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MICHAEL KAHN KICKS OFF THE 2017–2018 SEASON WITH A DOUBLE BILL OF SHORT PLAYS BY HAROLD PINTER
Building on the critical success of his 2011 production of Harold Pinter’s Old Times, STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn will return to the British playwright’s gripping realm of doubt and disquiet to direct a double bill of short plays. The Lover and The Collection will run from September 26–October 29 at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW).
The plays explore how we construct our own realities, which truths we tell and which lies we choose to believe. In The Collection, a jealous husband confronts a rival, whom his wife may or may not have met. In The Lover, a married couple calmly plans for their scheduled infidelities. In Pinter’s darkly comic world of revealing silences and pregnant pauses, the characters and the audience never know quite where they stand, embracing reality and fantasy with equal conviction.
With a career that spanned more than 50 years and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter is considered to be one of the most influential and poetic dramatists of his generation.
“I’m looking forward to bringing the intrigue, danger and dark humor of Pinter’s signature style back to the Lansburgh,” said Kahn. “Both plays were written separately during the early years of his career, but the themes that unite them are so clear that they are perfectly paired for the stage. Both plays explore the balance of power in relationships, the attempt to separate lies from truth and people’s insistence on clinging to their version of reality. I hope the plays generate a conversation on the way home from the theatre.”
Joining the cast of both plays and making their STC debuts are Irish actors Nick Lee and Lisa Dwan and American actor Patrick Ball. Broadway actor Jack Koenig will return to the Company to join the cast of The Collection.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Michael Kahn has directed a wide variety of Shakespearean and classical works for STC, including last season’s The School For Lies as well as The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, The Metromaniacs, a repertory of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, Wallenstein, The Government Inspector, Strange Interlude, The Heir Apparent, Old Times, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Liar, Richard II, The Alchemist, Design for Living, The Way of the World, and many more. Having brought international works like Headlong’s 1984, The National Theatre of Scotland’s Dunsinane and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart and Théâtre de l’Atelier’s Les Liaisons Dangereuse to the theatre, Kahn continues to demonstrate the versatility and relevance of STC’s theatre programming with this season’s productions. In 1991, he created the Free For All, which brings an STC production to audiences completely free of charge every year. In addition to leading STC, he is also the founder of the Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University and the former Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard. Since the 1960s, Kahn’s work has been seen by audiences across the country and the world: in New York City, both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at both the American Shakespeare Theatre and the McCarter Theatre where he served as Artistic Director concurrently. In 2003, STC performed his production of The Oedipus Plays at the Athens Festival in Greece, where it received standing ovations and critical acclaim. In the summer of 2006, the Company took Kahn’s production of Love’s Labor’s Lost to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Complete Works Festival” in Stratford-upon-Avon. Kahn was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2013 and has been recognized as an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
ABOUT THE CAST
Patrick Ball (John/Bill) STC debut. REGIONAL: Rep of St. Louis: All My Sons; Triad Stage: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Illusion, Dial M for Murder, Fashionistas: A Narcissistic Love Story; Theatre Aspen: Sex with Strangers; Barrington Stage Company: Shining City; Theatreworks Hartford: Sex with Strangers; Dangerous Grounds Productions: The Most Important Thing, Love, Solaris; Theatre Masters: The Logic, Celebration of Life, The House that Blew Down. TELEVISION: The Leftovers. FILM: Sugar!, Penelope, Cheerleader. TRAINING: University of North Carolina- Greensboro.
Lisa Dwan (Sarah/Stella), STC debut. Most recently Dwan completed an Irish premiere of a one-woman production of her own adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s 1950’s prose text No’s Knife at The Old Vic Theatre London, Abbey Theatre Dublin, and will tour the USA in 2018. Prior to this Dwan has performed all over the world in “The Beckett Trilogy” of Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby. (Royal Court, West End, The Barbican Centre, The Southbank Centre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Paramount Theatre in Boston, Skirball Center NYC, The Broad in Los Angeles, Perth Festival, Paris, Hong Kong, Berlin, Toronto, Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and a sell-out UK Tour.) Other recent theatre includes: title role of Anna Karenina in a new adaptation by Marina Carr for The Abbey Theatre Dublin, Shining City (Off-Broadway, Irish Repertory Theatre), Text for Nothing (White Light Festival, Lincoln Center), Not I (Royal Court Theatre London), Beside the Sea (Southbank Center London), Margot, Diary of an Unhappy Queen (Barbican London), The Journey Between Us (Southwark Playhouse London), Ramin Gray’s production of Illusions by Ivan Viripaev (Bush Theatre London), Not I (Southbank Theatre London), Dear Bessie: Letters Live with Benedict Cumberbatch (Hay Festival and West End), The Soldiers Tale (Hay Festival), Not I (BAC London), The Importance of Being Earnest (Irish tour), The History of the World at 3am (Andrews Lane Dublin) and As You Like It (Galway Arts Festival). FILM: Trust by Danny Boyle (upcoming), An Afterthought, Walt Disney’s Oliver Twist, The Tailor of Panama and Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain. TELEVISION: Ovid (BBC), Not I (Sky Arts), Rock Rivals (ITV), Big Bow Wow, Fair City (RTÉ), Mystic Knights (Fox). Lisa is currently a fellow at the School of Art and Ballet at NYU and a 2017-2018 distinguished artist in residence at Columbia University, where she is developing a new theatre piece with Colm Toibin.
