A Wild Ride Fueled by Wilde’s Incendiary Letter

Who: PlayMakers Repertory Company
What: PRC² workshop production of Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay’s “De Profundis”
When: January 11 to 15, 2017; Press Opening Night January 11
Where: Kenan Theatre, Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Road, Chapel Hill, NC
Tickets: Regular: $15-$48; Students: $10 with valid photo ID

(Chapel Hill, NC, December 15, 2016) PlayMakers Repertory Company is proud to present a workshop production of “De Profundis,” an original work being developed and directed by explosive theatre-makers Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay. “De Profundis” is inspired by Oscar Wilde’s letter of the same name, written during the final months of his incarceration in Reading Gaol. The production will star Nicole Villamil as the sole performer.

“De Profundis” is the second presentation in PlayMakers’ PRC² second stage series this season, a platform dedicated to new work from new angles and dialogue about important issues of our time. Unique to the PRC² stage, each performance will be followed by a “second act” conversation between the audience and members of the creative team, to illuminate and explore the play’s themes.

“We are very excited to bring the inspired, profound and madcap theatrical genius of Brian and Jim to PlayMakers,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director. “It will be thrilling to watch them stitch together a brilliant new and relevant story out of themes of gender identity, social justice and isolation voiced by Wilde more than a century ago. And our audiences will be an integral part of the play’s development, as their feedback—alongside our post show discussions with scholars and community leaders—will inform the future direction of the piece. I can guarantee this will be a wild ride with Oscar Wilde and a unique theatre experience for our audience.”

“I was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s work because it speaks so viscerally about being marginalized and treated as ‘other’,” explained Brian Mertes, who is currently Associate Director at Trinity Repertory Company and head of the MFA Directing Program at Brown University. “I want the audience coming to see this play to be part of the conversations and controversies we are still—unfortunately—having about society’s definitions of our ‘acceptable’ selves. My thanks to the company at PlayMakers for giving me the space to explore such deeply human and deeply complicated subjects.”

This piece includes sustained moments of partial nudity, and subject matter best suited to audiences 17 years and older.

The “De Profundis” Creative Team:
Brian Mertes’ body of work spans theater, television and film. He has directed the world premiere of many new plays, most recently David Greenspan’s “The Myopia” for the Foundry Theater at the Atlantic and Jose Rivera’s “Massacre” at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in NYC. He has developed new work at numerous theatres, including Ensemble Studio Theater, Naked Angels, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and PlayPenn. Mertes has taught directing for the Columbia and NYU film programs, and has been a guest director at North Carolina School of the Arts. He has also directed television for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, garnering three Emmy and three DGA nominations, and an Emmy for directing.

Jim Findlay works across boundaries as a director, designer, visual artist and performer. He was a founding member of the Collapsable Giraffe and Accinosco/Cynthia Hopkins, and is a frequent collaborator with Bang on a Can, Ralph Lemon, and Ridge Theater. Recent productions include “The Whisper Opera” (director and designer), “Botanica” (writer and director), Annie Dorsen’s “A Piece of Work” (set and video design), and David T. Little/Royce Vavrek’s “Dog Days” (set and video design). His work has been seen at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, Arena Stage, A.R.T. and over 50 cities worldwide including Berlin, Istanbul, London, Moscow, and Paris. He has received two Obie awards, two Bessie awards, a Lucille Lortel award, and a Henry Hewes award.

Nicole Villamil makes her PlayMakers debut as the sole performer in this first iteration of “De Profundis.” Nicole has recently appeared in “The Rose Tattoo” (Williamstown Theatre Festival), “The Hunchback of Seville” (Trinity Repertory Company), and “Concrete Orange” (The Guthrie Theater).

About PlayMakers:
PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the Center for Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the Carolinas’ premier resident professional theater company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America”.

About the PRC² Second Stage Series:
PRC² features innovative, topical work that encourages both artist and audience to take risks in unknown territory. Sharing in the process of new work under construction or artists grappling with hot button issues, the audience engages in discussions with the creative artists and expert panelists following each performance. Each production is followed by a “second act” of conversation with our audience. Next up on the PRC² stage is Daniel Beaty’s provocative “Mr. Joy” (April 26-30, 2017).

Performances:
“De Profundis” takes the stage at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art at 150 Country Club Road, from January 11-15, 2017. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Opening Night & Press Opening: January 11. For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit playmakersrep.org. Individual ticket prices for “De Profundis” start at $10 for students with ID and $15 for non-students.

Special Events:
Interviews available — To schedule an interview with Brian Mertes and/or Jim Findlay call 919.962.7114
January 11, 7:30 p.m. — Opening Night & Press Opening
January 11 to 15 — Free post-show discussions with members of the creative team

PlayMakers Contacts: 
For press information and interviews, contact Diana Pineda, Director of Sales and Marketing dmpineda@email.unc.edu or 919.962.7114

For photos or poster art and other PlayMakers questions, please contact Rosalie Preston, Associate Director of Marketing, at rosalie@unc.edu or 919.962.6997.