The Hampton Years, which will examine the art of John Biggers and Samella Lewis, two African-American artists who studied under the Austrian Jewish refugee painter Viktor Lowenfeld at the Hampton Institute. Shirley Serotsky will direct the production, which will run from May 29, 2013 to June 30.
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