Madison's Forward Theater Company is about to embark on its sixth season presenting contemporary plays featuring the talents of professional actors, directors and designers. This week it announced the lineup for its 2014-15 season.
Here is a brief snapshot of each play the troupe has selected. All productions take place in Overture Center's Playhouse unless noted otherwise.
From Up Here
Written by Liz Flahive
Nov. 6-23, 2014
A 2008 nominee for a Drama Desk award, this play follows Kenny Barrett, a frustrated teen who must apologize to his entire school after making a very bad decision. Filled with dark humor and mystery, the play examines sibling rivalry, angry outbursts and other familiar adolescent concerns in a uniquely naturalistic way. The New York Times praised Flahive's script for bringing "a breath of fresh air to a subject more often accompanied by torrents of the hot kind." In other words, Forward has a strong foundation to build upon when bringing this play to life.
The Other Place
Written by Sharr White
Jan. 15-Feb. 1, 2015
This piece, an Outer Critics Circle nominee for outstanding new off-Broadway play, centers on a woman named Juliana who's found great success as a research scientist and businesswoman, and great challenges in many other areas of her life. She's going through a divorce as well as a health crisis, and her daughter is on the lam with a man many years her senior. Bit by bit, it becomes clear that Juliana's storytelling contains some suspect information, which heightens the drama and unveils intriguing questions about identity, loss and estranged relationships.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Written by Christopher Durang
April 9-26, 2015
University Theatre recently presented 'Dentity Crisis, one of Durang's enjoyable early works, but this 2013 Tony winner shows the playwright at his peak as an absurdist. After spending years caring for their elderly parents, a middle-aged man named Vanya and his adopted sister, Sonia, are visited by their movie-star sister Masha and her young lover, Spike. Though the play contains many references to Anton Chekov, viewers who aren't particularly familiar with the celebrated writer should find plenty to enjoy. Durang himself describes the proceedings as "Chekhov scenes and characters... put into a blender." In other words, this tale featuring a soothsaying cleaning lady, a dress-up party of sorts, and other madcap developments should be a treat for Chekov lovers and a fine introduction to author for newbies.
Out of the Fire: The Banned Book Monologues
Feb. 26-28, 2015
Popular Forward actors will present a collection of original monologues at Dane County libraries with the goal of "celebrating our freedom to read." Expect works by playwrights from Wisconsin and beyond, plus an audience full of librarians, teachers and other superfans of the written word.