Remy Bumppo to Stage AN INSPECTOR CALLS, 12/4-1/12
What does J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls, a play set in England in 1912, have to say to a modern-day American audience?
Remy Bumppo will present this Tony and Olivier Award-winning masterpiece as the second production of its 17th season. An Inspector Calls plays almost constantly in England, but this is a rare opportunity to see it on an American professional stage. Press Opening is Monday, December 9, at 7:00 pm.
Priestley wrote An Inspector Calls within a week after the finish of World War II, expressing the urgent need for social change. Like many others, Priestley was a changed man upon his return from fighting in World War I. After witnessing the impoverished and the aristocratic fighting and dying side-by-side, he was horrified to observe the rise of social inequalities after the war. With the onset of another war, Priestley felt the need to speak out on the issue..
"Now is a most apt time to revive this play," says Darlow, because so many of the social factors Priestley found in 1912 are re-appearing a century later in America.
Not only will Americans of today relate to the play's call for personal and social accountability, they will delight in the twists and turns of Priestley's plot. The social messages intertwine with the intrigue, much in the way that Dickens and Shaw weave stories of social consciousness into engaging narratives. This makes An Inspector Calls an ideal fit for the holiday season, giving audiences the depth of language and complex issues they have come to expect of Remy Bumppo along with the sheer entertainment of a thrilling mystery.
England, 1912. The Birling family has just enjoyed a fine dinner in their upper-middle class home celebrating the engagement of their daughter to their business rival's son, Gerald Croft (Artistic Associate Greg Matthew Anderson). Enter Inspector Goole (Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys), who brings word of a sudden death. The inspector proceeds to interrogate the family, including the parents, Sybil Birling (Lia Mortensen) and Arthur Birling (Roderick Peeples), and their children, Sheila (Isabel Ellison) and Eric (Luke Daigle). As he unveils dark secrets and sets off a series of revelations, "whodunit?" quickly becomes a question of what "it" was, how it was done, to whom it was done, and just who Inspector Goole might be.
An Inspector Calls is not only a family gathering for the characters but also a gathering and reunion of sorts for the Remy Bumppo family. Along with Darlow, Sandys and Anderson, Lia Mortensen is appearing on the Remy Bumppo stage for the first time since the company's inaugural production, Night and Day, 17 years ago. Roderick Peeples is another familiar face, having performed in both The Voysey Inheritance and Heroes. Luke Daigle is a more recent veteran, last seen in Mourning Becomes Electra. And Emily Waecker, who just won a 2013 Jeff Award for Remy Bumppo's You Never Can Tell, is designing the costumes.
An Inspector Calls will be performed December 4, 2013 through January 12, 2014 at the Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln in Chicago. Single tickets and season subscriptions are on sale now at www.remybumppo.org or by calling the Greenhouse at 773-404-7336.
Stephanie Hurovitz is Stage Manager for An Inspector Calls. The set is by Alan Donahue, costumes by Emily Waecker, lights by Michael Rourke, sound design by Josh Horvath, and properties by Jesse Gaffney.
An Inspector Calls is partially underwritten by Geoffrey A. Anderson, Judy Johanson, and Nancy A. McDaniel. Remy Bumppo 2013/2014 Season Sponsors are Brenda and James Grusecki.