Following Smash Hit SMALL BALL Catastrophic Presents Two More Plays By Mickle Maher
Following directly on the heels of The Catastrophic Theatre's smash hit musical SMALL BALL, with book and lyrics by Mickle Maher, the theatre is commemorating its long and prolific relationship with Maher by remounting its lauded 2008 production of his play THE STRANGERER to play in repertory with its spiritual sequel, in an extremely limited run. THE STRANGERER is a darkly hilarious satire of the first debate in the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and Jim Kerry, moderated by Jim Lehrer. It will be presented in repertory with Jim Lehrer AND THE THEATRE AND ITS DOUBLE AND Jim Lehrer'S DOUBLE, a sequel to THE STRANGERER about Jim Lehrer, the now retired news anchor and presidential debate moderator, who is visited one evening by his double: Jim Lehrer, the amateur playwright.
THE STRANGERER will be directed by Catastrophic core artist Charlie Scott and reunites the cast of the original 2008 production: Paul Locklear as George W. Bush, Troy Schulze as Jim Kerry, and Seán Patrick Judge as Jim Lehrer. Director Charlie Scott helmed a legendary adaptation of Medea for Infernal Bridegroom Productions. He received a "Best Director" award from Houston Press for the production, which also received an award for "Best Production."
Jim Lehrer AND THE THEATRE AND ITS DOUBLE AND Jim Lehrer'S DOUBLE will be directed by Catastrophic core artist, Greg Dean, who directed Catastrophic's hugely successful world premiere production of Donald Barthelme's SNOW WHITE last season.
The two plays will be presented in repertory starting with THE STRANGERER on May 17th with both productions running through June 3rd. Tickets for this extremely limited run are on sale now and can be purchased at matchouston.org or by calling the Box Office at 713-521-4533. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. As always at Catastrophic, all tickets are Pay-What-You-Can.
About the The Strangerer
George W. Bush wants to kill PBS newsman Jim Lehrer. He wants to kill him right on the stage of his first presidential debate with John Kerry. In a more-than-nifty turn, the reason for the attempted murder, revealed to us and Bush himself near the play's end, makes Bush the unlikely, existential hero of the play. A surreal reimagining of real events, THE STRANGERER delves deeply into the minds of the three characters, especially Bush, in surprising, often hilarious, and sometimes unsettling ways. Partly inspired by the works of author-philosopher Albert Camus-particularly Camus' novel THE STRANGER which the real Bush claimed to have read as a part of his summer reading during the Iraq war-Catastrophic Theatre favorite Mickle Maher (SMALL BALL, SONG ABOUT HIMSELF, THE HUNCHBACK VARIATIONS, THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS, THE PINE, SPIRITS TO ENFORCE) explores the fascinating ground between murder and philosophy.
Of the original production The Houston Chronicle wrote, "The Strangerer may be Theatre of the Absurd - yet it's also the funniest and most acutely meaningful example of the genre I've encountered in ages." The Houston Press called the play "a must-see" and raved: "Locklear gives the performance of his life, nailing W. with his weird pauses and malaprops.... He glides through the difficult non sequitur monologues, giving Bush a comprehensible, maddening humanity. Just as spot-on are Judge and Schulze. Matter of fact, the entire production is incredibly realized. 'Perfectness,' as W. might say."
Jim Lehrer, legendary PBS news anchor and presidential debate moderator, is now retired and sitting alone on a gloomy evening in his suburban Washington, DC home. Suddenly his double, Jim Lehrer the aspiring playwright, bursts in, having narrowly escaped the rabidly angry audience from the opening night of his first produced play. Lehrer II must now convince his twin their lives are in danger from the mysteriously incensed mob. At the same time, something-or someone-keeps making odd noises from deep within the house. Described by The Chicago Reader as an "ingenious, eccentric, quietly devastating new play," this gothic horror-comedy uniquely blends the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and mad theatre genius Antonin Artaud with the politics and theatre of our day.
