Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is delighted to announce its 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Reading Series will open on Monday, October 22 at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW) at 7:30 p.m. with Peerless, written by Jiehae Park.
The free reading is directed by Seema Sueko, Deputy Artistic Director, Arena Stage, and features actors Teresa Lim, Tiffany Villarin, Keith L. Royal, Laura C. Harris, Zack Powell and Lisa Tejero. Drew Lichtenberg, STC Dramaturg and Literary Manager, will host a post-show discussion with Gene Park, Washington Post reporter and Chair of the Asian American Journalists Association, and Dr. Jean Kim, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The George Washington University.
Peerless is a darkly funny and modern take on Macbeth. Two Asian American twins have worked their whole life to get into The College, only to be rejected in favor of their classmate. So they decide to kill him. Taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s tragedy of murderous ambition, the play examines the pressures placed on 21st-century teenagers in a culture of cutthroat competition.
Now in its 26th season, the readings were chosen this year by Literary Manager Drew Lichtenberg with input from the STC Artistic Department and Literary Circle, and aim to introduce audiences to new adaptations of great but lesser-known classic plays.
“We launched the reading series during the 1993-1994 Season as an opportunity to explore rarely produced classics and adaptations from living playwrights,” said STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. “The reading is often the first step in bringing a new adaptation or an under-produced classic back into the spotlight and a wonderful opportunity for audiences to connect with a play they may not know. It’s also an excellent way to expand the range of voices we consider part of the classical canon.”
Audiences should reserve their free ticket at: http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/rediscovery-peerless/ or call the Box Office on: 202.547.1122
ReDiscovery Reading Series 2018–2019
Venus: By Suzan-Lori Parks
January 7, 2019
This dramatic retelling of the true story of the Sarah “Saartjie” Baartmann, the late 18th-century “Venus Hottentot,” just might be Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’s masterpiece—and a modern classic. In Venus, an African woman is enticed to Europe with promises of fame and fortune, but ends up trapped between serving as a carnival freak show and a subject in a medical amphitheater, an exhibition in both life and death. Grounding her virtuosic command of language in a recognizable time and place, Parks creates a period piece rich with implications for our contemporary culture. In an era when stories about race, gender, sexuality and political liberty dominate the conversation, Parks illuminates them in all their intersectionality.
Dreamlandia: By Octavio Solis
March 18, 2019
When a young Mexican woman and her brother cross the Rio Grande to find their father, they instead encounter a young man who has grown up alone, imprisoned on an island. Soon, all are thrust into a world where dream and reality are inseparable. Inspired by Calderón’s Life is a Dream, the bones of the Spanish Golden Age classic remain, but the Rio Grande looms large both as myth and metaphor but in Solis’s modern retelling. Written for Dallas Theater Center during the George W. Bush era, Dreamlandia’s observations about Mexican-American relations, immigration and capitalism have only become more prescient. With aspects of magic realism that connect to Latinx culture and history, Solis’s piece dives into the borderlands between seductive illusion and crushing reality.
Monday, April 1, 2019
The reading for April 1 will be announced later this season.
Sleep Deprivation Chamber: By Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy
May 13, 2019
In Arlington, Virginia during the 1990s, a highly educated black man was viciously beaten by police after being pulled over for a broken taillight, and the disturbing incident led Adrienne Kennedy and her son to collaborate on an autobiographical drama. Sleep Deprivation Chamber reads now like a premonition of today’s pervasive climate of violence, masterfully interweaving a suspenseful docudrama with the black experience of 20th-century America. Sleep Deprivation Chamber was originally directed by Michael Kahn in 1996 for Signature Theatre in New York. A sequel of sorts to Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (also directed by Michael Kahn, and one of the founding texts of the Off-Broadway movement), Kennedy’s play allows us to measure how far we’ve come and how much has remained the same.
The Drag: By Mae West
June 17, 2019
For Pride Month, the 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Series closes with an important artifact from the history of the Gay Rights Movement: a 1926 melodrama about the murder of a closeted gay man who is married to the daughter of a famous gay conversion therapist. Written by the notorious starlet Mae West, the play is complete with a raucous drag ball featuring West herself as a guest.Coming to light last year with the publication of three plays by West, The Drag is one of the earliest depictions of homosexuality in dramatic literature—banned in its time—and a true rediscovery.