The Catastrophic Theatre to Stage Wallace Shawn's EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE
The Catastrophic Theatre kicks off its most ambitious season yet, with a new play by Houston favorite, Wallace Shawn (THE DESIGNATED MOURNER, MARIE AND BRUCE, OUR LATE NIGHT). EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE examines the ways in which artists resist, try to hide from, and sometimes abet brutal state power.
The production begins October 5 and runs through October 21. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at catastrophictheatre.com or by calling the Box Office at 713-521-4533.
In an imagined near future, the creative team behind a critically lauded but ultimately unsuccessful play called MIDNIGHT IN A CLEARING WITH MOON AND STARS have gathered at their old haunt, The Talk House. It's the ten-year anniversary of what turned out to be one of the last plays ever performed. Some of them now make a lot of money in television, while those less successful in the entertainment business have had to take on more unsettling forms of employment to get by. Over the course of a night spent snacking, drinking, and reminiscing in this old wood-paneled club gone to seed, the characters begin revealing disturbing secrets about what their lives have become. The unnamed country they live in is ruled by a charming but frightening autocrat, and many people are finding themselves increasingly complicit and morally compromised in surprising and ominous ways.
EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2015, now feels especially prescient. In 2017, Shawn discussed the play with The New York Times: "Plays began as political. The Greek plays were about communities and cities and kings and queens and how a country was run. We went through a brief period in the United States of somehow being so prosperous and secure that we forgot that we lived in the world, and plays were about what was happening in somebody's kitchen."
EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE is directed by Catastrophic artistic director Jason Nodler with Rob Shimko and Kyle Sturdivant. The play features a powerhouse cast of Houston favorites: JeAnne Harris, Jovan Jackson, Sean Patrick Judge, Anne Quackenbush, Becky Randall, Charlie Scott, Kyle Sturdivant, and Abraham Zeus Zapata. Set by Ryan McGettigan, Lights by Hudson Davis, Costumes by Macy Lyne, Sound by Shawn St. John, and Props by Tina Montgomery.
Performances of EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. All performances are held at The Midtown Arts Theatre Center (MATCH). Tickets can be ordered online (catastrophictheatre.com OR matchouston.org) or by phone (713-521-4533). ALL PERFORMANCES ARE PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN.
Season tickets can be ordered online (catastrophictheatre.com) or by phone (713-521-4533). Subscribers can purchase a 6-play package containing Evening At the Talk House, Rhinoceros, Leap and the Net Will Appear, Small Ball, The Strangerer, and Jim Lehrer and the Theatre and its Double and Jim Lehrer's Double; prices range from $180-$210.
Wallace Shawn has enjoyed well-received productions of THE FEVER at such venues as The New York Shakespeare Festival, Second Stage, and the Mark Taper Forum. This one-man play, which he both wrote and starred in, received a 1990 Obie Award. Mr. Shawn has had six plays produced at Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York, including MARIE AND BRUCE, A THOUGHT IN THREE PARTS, THE MANDRAKE (translated from Niccolo Machiavelli), and the Obie-award-winning OUR LATE NIGHT. His THE HOTEL PLAY had a highly successful run at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in the summer of 1981. Mr. Shawn's play AUNT DAN AND LEMON premiered at The Royal Court Theatre, London, in the summer of 1985 and enjoyed a subsequent New York run at The Public Theater. With Andre Gregory, he wrote the screenplay and performed in the film "My Dinner with Andre." As an actor, Mr. Shawn has also appeared in such films as "Mahattan," "Simon," "Starting Over," "All that Jazz," "The Hotel New Hampshire," and "We're No Angels."
Formed in 2007 by Jason Nodler, Tamarie Cooper, The Catastrophic Theatre is Houston's premier creator and producer of new work for the theatre. The nationally acclaimed organization is dedicated to developing productions that foster a meaningful exchange between artists and audiences. A recipient of two prestigious MAP Fund commissioning grants, the theatre has gained an international reputation for its original pieces, which have attracted audiences from across the United States, Europe, and Australia. Artistic director Jason Nodler is the recipient of a NEA/MacDowell Colony fellowship, a Houston Press Mastermind award, and an unsolicited and unrestricted creative grant from Creative Capital. Named Houston's Best Theatre Company by the Houston Press in 2009, The Catastrophic Theatre offers Houston audiences a repertoire of challenging, innovative work that can't be seen anywhere else in the country.