CSC Announces Kate Hamill And Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm Adapting Gothic Horror Works
Classic Stage Company continues its recently established repertory series which provides a platform, and freedom in the creative process, to today's most exciting emerging theater artists with two new adaptations of canonical gothic horror works based on novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. CSC has commissioned 2017 Wall Street Journal Playwright of the Year and one of the US' 10 Most Produced Playwrights of the 2018-2019 season, Kate Hamill, to take on Dracula, while Smith Prize for Political Theater and Helen Hayes Award-winning playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm will create a new version of Frankenstein.Popularly known as a pair of macabre fantasies about blood-sucking vampires and man-made monsters, Dracula and Frankenstein illuminate and exorcise some of humanity's most fundamental fears surrounding life, love, and death. The productions will be performed in repertory January-March 2020.
With its new repertory series, CSC continues to expand its panoramic view of what constitutes a classic. The program launched earlier this season with a pair of productions in which emerging directors offered fresh perspectives on socially searing works by August Strindberg. Shariffa Ali directed Yae l Farber's Mies Julie, adapted from Miss Julie, and Victoria Clark helmed The Dance of Death, in a new version by Conor McPherson.
Classic Stage Company Artistic Director John Doyle says, Kate and Tearrance are two tremendously talented playwrights with distinct voices exhibited in both their original and adaptive works. Most excitingly, when they reimagine a treasured classic, be it anything from Pride and Prejudice to Pygmalion, neither simply recreates the original they put their personal touch on the work, making a familiar story come alive as if being newly experienced for the first time. This aesthetic is essential to reinvigorating often retold, yet beloved tales for today's audiences and we are thrilled to have them join us at CSC next season.
Both Chisholm and Hamill have a deep history of penning vital adaptations of classics. Hamill garnered resounding acclaim for her feminist reconsiderations of classic novels centering complex women characters, such as Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park. Her work as a playwright celebrates theatricality and closely examines social and gender issues. Her adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility was hailed for expand[ing] and magnif[ying] Austen's delicate comic worldview (The New York Times, in a Critic's Pick review), while the Wall Street Journal described her stage version of William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair as a masterpiece of creative compression a dead-serious romp whose implicit feminism has been given a sharper point by Ms. Hamill.
Chisholm's works take on convention-breaking structures while examining themes of race and representation in America. His play Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies was described by The Washington Post as a breathtakingly on-point new comedy, with an impressive script loaded with barbed observations and bearing a wild, fantastical streak. and The Guardian called his Br'er Cotton profound bold, brave and very, very funny. Chisholm's most recent play, P.Y.G., or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle, evoked a classic George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion in a reality TV-formatted satire of the appropriation and commodification of Black culture and music.
As previously announced, CSC's 2019-2020 season will be bookended by two John Doyle-directed productions William Shakespeare's Macbeth(October-December 2019) and Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins (April-June, 2020). Classic Stage Company 2019-2020 season memberships are available now. For information, please visit classicstage.org. Season tickets will go on sale at a later date.