Rep Stage's 18th Season Opens with Travels With My Aunt 8/25-9/12
Rep Stage, the professional Equity theatre in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), kicks off its 18th season with Giles Havergal's adaptation of Graham Greene's "Travels With My Aunt." Greene's critically acclaimed novel follows the journey of retired bank manager Henry Pulling, who is pulled away from his quiet suburban existence into a world of travel, adventure and romance by his eccentric Aunt Augusta. This is Rep Stage's second production of "Travels..." and several players from the original 1997 production will be returning for this production, including director Kasi Campbell and Rep Stage regulars Bill Larges and Nigel Reed. They are joined by DC theatre favorites Lawrence Redmond and Michael Russotto, who is making his Rep Stage debut. Also making his Rep Stage debut is Jim Fouchard, whose scenic designs have been seen on stages across the United States. "Travel..." opens August 25 and runs through September 12, 2010, in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center (HVPA) on the campus of HCC.
Explaining his decision to open the season with "Travels...," Michael Stebbins said, "Kasi Campbell and I chose this play because we were seeking something lighthearted after having just come off the intense, season-closing drama, ‘The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?'" Stebbins considers this production of "Travels..." to be a revisiting, not a revival. "I think enough time has passed, and we have a lot of new audience members who didn't see it," he said.
A post-show reception follows the Saturday, August 28, evening performance and free post-show discussions follow the Friday, September 3 and 10 performances. A pre-show lecture will be held on September 11 at 12:30 p.m. before the matinee performance. The lecture is free and open to the public.
About the Play
Henry Pulling is a retired bank manager content on simply tending to his garden, but his world is turned upside down after he meets his Aunt Augusta at his mother's funeral. The two quickly form a bond - despite having nothing in common - and Augusta convinces Henry to leave his suburban life behind and accompany her on a globe-trotting adventure. Together, they visit Brighton, Turkey, France, Argentina and Paraguay, where they encounter secret agents, smugglers, thieves and dictators. "Travels..." was written in 1969 and first presented onstage in 1989 at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. A West End production earned a Laurence Olivier Award in 1993, and the play eventually appeared off Broadway in 1995. Requiring inspired theatrical staging, "Travels..." calls for four actors to play 25 characters of varying nationalities, sexes and species.
Graham Greene (1904-91), one of the greatest and most popular English writers of the 20th century, is famous for bestselling novels like "Brighton Rock," "The Third Man," "The Quiet American," and "Our Man in Havana." His writings deal with moral issues, and many have exotic settings. Greene gathered materials for these settings during his travels all over the world. Over the course of his lifetime, he wrote many novels, short stories, biographies, plays, travel books and film criticism.
Director, actor and playwright Giles Pollock Havergal was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the director of Watford Palace Theatre (1965-69) and director of the Citizens Theatre (1969-2003). He directed over 80 plays in Glasgow, over 20 children's and family Christmas productions, and served as guest director for companies such as the Scottish Opera.
Meet the Director and Cast
Kasi Campbell (Director) has mounted 24 productions for Rep Stage since its inception, including "The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?," "God's Ear," "In the Heart of America" and "Bach at Leipzig." She has also directed productions and/or readings for Theatre J, Theatre Alliance, Washington Stage Guild, Source Theatre and Spooky Action Theatre. She received a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director in 2004 for Rep Stage's production of "The Dazzle."
Bill Largess has appeared at Rep Stage many times since his 1997 company debut in Kasi Campbell's first production of "Travels With My Aunt." Since then, he's been seen at Rep Stage in "Translations," "The Dazzle," "The Seagull," "St Nicholas," "Two By Pinter: The Collection and The Lover," "Mrs. Warren's Profession" and "Bach at Leipzig." A native Washingtonian and graduate of Catholic University's Drama Department, he is a founding company member of The Washington Stage Guild and, since 2008, has been artistic director. Largess has acted and directed at the Guild and most other theatres in the area, as well as NYC and across the country. He has been nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, received the Theatre Lobby's Mary Goldwater Award twice (the only individual to have done so) and is a longtime member of the Washington/Baltimore Liaison Committee of Actors' Equity.
Lawrence Redmond was last seen at Rep Stage as Polonius in "Hamlet." Recent credits include Alfred Morris in "Permanent Collection" at Round House Theatre, Dimas in "Triumph of Love" at Olney Theatre Center and Valkenburgh in "New Jerusalem" at Theater J. An Affiliate Artist at Arena Stage, Redmond is a 2010 Artist Fellowship Grantee from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a two-time recipient - and multiple nominee - of the Helen Hayes Award.
