Round House’s 2013-2014 Season – it’s first under new Artistic Director Ryan Rilette – will feature five stories about powerful women in crisis, along with one of the great classics of the modern stage.
The classic is August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, the seventh of his series of ten “Pittsburgh Plays.” Set in 1969, it portrays the struggle of a small businessman who faces the demise of his restaurant either through urban decay or through the efforts of the Pittsburgh Urban Renewal Authority. Ellen Burkhardt of the Minnesota Monthly, reviewing a recent Penumbra Theatre production of the play, noted that “Two Trains Running defines a decade through carefully crafted and powerfully individualistic characters.” The play will run from April 2 to 27, 2014.
The Round House season will kick off with The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Martin McDonagh’s tragedy tells the story of a lonely spinster who lives with her manipulative mother in a cottage on the West Coast of Ireland. The daughter has an unexpected chance of love, and mom does everything she can to derail it. Jeremy Skidmore will direct this Drama Desk winner, which will run from August 21 to September 15 of this year.
Rilette will direct the company’s production of This, which will run from October 9 to November 3, 2013. This new play from Melissa James Gilbert, author of [Sic], is about a young widow who, exhausted by a year of pity, undertakes a flirtation with adultery, and disaster. Christopher Isherwood, writing for the New York Times, observed in 2009 that “Ms. Gibson graduates into the theatrical big leagues with this beautifully conceived, confidently executed and wholly accessible work, which is not just her finest to date but also the best new play to open Off Broadway this fall.”
Round House will follow This with The Lyons, a Nicky Silver story about a tough woman whose husband is dying of cancer, and who engages in a session of truth-telling with him and their two troubled children. The Times’ Ben Brantley called The Lyons “Mr. Silver’s best play since The Food Chain 16 years ago.” The Lyons will be directed by John Vreeke and run from November 27 to December 22 of this year.
Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar will open the new year for Round House, running from February 5 to March 2, 2014. Kate, an aspiring writer, having paid $5,000 for the privilege, opens her apartment to Leonard, a famous writer who will instruct her and three other students in his art. It does not go as well as she had hoped. David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter wrote that “Seminar is tight, witty and consistently entertaining, acquiring more muscle as the layers are peeled back to reveal both the scarred humanity and the numbness beneath Leonard’s soured exterior.” Jerry Whiddon will direct.
Matthew Gardiner will come in from Signature to direct the season-closing chamber musical, Ordinary Days. Adam Gwon’s nearly-sung-through work traces the travails of a young woman who has lost the notes for her dissertation about Virginia Woolf on a New York subway. When she meets the man who has found them, it provides a platform to expire what happens to people whose dreams are bigger than their lives. “Gwon reveals a gift for musicalizing everyday moments of emotional turmoil — those mini-breakdowns and almost-blowouts that nudge you to find if not a better life then a better way of coping with the one you’re stuck with,” Charles McNulty of the L.A. Times said, “the bright simplicity and madcap humor of ‘Ordinary Days’ make it a small-scale pleasure.” Ordinary Days will run from May 28 to June 22 of next year.
Round House Theatre is offering subscriptions to all six shows for $126 and three-show packages for $81. Details and tickets.