Compass Rose Theater, from their intimate Annapolis, MD space, will be offering a 2017-2018 season which will examine large issues, historical turning points, and the yearning of people for freedom, truth, and security. Plus romance.
What does this remind you of? A man meets two women, falls in love with one but gets their names mixed up. His father then announces that he has set up a marriage to the woman that the man loves, but because he’s gotten the names mixed up he pretends that he’s already married to get out of the setup. Then his best friend says that he’s in love with the man’s beloved, but since the man has the names mixed up, he thinks it’s great. If you’re saying “the current Federal government” we would be of the same mind, but we’d be wrong. This is the plot for The Liar, Pierre Cornielle’s 1655 farce, and it will open the Compass Rose season on September 8, 2017 and run until October 8 of this year.
Truth and fiction get an examination of a different sort in Compass Rose’s next production, Inherit the Wind, a thinly-fictionalized version of the real trial of the (last) century, the Scopes Monkey Trial. In real life, the famed trial lawyer Clarence Darrow enlisted in the defense of a young man accused of teaching the theory of evolution to his science class, in contravention of Tennessee law. His opponent: three-time presidential candidate and renowned orator William Jennings Bryan. The most lively accounts of their encounter were all written by the acidulous uberjournalist, H.L. Mencken. Darrow, Bryan and Mencken all appear in fictional form in this play, and most of the events are true to life. Co-authors Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee claimed that they wrote the play as a cautionary note during the McCarthy era’s war on truth, but of course nothing like that is happening now. From October 27 to November 26, 2017.
Here’s another thing that’s not happening now: the persecution of a religious minority. But it was happening in Tevya’s time, and Russian anti-Semitism forms the backdrop for Compass Rose’s next production, Fiddler on the Roof. This richly-acclaimed musical, which won nine Tony Awards in 1965, brings us into the life of a milkman who longs to become a religious scholar (and would, too, if only he were a rich man!) but who instead watches as his daughters fall in love and marry. There are storm clouds of pogroms and revolution, but Tevye and his village will survive, if only for the length of the musical. From December 15 of this year until January 28 of the next.
Compass Rose’s next production is decidedly more contemporary: Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer-winning Disgraced. This is the story of an assimilated Muslim, about to enter a lucrative law partnership, who is called upon to defend an Imam accused of terrorism. Steve Dow of The Guardian called this play “taut, engrossing and powerful”. From February 16 to March 18, 2018.
Compass Rose will wrap up its 2017-2018 season with A Chorus Line, a story about the struggle of dancers to succeed on Broadway. With music from Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line won nine Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize. From April 6 to May 13 of next year.
Season tickets for Compass Rose are not yet available.