Nigel Reed returns to Rep Stage where, in 2002, he received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Oscar Wilde in "The Judas Kiss." Other Rep Stage roles include Dalton Trumbo in "Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted," Claudius in "Hamlet," Trigorin in "The Seagull," Frank Hardy in "Faith Healer" and Aunt Augusta in "Travels With My Aunt." Reed has been seen often in various Baltimore/Washington area theatres including Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Forum Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Bay Theatre Co., Potomac Theatre Project, Theater Alliance and The Washington Stage Guild. Off Broadway saw Reed in "Misalliance" at the Roundabout Theatre starring Philip Bosco. Reed appeared in "Deathtrap" opposite George Grizzard and RoBert Reed in separate stock productions and also traveled with the National Tour of "Deathtrap" starring Brian Bedford. Daytime drama fans may remember him as Wally McFadden on "All My Children" and as Tim Werner on "Guiding Light."
Michael Russotto is making his Rep Stage debut. Most recently he appeared as William Howard Taft in "Teddy Roosevelt and the Ghostly Mistletoe" at The Kennedy Center's TYA, and as Werner in "Full Circle" at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where he is a proud member of The Acting Company. Russotto has also performed at The Folger Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Theatre J, Washington Stage Guild, Theatre Alliance, Wayside Theatre and Studio Theatre. Favorite roles include Alexandra in "She Stoops to Comedy" at Woolly Mammoth (Helen Hayes Award Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actor) and Mr. Lawrence in "Girl in the Goldfish Bowl" at MetroStage.
Behind the Scenes
Melanie Clark's (Costume Designer) design work includes "The Glass Menagerie," "Stones in His Pockets," "Mrs. Farnsworth," "Thom Pain," "Trumbo: REd White and Blacklisted" and "Intelligence" (Rep Stage); "Seascape" (The American Century Theatre); "Bad Dates" (Olney Theatre Company); "Tobias and The Angel" and "Don Giovanni" (Opera Vivente); "The Tragedy of Carmen" (Alba Music Festival); "Seussical the Musical" and "The Araboolies of Liberty Street" (Imagination Stage); "After Ashley," "The Faculty Room" and "She Stoops to Comedy" (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); "Sleeping Arrangements" (Theatre J); "No Exit," "Thersites" and "The Lonesome West" (Scena Theatre).
Dan Covey's (Lighting Designer) credits include Edward Albee's "The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?," "On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning," "Hysteria," "God's Ear," "In The Heart of America," "Mrs. Warren's Profession" and "Bach at Leipzig" (Rep Stage); "Treemonisha" (Washington Savoyards); "Black Pearl Sings!" (Ford's Theatre); "Lazarus Syndrome" (Theater Alliance); "Dirty Blonde" (Signature); "Lysistrata" (Synetic); "Sholom Aleichem" (Theater J); "Stuff Happens" (Olney); "Much Ado About Nothing" (Folger); "Permanent Collection" (Round House); "The York Realist" (Studio Theatre); "Starving" (Woolly Mammoth).
Liza Davies (Properties Designer) is a freelance scenic artist and props designer whose work was last seen at Rep Stage in last season's productions of "Wittenberg" and "On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning." She is the resident props designer for Everyman Theatre. In addition to Everyman, she has worked for the Baltimore Opera Company and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
James Fouchard (Scenic Designer) makes his Rep Stage debut with "Travels With My Aunt." Fouchard has created sets for over 250 productions in regional, stock, opera and educational theater. Design credits include the national tours of "Can-Can" (starring Chita Rivera), "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (starring Patrick Cassidy), "The Show-Off" (starring Jean Stapleton) and "42nd Street" (Asia Tour). He has also served as scenic supervisor for tours of "Will Rogers Follies," "Smokey Joe's Café" and "Evita" (supervised by Harold Prince). Other designs include productions for the John F. Kennedy Center, Papermill Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, American Musical Theater, Ford's Theater, Walnut Street Theater, Peabody Conservatory, Syracuse Stage, Everyman Theatre, Theatre of the Stars, OperaDelaware, Summer Opera Theater, Opera Columbus, Feld Entertainment, Olney Theatre, Totem Pole Playhouse and Harrah's (Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe). His work has also been featured in gallery exhibitions at Georgetown University, the Smithsonian Institution and the Washington, D.C. Theatre Design exhibit "It's Only A Paper Moon."
Neil McFadden (Sound Designer) has designed sound for Rep Stage's "The Butterfingers Angel...," "Trumbo; Red, White and Blacklisted," "Faith Healer" and "Translations." McFadden's sound and lighting designs have been heard (or seen) in many area theatres, including Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre, the Washington Savoyards, Everyman Theatre and Round House Theatre. A nine-time nominee, McFadden received the Helen Hayes Award for his design of Round House's "Heathen Valley."
Elizabeth Van den Berg (Dialect Consultant) has served as a dialect coach in the DC/Baltimore area for over 40 productions, most recently for Studio Theatre's production of "American Buffalo." She is currently associate professor and chair of Theatre Arts at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, and has been named one of the nation's four top teaching artists by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, Actors' Equity Association, and a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.