Conor McPherson's THE VEIL to Receive U.S. Premiere at Quotidian Theatre Company, 7/18-8/17
Internationally-acclaimed playwright Conor McPherson's period drama The Veil is given its US premiere at Quotidian Theatre Company. The New York Times called McPherson "the finest playwright of his generation". The Veil made its world premiere at National Theatre in a production Evening Standard called "atmospheric and haunting". Quotidian has staged six prior productions of McPherson's work. The US premiere production runs July 18 - August 17 at The Writer's Center in downtown Bethesda.
McPherson has had plays produced at London's National Theatre, on Broadway, at Chicago's iconic Goodman and Steppenwolf theatres, and at DC's Studio Theatre in addition to Quotidian. His work has received Tony Award nominations for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. His plays include The Birds, Shining City, The Seafarer, Port Authority, Dublin Carol, and The Weir.
In The Veil, Lady Madeleine Lambroke has invited a defrocked reverend to her decaying estate in Ireland so he might chaperone her daughter to London, where the girl is to be wed. But when the reverend arrives with a strange companion, another reason for their visit gradually becomes apparent.
"There's a sense of the supernatural in this play... On a deep level, there's a feeling of ancient folklore," McPherson says. "There's a more traditional haunted house feeling in the play, too. And there are characters in the play who are yearning for things they can't have." Set in an 1822 country estate, The Veil touches on "social structure, moments of embarrassment, thwarted feelings... very consciously in the Chekhovian genre," says McPherson.
Quotidian Theatre Company artistic director and co-founder Jack Sbarbori directs his seventh McPherson production after helming the DC area premieres of Dublin Carol, Port Authority, and The Birds. McPherson is Sbarbori's favorite living playwright, and the McPherson plays Sbarbori has directed count among QTC's most highly-praised productions. Sbarbori's cast includes many Quotidian favorites, several of whom have previously tackled McPherson's work.
"I was brought up as a Roman Catholic," says McPherson, "so perhaps this is why I see supernatural stories as the most natural thing I can present on stage. I have always felt that the theatre is the perfect place to contemplate the unknown. I want the audience to dream their way into the play and out the other side only to arrive deeper inside themselves via their most powerful emotions. I want to invite the darkness that surrounds the stage onto the stage in order to illuminate all that is truly important to us. And something that feels important to me is that we recognize that the experience of being alive - and being conscious of being alive - is an unfathomable mystery. Life is a transcendental experience. It's a mystery we should marvel at and celebrate."