ReDiscovery Reading Series
Building the next generation of classics.
The ReDiscovery Series introduces audiences to new adaptations and great but lesser-known classic plays under consideration for STC’s mainstage seasons. Written by notable playwrights and performed by some of D.C.’s most talented actors, these one-night-only readings are often the first step in bringing a new adaptation or an under-produced classic back into the spotlight worldwide. Every ReDiscovery reading concludes with a post-show panel featuring artists, scholars and esteemed community members.
Now in its 26th season, the ReDiscovery Series is more committed than ever to introducing our audience to new voices through classic works.
The 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Series
Directed by Seema Sueko, Deputy Artistic Director, Arena Stage
In a modern take on Macbeth, two Asian-American twins have worked their whole life to get into The College, only to be rejected in favor of their classmate. So they decide to kill him.
Taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s tragedy of murderous ambition, the play examines the pressures placed on 21st-century teenagers in a culture of cutthroat competition. Dark and frothy, graphic and absurd, Peerless is a John Hughes movie with Shakespearean scope.
Directed by Natsu Onoda Power, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
This dramatic retelling of the true story of the Sarah “Saartjie” Baartmann, the late 18th-century “Venus Hottentot,” just might be Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’s masterpiece—and a modern classic. In Venus, an African woman is enticed to Europe with promises of fame and fortune, but ends up trapped between serving as a carnival freak show and a subject in a medical amphitheater, an exhibition in both life and death.
Grounding her virtuosic command of language in a recognizable time and place, Parks creates a period piece rich with implications for our contemporary culture. In an era when stories about race, gender, sexuality and political liberty dominate the conversation, Parks illuminates them in all their intersectionality.
Directed by Craig Baldwin, Artistic Associate, Shakespeare Theatre Company
When a young Mexican woman and her brother cross the Rio Grande to find their father, they instead encounter a young man who has grown up alone, imprisoned on an island. Soon, all are thrust into a world where dream and reality are inseparable. Inspired by Calderón’s Life is a Dream, the bones of the Spanish Golden Age classic remain, but the Rio Grande looms large both as myth and metaphor in Solis’s modern retelling.
Written for Dallas Theater Center during the George W. Bush era, Dreamlandia’s observations about Mexican-American relations, immigration and capitalism have only become more prescient. With aspects of magic realism that connect to Latinx culture and history, Solis’s piece dives into the borderlands between seductive illusion and crushing reality.
Directed by Nicole A Watson
In Arlington, Virginia during the 1990s, a highly educated black man was viciously beaten by police after being pulled over for a broken taillight, and the disturbing incident led Adrienne Kennedy and her son to collaborate on an autobiographical drama. The OBIE Award-winning play for Best New American Play, Sleep Deprivation Chamber reads now like a premonition of today’s pervasive climate of violence, masterfully interweaving a suspenseful docudrama with the black experience of 20th-century America.
Sleep Deprivation Chamber was originally directed by Michael Kahn in 1996 for Signature Theatre in New York. A sequel of sorts to Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (also directed by Michael Kahn, and one of the founding texts of the Off-Broadway movement), Kennedy’s play allows us to measure how far we’ve come and how much has remained the same.
Directed by Joseph Ritsch, Producing Artistic Director, Rep Stage
For Pride Month, the Shakespeare Theatre Company will close its 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Series with one of the earliest depictions of gay life on the American stage: a 1927 melodrama about the murder of a closeted gay man who is married to the daughter of a famous gay conversion therapist. Written by the outrageous performer Mae West, the play is complete with a raucous drag ball that featured West herself as a guest.
The reading will be followed by a post-show discussion with the director, actors and experts from across the LGBTQ+ community here in Washington, D.C.
Thanks to the Members who support ReDiscovery and New Works.