A play written at the dawn of the 17th century and one written at the dawn of the 21st will bookend the second full season for Silver Spring’s 4615 Theatre, the company announced Sunday night.
The new play is the world premiere of Joe Calarco’s Separate Rooms, in which, according to the company, a dead man “guides us through his past and present, as his apartment fills to the brim with family, friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers. As the guests grapple, both with his loss and with each other, the action weaves from room to room, jumping through time by minutes and years.”
Calarco, a DC-based playwright and director whose Shakespeare’s R& J and Walter Cronkite is Dead won critical acclaim when they played here, says “I was so, so, impressed with how [4615 Artistic Director] Jordan [Friend] and 4615 Theater Company came out of the gate running. It’s not easy, and they have continued to enhance D.C.’s rich theater community by pushing the envelope with the work they’re doing, so I couldn’t be more thrilled that they’re producing the world premiere of my play.” Separate Rooms will run from February 22 to March 17 of next year, climaxing 4615’s season; Friend will direct.
4615 will begin its season with a ghost story of a different sort — Macbeth, William Shakespeare’s classic drama about a man who believed too much in his own press clippings. Macbeth, a mercilessly efficient soldier, is informed by three witches that he will become a King, and decides, along with his wife, to help the prophesy along by killing the sitting King, and thereafter all potential rivals. Some scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth to flatter the new King of England, James I, who believed (incorrectly) that he was a descendant of Banquo, the man the witches prophesied would be the father of Kings. Whether this supposition is true or not, the play has certainly lasted beyond James’ time. Macbeth, which Friend will also direct, will feature an original score and run from July 27 to August 19, 2018.
Next up will be Moira Buffini’s Dinner, which The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer calls “the most disastrous dinner party since the Macbeths had the thanes round to supper.” In it, Paige throws a dinner party to celebrate the publication of her husband’s puerile self-help book, which advises people to do whatever the heck they want. Her guests are an artist who has just been dumped by her MP boyfriend after she exhibited a portrait of his genitals; a microbiologist, and his wife, a TV reporter. Paige eviscerates them all, but especially her husband, who hands it back with equal verve. If this sounds like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, be advised that murder is also involved. Spencer calls it “a cracking black comedy that has you laughing uproariously one moment and jumping with shock the next.” From August 3-25 of this year; Stevie Zimmerman will direct.
4615 will close out the 2018 portion of its season with Venus in Fur, David Ives’ incendiary story about a playwright and director who wants to tell Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s (after whom “masochism” is named) story about Severin von Kusiemsk, who was a — well, a masochist. Poor Severin feels compelled to submit himself to Wanda von Dunajew, but can the playwright find the right woman to play Wanda? In to audition — late — is Vanda, who seems like a disheveled mess but turns out to be…Wandaful. DCTS called it “subtle, brilliant, precise” in this review of a production at Studio Theatre. From October 25 to November 28, 2018. Clare Shaffer will direct; Separate Rooms follows.