Shattered Globe Theatre's OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD to Begin Performances 1/9 at Theater Wit
Following its hit production Other People's Money, Shattered Globe Theatre will continue its 2013-14 season with Timberlake Wertenbaker's six-time Tony Award-nominated and Olivier Award-winning drama OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD, directed by Roger Smart, playing January 9 - February 22, 2014 at its new artistic home Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available at www.theaterwit.org, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150. The press performance is Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 3 pm.
OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD features Shattered Globe Ensemble Members Christina Gorman, Eileen Niccolai, Steve Peebles, Drew Schad, Megan Skord-Campbell, Kevin Viol and Ben Werling, SGT Artistic Associate Abbey Smith and SGT Protégé Program graduates Mary Franke, Addison Heimann and Dillon Kelleher with guest artist Arch Harmon.
Timberlake Wertenbaker's adaptation of The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally is set in 1788 as the British Empire begins its penal colonization of Australia. The officers' concerns about the unruliness of the thieves, pickpockets, adulterers and prostitutes who constitute the colony lead to the casting and production of a restoration comedy designed to civilize and elevate their prisoners as a community. As the rehearsals proceed we see the convicts, particularly the women, seizing hold of their roles in ways that unsettle the order of rank and entrenched codes of patriarchal and sexual domination. OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD is an unstinting examination of the violence at the center of the carceral colonizing state. Yet it also invites the audience to consider the possibilities that theater itself offers for the recovery of voice, the assertion of character and the performance of freedom.
OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD premiered in 1988 at The Royal Court Theatre and later ran on Broadway, garnering much critical acclaim and many awards along the way. Andrzej Lukowski of Time Out London deemed it "an exceptional piece of writing," while Charles Spencer of The Telegraph lauded Wertenbaker's "moving celebration of the power of drama to change lives for the good," and found it to be "bursting with humanity, humour, heartache and passion." Nominee of six Tony Awards and winner of two Laurence Olivier Awards and a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the play was remounted in London in 2013 to mark the 25th anniversary of its debut.
"I am intrigued to pose questions about the value of the arts in general, and theater in particular, to all communities," comments director Roger Smart. "In a time when funding to the arts and arts education is the first to be cut, I believe this play poses important questions about the role of art in our lives. It also makes major points about the humanizing power of theater in any community, especially those who are perceived as being beyond redemption. I am thrilled to be working with a cast composed of a dynamic blend of established Shattered Globe ensemble members as well as graduates of our exciting Protégé Program," adds Smart.
"Rick Cluchey, when he joined Shattered Globe last May to perform Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, spoke eloquently about how performing the plays of Samuel Beckett had allowed him and his fellow inmates in San Quentin prison to transcend incarceration and create new identities as artists," said Shattered Globe's newly-announced Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner. "The idea of striving for freedom through the creation of art is central to the story of Our Country's Good. This is a fascinating and complex play that the Shattered Globe Ensemble is passionate about sharing with the community," adds Shinner.
The production team for OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD includes: Roger Smart (scenic design), Sarah Jo White (costume design), Michael McNamara (lighting design), Connor Murray (sound designer), Jeton Murtishi (composer), Vivian Knouse (props design), Susan Gosdick (dialect coach), Judy Anderson (production manager), Amanda Rozmiarek (technical director), Jeffrey Clark Stokes (stage manager) and Rosie Chevalier (producer).