CHAPEL HILL – A two-part repertory production of Charles Dickens’ epic “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” will headline PlayMakers Repertory Company’s 34th season, announced Thursday (March 5) by producing artistic director Joseph Haj.
Also during its 2009-2010 mainstage season, PlayMakers will present Arthur Miller’s wartime drama “All My Sons,” the comedy classic “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde and the regional premiere of “Opus” by Michael Hollinger.
PlayMakers, the professional theater company in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also will present three topical, thought-provoking shows in its second-stage season, the PRC2 series.
The PRC2 series will begin with Mike Daisey’s new monologue “The Last Cargo Cult.” Also part of the series will be “I Have Before Me A Remarkable Document Given To Me By A Young Lady From Rwanda,” by Sonja Linden. A third play is yet to be announced. Each PRC 2 performance includes engaging post-show community dialogue. These conversations have become the hallmark of the series.
“This new season will feature a two-part, once-in-a-generation theater-going experience, a searing American masterpiece and perhaps the greatest comedy ever written,” Haj said. “Combine these plays with a regional premiere that looks behind the scenes at a world-famous string quartet and you have a thrilling mainstage season.”
All performances will be presented at UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows, in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.
Subscription packages for 2009-2010 are now available. For the lowest subscription prices of the season, new and renewing subscribers can take advantage of PlayMakers’ Early Bird Discount rates through May 4. Call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit https://playmakersrep.org for information.
Dates and descriptions of the 2009-2010 mainstage plays:
“Opus” by Michael Hollinger: Sept. 23 to Oct. 11, 2009
“Sex, drugs and chamber music!” exclaimed The New York Times. Talent and temperament collide in a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at personal discord and professional harmony in the lives of a fictional string quartet billed as the world’s finest. Newsday called “Opus” “taut, smart and thoroughly entertaining drama.” PlayMakers will collaborate with UNC’s music department on the sound design, as in the theater’s 2008 hit production of “Amadeus,” to enrich the drama of this mainstage season opener.
“The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” by David Edgar, from the novel by Charles Dickens: Parts I and II performed in rotating repertory Nov. 11 to Dec. 20, 2009
Before J.K. Rowling, there was the greatest serial writer of them all. Twenty-four PlayMakers actors bring Charles Dickens’ masterpiece to life and take audiences on a thrilling ride, with fantastic turns of fate, sly humor and the rich, emotional moments that make up life’s astounding journey.
Haj, who will co-direct, said, “This is a theater experience like no other, and one we’ve been excitedly planning for our PlayMakers audience. We’re pulling out all the stops for a great entertainment adventure!”
Playwright David Edgar burst on the theater scene 30 years ago with his Royal Shakespeare Company/BBC version of “Nickleby.”
“I’m delighted that PlayMakers is presenting the East Coast premiere of my new version of Dickens’ great novel,” Edgar said. “North Carolina boasts a vibrant theatrical culture and a sophisticated, eager audience. I look forward to working with Joseph Haj and his company and to spending more time in the Triangle.”
London Theatre Guide called the plays “exemplary storytelling on a monumental scale … not to be missed.” “Big, bold, broad and crammed with the kinds of colorful characters only Dickens could create … theater as an endlessly entertaining event,” said The San Francisco Chronicle.
“All My Sons” by Arthur Miller: Jan. 27 to Feb. 14, 2010
Consequences of a business decision rock the foundations of a World War II-era family and send shockwaves into the larger world, leading us to ask: Where does moral responsibility fall? To whom and what are we responsible in pursuit of the American Dream?
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play born of war in another time is “as relevant today as it was when first produced in 1947,” said The New York Times. “A play with a social conscience and an unswerving moral commitment … Our respect increases for the continuing timeliness of this most politically responsive playwright.”
PlayMakers is proud to be among the first theaters given the rights to present this masterwork since Miller’s death four years ago.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde: March 3 -21, 2010
The most enduringly popular of Wilde’s plays is hailed as one of the funniest comedies in the English language. Wicked wit and dead-on social satire are wrapped in a Victorian confection of dual identities, matters matrimonial and the provenance of a particularly pertinent handbag.
In the words of the playwright himself, “a trivial comedy for serious people.” The New York Times called it “endlessly funny comedy … swift, sardonic repartee (that) ripples through the ages.”
Dates and descriptions of the plays in the PRC2 second-stage series:
“The Last Cargo Cult” created and performed by Mike Daisey: Sept. 16-20, 2009
The play tells the astonishing true story of a cult religion created by remote South Pacific islanders in abandoned World War II military bases. The tale is interwoven with reflections on global worship of American economic might, now shaken by the collapse of the U.S. financial system. The New York Times called monologist Mike Daisey “the master storyteller … one of the finest solo performers of his generation.” The Oakland Tribune reported, “A mesmerizing performer who spins words into comic and emotional gold.”
“I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given To Me By A Young Lady From Rwanda” by Sonja Linden: March 24-28, 2010
A young woman struggles to chronicle the brutal genocide of her people in this heartbreaking yet eloquently healing story of a Rwandan refugee. When she seeks guidance from a burnt-out poet-novelist, their growing relationship becomes a hopeful exploration of cultural gaps being bridged.
Inspired by actual experiences of young refugees living in the United Kingdom, the play drew this from The Times of London: “truly poetic”…“buy, beg or steal a ticket to this play!”
PlayMakers is in negotiations for the rights to present one more PRC2 play, which will be staged Jan. 13-17, 2010. The title and additional information will be released and posted on https://playmakersrep.org when available.
Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theatre company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America.”