Nick Lee (Richard /James) STC Debut. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Lincoln Center: DruidSynge. REGIONAL: Guthrie Theater: DruidSynge. INTERNATIONAL: Young Vic (London): The Changeling, National Theater (London): Juno and the Paycock, Tricycle (London): The Dead School, Barbican (London): Delirium, Finborough (London): The Freedom of the City, Abbey (Dublin): The Passing, Three Sisters and Juno and the Paycock. Druid (Galway): The Playboy of the Western World, DruidSynge, The Year of the Hiker. Gaiety (Dublin): Dubliners. FILM: Love Rosie, Lovin’ Bonnie, Traders, Pickups, Omagh, The Witness, Standby. TELEVISION: Play by Play, Reign, The Fall, Jack Taylor, Moonfleet, Undeniable, Single-Handed, Love/Hate, Trial of the Century, Raw, Trivia, Bachelors Walk. TRAINING: Trinity College Dublin: Bachelor Acting Studies.
Jack Koenig (Harry) STC: Mandragola. NEW YORK: Broadway: Oslo, The Lion King, The Pitmen Painters, Accent on Youth; Off-Broadway: Tabletop (Drama Desk Award), Incident at Vichy, Marco Polo Sings a Solo, The Cocktail Party, The Grand Manner, Big Bill, Everett Beekin, Three Days of Rain, The American Plan, Not About Heroes. REGIONAL: The Old Globe: A Doll’s House; Pioneer: Laughing Stock, A Christmas Story; Westport Country Playhouse: Rough Crossing, Battle of Angels; Virginia Stage: A Moon for the Misbegotten, Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; GeVa, Peterborough Players, Repertory of St. Louis, others. FILM: National Treasure, I.Q., others. TELEVISION: Boardwalk Empire, Gotham, The Blacklist, Madoff, Forever, Unforgettable, Law & Order, Sex and the City, others. Member: TACT.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Harold Pinter was born in 1930 in East London to a Jewish family. During World War II, he was evacuated from his boyhood home to the countryside, a separation experience that deeply affected him. After the war, under the influence of teachers and friends, he began to act in plays and write, publishing his first poetry in a school magazine at 17. After high school, Pinter attended several drama schools off and on. After finally dropping out, he spent most of the 1950s acting with regional repertory companies across England, using the stage name David Baron. During this time, Pinter met, married and had a son with the actress Vivien Merchant. In 1957, Pinter’s childhood friend Henry Woolf mentioned that he needed a play to direct, and Pinter responded by writing The Room in only three days. From this first play, the hallmarks of what would later be called the “Pinteresque” style were already present: menace in the most mundane discussion, a shifting recollection of the past and the use of a portentous pause. A young producer offered to present Pinter’s next play at London’s Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. The resulting play, The Birthday Party, closed almost immediately. Pinter finally found success as a playwright beginning in 1960 with The Caretaker, the story of the troubled relationship between two brothers and a mysterious homeless man. After writing several short plays, Pinter produced what many consider his masterpiece: 1964’s The Homecoming, another lacerating family drama. The play triumphed in London and on Broadway.
