Washington Stage Guild to Close 30th Season with 'BACK TO METHUSELAH'
The Washington Stage Guild will celebrate the end of its 30th Anniversary Season with Back To Methuselah: As Far As Thought Can Reach, the final episode in its multi-year presentation of George Bernard Shaw's visionary cycle of plays about humanity's destiny.
Having begun in the Garden of Eden, then jumping to the 20th century, and then 250 and 5,000 years into the future, Shaw's conclusion takes us to the year 31,920 AD where humans have evolved into very different creatures. After solving so many shortcomings of our past, the people of the future still must struggle with what is to come, and how to transcend the limitations of earthly life. Back To Methuselah, written shortly before Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature, is regarded as the first work of science fiction written for the stage, and its sprawling nature means that the Stage Guildproduction spread over several seasons is a true rarity, perhaps only the fourth fully-professional production since its premiere in the '20s.
"Shaw is an ever-surprising playwright: Stage Guild patrons have been marveling at his prescience and topicality since our first season in 1986, sometimes wondering if we'd added contemporary references," says Stage Guild artistic director Bill Largess. "But there's no need to do that, even in plays from 125 years ago. His wit is as fresh and his insights as relevant as when they were eagerly awaited by his own audiences. Methuselah's bitter criticism of the European society that destroyed itself in World War I takes the form of a brilliant fantasy of what humans could do, if they only would. Sometimes puckish in its suggestions as to what form that might take, Shaw dissects our situation unsparingly, and his cautionary fable about what we must become to avoid another disaster is impossible to refute. We may not end up where he foresees in thirty thousand years, but it won't be his fault. Washingtonaudiences who travelled with us through the first four parts can finally experience the Shavian future. And as part of a month-long event, there will be readings of our earlier installments for those who want to catch up, as well as a look at Karel Capek's response to Shaw's vision, The Makropoulos Secret, a play we produced in 1993."
Brit Herring as Strephon and Adam, most recently appeared in Everyman Theatre's production of Great Expectations, directed by Tazewell Thompson, and will be making his debut at Arena Stage this spring in A Raisin in the Sun.
Conrad Feininger, who portrays the Male Figure and Cain, has been nominated for 4 Helen Hayes awards, three of the nominations for work at the Stage Guild (A Tale of the Wolf, The Philanderer and Skull in Connemara).
Laura Giannarelli returns as the She-Ancient and the Serpent. A founding company member, she directed this season's It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.
Lynn Steinmetz takes the parts of Chloe, Female Figure and Eve. Also a founding company member, she has performed at several venues in the Washington-Baltimore area, including Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Institution, and others.
Vincent Clark portrays the He-Ancient, and has appeared in 13 Shavian productions at the Stage Guild.
Michael Avolio plays Acis, and has appeared onstage at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Rep Stage, and Quotidian Theatre Company. The rest of the ensemble features new faces at the Stage Guild making their company debuts.
Frank Britton, a 15-year veteran of the professional D.C. theatre scene plays Pygmalion.
Malinda Kathleen Reese portrays Ecrasia, and has worked with the Folger Theater, Adventure Theater MTC, The Kennedy Center and Theater Alliance. She is also a YouTuber and creator of the series Google Translate Sings.
Completing the ensemble of nine is Madeleine Farringtonmaking both her Stage Guild and her professional acting debut-appropriately as the Egg/Newly Born!
Stacey ThomAnn Hamilton designs costumes with Shirong Gu designing the setting, Marianne Meadows lights and Frank DiSalvo, Jr. sound. Arthur Nordlie is the stage manager.
The 2016-2017 Season:
BACK TO METHUSELAH: AS FAR AS THOUGHT CAN REACH
by George Bernard Shaw
March 23 through April 16, 2017
Press Night: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 8 pm
One of the first works of science fiction ever put on stage hurtles humanity 25,000 years into the future, with GBS' celebrated wit and a touch of satire.
The conclusion of our multi-year cycle of productions of Shaw's visionary landmark, Back to Methuselah, includes the Methuselah Project!
A reading of Part 1
In the Beginning & 2 - The Gospel of the Family Barnabas Wednesday, March 29 at 7pm
TALK-BACK TO SHAW
a post-show discussion with the cast and director.
Sunday, April 2 following the 2:30 Matinee
A reading of Part 3
The Thing Happens & 4 - Tragedy of an Elderly Gentleman Wednesday, April 5 at 7pm
SHAW PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
A reading of THE MAKROPOULOS SECRET by Karel Capek
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7pm
Produced in 1993, our seventh season, this fantasy of a woman with a secret formula that keeps her alive for centuries was Czech playwright Capek's response to Shaw's Methuselah cycle.
Performance times and prices for all productions: Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm - $50.00; Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm - $60.00; and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm - $50.00. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students, and groups. Season passes are available, offering incredible savings for the entire Stage Guild season.