A play about a private school – in rhyme. A Shakespeare classic – live, and broadcast on WAMU. A musical – in American sign language. A Christmas Carol – in Klingon.
Nobody expected that WSC Avant Bard, which describes itself as ‘Theatre on the Edge’ would make their twenty-fifth season an easy one. As Artistic Director Tom Prewitt puts it “Provocative innovation is our sweet spot.”
The Arlington, VA-based company – made homeless when Artisphere suddenly made its venue unavailable to the company in 2012 – will open its season with a world premiere of Visible Language, which describes the conflict between two pioneers in deaf education about how deaf folks ought to be taught to communicate. The musical features appearances by Alexander Graham Bell, Edward Miner Gallaudet, first lady Carrie Harrison and a young woman named Helen Keller. Co-produced with Gallaudet University, Visible Language will run from October 21 to November 16, 2014, at Gallaudet’s Eastman Studio Theatre.
On November 4 of this year, WSC Avant Bard will reprise its enormously successful Fall Fringe show, Mickie Mahler’s There Is A Happiness That Morning Is. Happiness, about which DC Theatre Scene said, “They weren’t reciting, they were acting, their passions inciting equal reactions in the audience, who were fighting back tears, and in so doing igniting a Blakeian flow of loving joy, perhaps not yet ended, which is why I’m giving this ‘highly recommended.”, is scheduled for production at Theatre on the Run November 4 until November 23.
On a yet-to-be-determined date in December, WSC Avant Bard will produce a staged reading of A Christmas Carol in Klingon, the language of Star Trek’s alien warriors. Of course, to some degree the company will alter the story to fit the language: “Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate?”
The company begins the New Year by taking on Othello, which WSC Avant Bard Artistic Director Tom Prewitt describes as “The only major Shakespearean tragedy not yet performed by Avant Bard.” Prewitt will direct the racially-charged play, which will run from February 3 to March 1 of next year at Theatre on the Run in Arlington. At some point – date uncertain – Avant Bard, in conjunction with Lean and Hungry Theatre, will do a live broadcast of the play at Artisphere, for listeners of WAMU.
WSC Artistic Director emeritus Christopher Henley will direct The Madwoman of Chaillot, scheduled for production at the Gunston Theatre. Madwoman is the story of an impecunious noble who thwarts the schemes of avaricious corporations to mine oil underneath the streets of Paris. Madwoman will run from June 2 to 28, 2015.
Tickets will be available from WSC Avant Bard.