Tennessee Williams’ classic “The Glass Menagerie” will be paired with the regional premiere of “Well,” the recent Broadway sensation by Lisa Kron. The plays will be performed on alternating dates starting with “Well” on Jan. 24. For a schedule, visit http://www.playmakersrep.org.

 

Although written more than 60 years apart, both works are examples of memory plays – inspired by autobiographical memories of the respective playwrights – that explore similar themes, but in very different ways.

 

“We have programmed these plays in repertory so audiences can see them together and follow a unique trajectory in American theatre,” said Joseph Haj, producing artistic director of PlayMakers. The company is the professional theatre in residence at UNC.

 

Williams’ masterpiece is the searing story of a mother-daughter relationship complicated by the daughter’s disability. With universal themes of family conflict and dreams deferred, this groundbreaking work helped establish the memory play as a new form in the theatrical canon.

 

The Daily Telegraph of London called the play “Williams’ first great success … ripped from the dramatist’s heart.”

 

By contrast, in “Well,” the onstage playwright character, Lisa, attempts to share memories of her force-of-nature mother, who although constantly ill, managed to heal a community. Characters rebel at her version of events, upending the story in a howlingly funny yet emotionally powerful look at mother-daughter dynamics.

 

The Boston Globe reported that “Well” “has moments goofy enough to make your sides ache – and other moments intelligent enough to rearrange your understanding of the world.”

 

Playwright-performer Kron won an Obie Award (for off-Broadway works) for her one-woman show “2.5 Minute Ride,” which was a sold-out hit last season for PlayMakers. “Well,” her first full-length play, garnered Kron a 2006 Tony nomination during its Broadway run.

 

All performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Tickets are $10 to $40.

Special events will include:

  • dual opening performances on Jan. 31, with “The Glass Menagerie” at 2 p.m. and “Well” at 8 p.m.;
  • free public director’s talks and set previews, at noon on Jan. 14 with Libby Appel for “The Glass Menagerie” and noon Jan. 21 with Joseph Haj for “Well,” both in the Paul Green Theatre;
  • free post-show discussions on Feb. 4 and Feb. 8 for “The Glass Menagerie” and Feb. 11 and 15 for “Well”; and
  • all-access performances for attendees with special needs on Feb. 17 (“The Glass Menagerie”) and Feb. 24 (“Well.”)

 

Appel, who makes her PlayMakers debut with “The Glass Menagerie,” is artistic director emeritus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and one of the nation’s most sought-after freelance directors. She has directed more than 50 plays at 20 professional theatre companies.

 

Haj, who will direct “Well,” last directed PlayMakers’  hit season opener, “Pericles,” and previously directed “Amadeus,” “The Illusion,” “Not About Heroes” and “Cyrano de Bergerac” for PlayMakers. 

 

For information about PlayMakers’ season, call (919) 962-PLAY(7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org. 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.”

 

Corporate co-producers for PlayMakers’ repertory plays are UNC-TV for “The Glass Menagerie” and Counter Culture Coffee for “Well.”

 

Note: Media are welcome to cover the directors’ previews at noon on Jan. 14 and 21. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For additional assistance, call (919) 428-1744.

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, cmahan@email.unc.edu