The Quotidian Theatre way-back machine will be in full operation this season, as the company’s four-play season starts in the present (or near-present) and catapults us back in time, landing eventually in Elizabethan England.
Quotidian opens with two one-actor plays in rep, Horton Foote’s A Coffin in Egypt and Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas. In A Coffin in Egypt, the nonagenarian Myrtle Bledsoe (Jane Squier Bruns) rages against her long-dead husband and the waste of her own gifts. “‘A Coffin in Egypt’clicks,” said Alvin Klein of the New York Times in a 1998 review. (While I mentioned this was for one actor, Foote gives a single line to another.)
In St. Nicholas, Steve Beall plays a theater critic who deals with the things typical in a critic’s life — bad theater, good theater, unreasonably attractive actors, mendacious producers, and vampires. Brett Steven Abelman, reviewing a recent Washington Stage Guild production of the play for DCTS, called it “a wicked comedy of middle-aged pompousness and comeuppance, [and] a fresh angle on the ever-popular vampire tale.”
Jack Sbarboni directs both shows, which will run from November 15 to December 17, 2017.
Quotidian steps into the 19th century — more specifically to Hobson’s Choice and 1880 England, where bootmaker Henry Hobson runs a sweatshop which features the unpaid labor of his three daughters. Hobson wields an iron hand in Harold Brighouse’s comedy, but eventually his daughters — aided by their society connections and the extraordinary bootmaking skills of Hobson’s timid apprentice — turn the tables on him. Hobson’s Choice has proven remarkably durable over the years, with dozens of revivals, including a 1920 silent film and a 2014 revival in the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, England, which the Guardian’s Alfred Hickling called “the perfect amalgamation of Cinderella and King Lear.” From February 16 to March 11 of next year; David Dubov will direct.
After that, Quotidian steps further into the past with Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream. You know what happens in that one (boy meets girl, boy hates girl, fairy sprinkles love dust on boy, boy loves girl, and so on) but the Quotidian production transports the setting to a Regency drawing room in rural Ireland, complete with Irish music and the poetry of William Butler Yeats. Co-directors Leah Mazade (who also appears in the show) and Stephanie Mumford have done the adaptation, with an assist from Folger dramaturg Michele Osherow. In addition to Mazade, Midsummer Night’s Dream will feature Grant Cloyd, David Dubov, Ian Blackwell Rogers, Laura Russell, Alyssa Sanders, and Addison Switzer. The dates and venue are yet to be determined (Quotidian’s traditional home, the Bethesda Writer’s Center, will be undergoing renovations) but Quotidian will stage it at the old Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, MD.
Now in its 20th season, Quotidian produces this look back on some of its outstanding productions and performances. How many actors can you identify?