Pinter’s middle period saw him turn to the subject of memory, even as he faced turmoil in his personal life. In 1971’s Old Times, he examined the recollected pasts of three people, demonstrating how unreliable memory can be. After affairs led to the painful dissolution of his marriage to Vivien Merchant in 1975, he wrote about an affair in Betrayal. In an audacious experiment with form, the play’s scenes proceeded in reverse chronological order. Pinter emerged from this time with a strong marriage to Antonia Fraser, to whom he remained devoted for the rest of his life. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Pinter wrote increasingly for the screen, including the 1981 film The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Debra Booth is Director of Design at Studio Theatre in Washington DC where her work includes; Privates on Parade, The Shape of Things, Far Away, A Number, Caroline or Change, Fat Pig, Russian National Postal Service, This Beautiful City, Road to Mecca, Blackbird, Afterplay, Moonlight, Adding Machine, Reasons to Be Pretty, Circle Mirror Transformation, Constellations, The Father and many others. She has designed many stage productions both regionally and internationally including the world premiere operas, Marco Polo, and The Hindenburg. Her regional work includes; This Beautiful City for the Humana Festival at the Actors Theater of Louisville, Lost Boys of the Sudan for the Minneapolis Children’s Theater, I Just Stopped By to See the Man, for Milwaukee Rep. Debra has also worked with the Actors Studio in New York on the Salomé and Oedipus projects directed by Estelle Parsons and Al Pacino with, Dianne Wiest, Marissa Tomei and Al Pacino among others.
Lighting Designer Mary Louise Geiger DC credits include Invisible Man which she won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. Studio Theatre, Time Stands Still. New York: Broadway: The Constant Wife. Off-Broadway: X and Julius Caesar; Liar; Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Forever, Oedipus at Palm Springs, My Mother Has 4 Noses, The Morini Strad, Olive And The Bitter Herbs, Buffalo Gal, Good Television, The New York Idea, Kindness, Blue Door, The Busy World Is Hushed, Finn, Mabou Mine’s Dollhouse, RedBeads and Violet Fire. Regional Theatre includes productions at ACT Theatre, Alley Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, GeVa Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Portland Stage Company, Virginia Stage Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre; LA Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra.
Legendary Costume Designer Jane Greenwood is a celebrated two-time Tony winner, nominated 21 times and had won a Lifetime Award before she won for her most recent show The Little Foxes. Her credits with STC include, The Way of the World, Mourning Becomes Electra and The Winter’s Tale. New York credits include more than 100 Broadway and Off-Broadway credits including A View from the Bridge, Waiting for Godot, Thurgood, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Receptionist, Trumpery, Heartbreak House, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, On Golden Pond, A Delicate Balance, A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Master Class, Passion, The Heiress, The Sisters Rosenweig, Plenty, The Ballad of the Sad Café, Burton’s Hamlet, Vita and Virginia, Sylvia and The Lisbon Traviata. Her Opera credits include: Metropolitan Opera, Dialogue of the Carmelites and The Great Gatsby. Film work includes Arthur, Can’t Stop the Music and Glengarry Glen Ross. Sound Designer Veronica J. Lancaster Regional credits include: Baltimore Center Stage, That Face; Metro Stage, Uprising, Anne & Emmett (original production and tour); Theater J, Boged: An Enemy of the People; Rorschach Theatre, Neverwhere, Glassheart and Kit Marlowe; WSC Avant Bard, Friendship Betrayed, Orlando and Night & Day; Studio Theatre, Sucker Punch; Pasadena Playhouse, The Lady With All The Answers; Kirk Douglas Theatre, Venice.
Assistant Director Craig Baldwin worked on The School for Lies, The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound and The Metromaniacs with Kahn. His other STC credits include The Tempest (2016 Free For All), The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, The Tempest. New York credits include; 59E59: C.O.A.L. (Confessions of a Liar); New York International Fringe Festival: Magic Kingdom and The More Loving One (FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award: Best Overall Production/Play).
Resident Production Stage Manager Joseph Smelser’s credits for STC include The School For Lies, King Charles III, The Secret Garden, The Taming of the Shrew, The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound (also at Guthrie Theater), Kiss Me, Kate, Tartuffe, Man of La Mancha, The Tempest (Mainstage, 2016 Free For All), A Winter’s Tale (2014 Free For All), Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (in rep), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Measure for Measure, Wallenstein and Coriolanus (in rep), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mainstage, 2015 Free For All), The Government Inspector and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Regional credits include: Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Rounding out the artistic team are: Rebecca Shipman, Assistant Stage Manager, Resident Casting Director Carter C. Wooddell; Literary Manager and Dramaturg Drew Litchenberg and Head of Voice & Text Lisa Beley.
THE PRODUCTION SPONSOR
The Lover and The Collection is sponsored by the Robert and Arlene Kogod Family Foundation. Asia Nine is the restaurant partner.
ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY
Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation’s leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre—ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes—for all audiences.
A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free for All. For the past 25 years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members.
Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.