When asked about the relationship between THE STRANGERER and Jim Lehrer AND THE THEATRE AND ITS DOUBLE AND Jim Lehrer'S DOUBLE, Maher responded: "I'd say both STRANGERER and Jim Lehrer AND HIS DOUBLE were prodded out of me by the political insanities of the times I wrote them in (STRANGERER around 2006, post-Katrina, and DOUBLE during the heat of the 2016 campaign.) Jim's way of coping with the fraught situations he's in in both plays is something I relate to deeply and intensely and on a day-to-day basis: he's a close observer of things right in front of his face, but is entirely blind to their larger import."
Both plays feature a cast of Houston favorites: THE STRANGERER reunites the original cast from the 2008 production Troy Shulze, Paul Locklear, and Seán Patrick Judge. Jim Lehrer AND THE THEATRE AND ITS DOUBLE AND Jim Lehrer'S DOUBLE features Seán Patrick Judge and John Dunn. Both productions are designed by Greg Dean (Sets and Props), Tamarie Cooper (Costumes), Hudson Davis (Lights), and Shawn St. John (Sound).
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Mickle Maher's plays have appeared Off-Broadway and around the world, and have been supported by grants from the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation/MAP fund, and Creative Capital. They include Small Ball, There is a Happiness That Morning Is; Song About Himself; An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening; The Hunchback Variations; The Strangerer; Spirits to Enforce; Cyrano (translator); The Cabinet; Lady Madeline; The Pine; and An Actor Prepares (an adaptation of Stanislavsky's seminal book). He is a cofounder of Chicago's Theater Oobleck, and has taught playwriting and related subjects at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Greg Dean is an actor, director and designer in Houston, TX. With The Catastrophic Theatre Greg has performed, directed, and designed the following productions Tamarie's Merry Evening of Mistakes and Regret (Mortando the Clown), Snow White (director, adaptator, Narrator), The Designated Mourner (Jack), Buried Child (Tilden), Tamarie for President ("Greg Dean"), The Hunchback Variations (director, scenic design, Quasimodo), The Pine (Morris the Hesitant), Waiting for Godot (Vladimir), The Tamarie Cooper Doomsday Revue ("Greg Dean"), Endgame, (Hamm), Crave, (scenic design, A), Paradise Hotel, (co-director; scenic, props, sound design), Bluefinger (Ensemble), Hunter Gatherers (Richard), Our Late Night (scenic design, Lewis); Hune Company Living Room Series: Blackbird (Ray); 14 Pews at La Colombe d'Or: The Fever (director, performer);l Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre: Dance Macabre The Constant Companion (Sid); Stagger Lee Presents The Caretaker (Davies); Mildred's Umbrella: Cloud Tectonics (Hanibal de la Luna), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (co-director, Karl), Dracula (director, designer, Dracula), The Flu Season (scenic design); Infernal Bridegroom Productions: Endgame (Hamm), Eddie Goes to Poetry City (director; scenic, sound design), Quartett (director; scenic, props, sound design, Valmont), Samuel's Major Problems (director, designer, Samuel), Woyzeck (Woyzeck), Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson), The Cherry Orchard (director, designer, Firs); Houston Shakespeare Festival; Classical Theatre Company; Horsehead Theater; Alley Theatre; West-Mon Repertory Theater; Urban Theatre Project.
CHARLIE SCOTT was a founding member of Infernal Bridegroom Productions and, from 1996 through 2006, acted in or directed over 25 productions with IBP. He started working in the Houston theater scene in the early 1990's with James Gale's Urban Theater Project: King Lear (Old Man/Doctor), Waiting for Godot (Lucky), MacBeth (Drunken Porter/Doctor) and Joseph K. (Huld). With The Catastrophic Theatre he as appeared in Evening at the Talk House (Dick), Snow White (Edward and Assistant Director), Trevor (Jim), Buried Child (Father Dewis), The Danube (Mr. Sandor),