Forum Theatre’s 2012-2013 season will consist of four plays so fresh that none of them were performed before 2010 and the world premiere which will open the season – Kara Lee Corthron’s Holly Down In Heaven – is only the second-newest piece. Natsu Onoda Power (Astro Boy and the god of comics) will close the season with a play which hasn’t even been written yet.
The grandfather of the group is Bill Cain’s 9 Circles, Jennifer Nelson directing, which will run from February 7 to March 2 of next year. In 9 Circles, war is hell – specifically, the nine circles of Dante’s Inferno, as a young American soldier is being tried in a civilian court for having done something very, very bad in Iraq. We don’t know what it is, and he doesn’t know why it’s bad, but we learn over about a hundred minutes of theater. Cain received the Steinberg Award for best play to open outside of New York in 2010 for 9 Circles, just as he had received the same award for 2009 for Equivocation, which played at Arena last November.
From 9 Circles to the Lower 9: from May 23 to June 15, 2013, Forum will perform the Derek Goldman-directed Clementine in the Lower Nine, Dan Dietz’s play about a family attempting to recover itself in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Like Bill Cain, Mr. Dietz uses a classical story to reinforce the struggle of his characters – in this case, the tale of Agamemnon. (He was the Greek King who led armies against Troy after Paris abducted Helen and who was slaughtered when he returned – in some accounts, by his wife, in others, by his wife’s lover). Dietz’s Jaffy is no King, but his return to his ruined home after Katrina – well, Broadway World’s Linda Hodges says, “Only the epic nature of a Greek tragedy, which gives intimate form to universal truths, would suffice.” Recognizing that Greek tragedies require a chorus, Dietz script a blues quartet into the play.
Michael Dove will direct the world premiere of Holly Down in Heaven, which will run from September 28 to October 20 of this year. The Kara Lee Corthron play, which has been in workshops since 2008, tells the story of a bright, spoiled, bratty, fifteen-year-old born-again Christian who plays with dolls and won’t leave the basement – and she’s pregnant. Corthron won a 2008 Princess Grace Award for this script.
Finally, in July of next year, Power will work with the Forum Ensemble to devise a new work, which she will direct. What it’s about, who’s in it, what happens – sorry, no clue.
The Forum Theatre is in residence at Round House Silver Spring, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD. Subscriptions are now available.