Lantern Theater Company Will Continue its 2019/20 Season with the Philadelphia Premiere of THE VERTICAL HOUR
Lantern Theater Company continues its 2019/20 season with the Philadelphia premiere of The Vertical Hour, renowned British playwright David Hare's rich and intellectually gripping play about a family trying to come together and the secrets that may keep them apart. Lantern resident director Kathryn MacMillan directs a cast that includes Lantern veterans Geneviève Perrier, Joe Guzmán, and Marc LeVasseur with newcomers Sydney Banks and Ned Pryce.
With The Vertical Hour, the Lantern returns to the work of playwright David Hare following critically acclaimed productions of The Breath of Life in 2010 and Skylight in 2008. Originally an actor, Hare has written extensively for stage, film, and television and is now considered one of the most accomplished living playwrights. Along with co-founding Portable Theatre Company and Joint Stock Theatre Group, he has served as resident dramatist at London's Royal Court Theatre and resident dramatist at the Nottingham Playhouse. His best known plays include Plenty, Knuckle, Fanshen, Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy, The Secret Rapture, Amy's View, and The Judas Kiss. His film work includes Academy Award-nominated adapted screenplays for The Hours and The Reader. Hare has been the associate director of The National Theatre since 1984, and he was knighted in 1998.
"David Hare is one of the few playwrights that can make political themes the play's central argument, yet still make the play compelling as a simple human story," noted Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "His particular talent as a playwright is to blend the personal with the political such that the two illuminate one another sharply. Ironically, much of what he thus illuminates are the openings of shadowy passages that lead to deeper mysteries about the causes of human action - and the clarity he brings to one theme of human obsession reveals deeper ambiguities underlying other personal dramas. This is the intellectual and moral arena that Hare illustrates so well. In so doing, he accomplishes what our theatrical art form does best: to bring us to a place of deeper empathy and humility with respect to ourselves and our neighbors, near and far."
"Hare creates plays where there is always more going on beneath the surface," said Lantern Resident Director Kathryn MacMillan, who helms this production. "As with all of his plays, The Vertical Hour deals with major social and political themes at an intimate, human scale - the scale of two people hashing it out, deciding what it means to live, and live right. These are plays that live vividly in the intimacy of the Lantern's performance space." MacMillan has directed more than 20 plays at the Lantern, including recent productions of Betrayal, Don't Dress for Dinner, Arcadia, and Mrs. Warren's Profession, as well as the Lantern's 2010 production of Hare's The Breath of Life. Her other directing credits include productions with Theatre Horizon, Delaware Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Inis Nua Theatre Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company, MBL Productions, and Tiny Dynamite, where she serves as producing artistic director.
Lantern Theater Company will delve into the themes of The Vertical Hour on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Published articles will explore the life and work of David Hare, the tension of U.S. idealism vs. interventionism, the psychology of war correspondents, the political context of Post-Imperial Britain, and much more. New content will be added throughout the production's run.
Tickets for The Vertical Hour start at $28 and are available online at lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Discounts are available for students, seniors 65 and up, U.S. military personnel, and groups of 10 or more. All performances of The Vertical Hour will take place at the Lantern's resident home at St. Stephen's Theater, 923 Ludlow St. in Center City Philadelphia.
About the Cast and Creative Team
Geneviève Perrier takes on the role of American war correspondent-turned-professor Nadia Blye in The Vertical Hour, her eighth production at the Lantern. Her previous Lantern credits include Betrayal (Barrymore nomination), Photograph 51 (Barrymore nomination), A Child's Christmas in Wales (Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble), Private Lives (Barrymore nomination), The Lonesome West (Barrymore nomination), The Screwtape Letters, and David Hare's Skylight, for which she was honored with the 2008 Barrymore for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play. Perrier has also worked locally with Arden Theatre Company, Azuka Theatre, The Berserker Residents, Headlong, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, EgoPo Classic Theater, Theatre Exile, and Pig Iron Theatre Company.
Joe Guzmán returns to the Lantern for his twelfth production in the role of Oliver Lucas, a retired physician and father to Nadia's fiancé, Philip. Guzmán's previous Lantern credits include 36 Views, Arcadia, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, A Doll's House, King Lear, Through the Looking Glass, Noonday Demons, Speed-The-Plow, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and Lovers and Executioners, for which he received the 1999 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play. Other local stage credits include productions with Quintessence Theatre Project, InterAct Theatre Company, People's Light, Act II Playhouse, The Wilma Theater, Passage Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon, and Philadelphia Theatre Company.
Marc LeVasseur returns to the Lantern stage for his third production as Philip Lucas. His previous Lantern credits include Don't Dress for Dinner and the title role in Oscar Wilde: From the Depths. Other local work includes productions with People's Light and Bristol Riverside Theatre. Based in New York, his Off-Broadway credits include productions with Metropolitan Playhouse, Red Bull Theatre, The Pearl, Titan Theatre Company, The Queens Players, The Flea Theater, and NY Classical.
Both newcomers to the Lantern mainstage, Sydney Banks (Terri Scholes) and Ned Pryce (Dennis Dutton) will appear as Nadia Blye's students. Banks is a recent University of the Arts graduate and has appeared locally with The Wilma Theater and On The Rocks at FringeArts. Pryce will reprise the role of Tybalt for the third year in the Lantern's annual production of Romeo & Juliet for high school audiences, which returns this spring. His other local stage credits include productions with Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Theatre Exile, Delaware Shakespeare, Hedgerow Theatre, Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company, Iron Age Theatre, and New Freedom Theatre,
The talented design team for The Vertical Hour includes scenic designer Meghan Jones (recent Lantern credits include Betrayal, Don't Dress for Dinner, The Craftsman, and many others), costume designer Alison Roberts (Minors and Don't Dress for Dinner), lighting designer Shannon Zura (Betrayal, The Craftsman, and An Iliad), and sound designer Larry D. Fowler, Jr. (Informed Consent and Photograph 51). Shannon Ryan will serve as props master and Leonard Kelly is the dialect coach.