Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two New Season Announcements

A few local theatres have announced their seasons, and they look pretty interesting.

Remy Bumppo has announced a three-show slate:

Fall will see Tom Stoppard's translation of Gerald Sibeyras' Heroes, about three World War I veterans in an old-age home in 1959. I don't knw the play, but it was successful in London and is about to open Off-Broadway. With a cast of David Darlow, Mike Nussbaum, and Roderick Peeples, it looks like an actor's showcase first and foremost. Could be fun.

Winter brings Athol Fugard's The Island, about two men in a South African prison, whose friendship is tested when one gains an early release, which Fugard created in collaboration with the original stars, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. The cast hasn't been announced, but it looks like another real actor's show.

I'm most excited about the spring show, though--Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Choderlos do Laclos' French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, made into the film Dangerous Liaisons. I have a real weakness for clever people in gorgeous clothes doing horrible horrible things to each other, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses is pretty much the best of that genre. Since Remy Bumppo tends to focus on plays with witty language, I have high hopes for this production.

Meanwhile, at Writer's up in Glencoe, Chris Jones' blog announces a very interesting, if slightly less risky than usual, season. Most exciting for me is Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a show I once had the privilege of doing, and which is lots of fun while still being intellectually formidable. They will also feature Oh! Coward, a revue of Noel Coward's songs--interesting, as Northlight did their own Coward revue only a few seasons back. The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood, directed by Ron O. J. Parsons, will also be onstage--I sadly don't know this one, but it's always been successful when it's been done. The biggest story of the Writers' season, of course, is the return of Chicago's own David Cromer, whose Our Town just opened Off-Broadway and who will be directing Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound in repertory on Broadway in the fall. He'll be directing Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire--I bet that Chicago's actors will be fighting over parts in that one.

2009-10 looks to be pretty exciting so far--we'll see how things go!


Hank.Browne said...

Your optimism about Remy Bumppo's season is very much shared.

I had the good fortune of being present at a reading of "Heroes" at Remy Bumppo and I assure you it will be a hoot, especially with this cast.

And you are right about the language: after all, it was adapated by Tom Stoppard.

Fugard's "Island" will hit me personally because I have recently returned from Robben Island. Although the play suggests Robben Island, that is not the actual venue as I understand it.

Once at Robben Island you can never forget it. And Fugard's passion about apartheid is palpable.

"Les Liaisons Dangereuses" seems to be based upon the original Laclos play while the movie "Dangerous Liaisons" appears to have been based on the play by Hampton.

What is sure is that all of this has been remounted in at least three big movies (including "Valmont") and even a porn movie!!

This play has got to be a block buster and the talk of the Chicago season.

Zev Valancy said...

To be clear: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos wrote the novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" in 1782, to great success. It has been adapted frequently, including Christopher Hampton's 1985 play, which Remy Bumppo is doing. That play was adapted in turn for the fantastic 1988 Stephen Frears film "Dangerous Liaisons," which starred Glenn Close and John Malkovich. "Valmont," "Cruel Intentions," and the porn were all based, to varying degrees, on the novel, not the play.