WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE to Open Book-It Rep's 26th Season

Book-It Repertory Theatre presents WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE, named for Raymond Carver's 1981 famed short story collection, as the opening production in its 26th season. Pulled from the company's repertoire, these four stories have been adapted for the stage and directed by Book-It Founder and Co-Artistic Director Jane Jones. WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE will play at the Center Theatre at the Armory September 22 - October 18, 2015. Tickets range from $25 - $50.

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE comprises four stories from different points in Raymond Carver's career: The Student's Wife (1964), WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE (1981), Cathedral (1983), and Intimacy (1986). These tales depict differing kinds of love -- not all of which are the happy-ending variety -- and all follow the experiences of the author over time. Book-It places the four stories into the hands of its cast of four actors: Andrew DeRycke, Tracy Hyland, Kevin McKeon, and Carol Roscoe.

In his short lifetime (he died at age 50 of cancer) Raymond Carver crafted a body of work that included dozens of short stories and poetry collections. Carver's writing is characterized by his subjects -- hard-working, blue-collar people with whom he strongly identified -- and also by his style: terse and unsentimental, often referred to as "dirty realism." Born in Oregon, Carver was educated in his youth in Yakima, Washington, and later in California, Iowa, and Texas. He married at age twenty and had two children by the time he was 24; that fraught marriage dissolved over time; throughout it Carver suffered from alcoholism. His own experience with relationships and substance abuse factors prominently in his gritty stories. Carver became involved with poet Tess Gallagher whom he married in the last year of his life. He died in 1988 and is buried not far from the home he and Gallagher shared in Port Angeles, Wash. Carver's short story and poetry collections include Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (first published 1976), Furious Seasons (1977), WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE (1981), Cathedral (1983), Elephant (1988), Near Klamath (1968), Winter Insomnia (1970), At Night The Salmon Move (1976), Fires (1983), Where Water Comes Together With Other Water (1985), and others.

Director/Adapter Jane Jones has long been a champion of WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE and all of Carver's writing. She first directed a version of four Carver stories that was co-adapted by several members of the Book-It company in the middle-1990s; that adaptation was refined and brought to the company's main stage in the 1998-99 season. In bringing What We Talk About... to the stage in 2015, Jones has refreshed the adaptations and changed out one story to fully realize her vision of Carver's oeuvre. Jones is the founding co-artistic director of Book-It Repertory Theatre with critically acclaimed direction of works to her credit both with the company -- notably the Gregory Award-winning Cider House Rules, Parts One and Two -- and as a guest director with Cornish College of the Arts, the University of Washington, and Portland Center Stage, where she will direct Great Expectations early in 2016. She and her co-artistic director partner, Myra Platt, are responsible for having brought more than 100 novels and stories to the stage since founding Book-It in 1990.

Book-It's production of WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE features actors Andrew DeRycke* (A Tale of Two Cities, Border Songs), Tracy Hyland* (Anna Karenina, Rhoda: A Life in Stories), Kevin McKeon (Cowboys Are My Weakness, Persuasion, A Confederacy of Dunces), and Carol Roscoe* (Persuasion). (* denotes AEA member).

The What We Talk About... design team includes Scenic Designer Burton Yuen, Costume Designer Chelsea Cook (She's Come Undone, The Dog of the South) Lighting Designer Tristan Roberson, and Sound Designer Nathan Wade (Truth Like the Sun, Jesus' Son, The Dog of the South).

Tickets for WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE range from $25 - $50. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office 206-216-0833. The company offers 4-show subscription packages for this season's offerings.

The remaining productions in the company's 26th season are: Emma, by Jane Austen, the 200th anniversary production is adapted by Rachel Atkins and directed by Carol Roscoe; and next spring's two productions are Parts One (Joy to the Wordl!) and Two (The Left Stuff) of David James Duncan's "great American novel you haven't read yet," The Brothers K, adapted and directed by Myra Platt (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Financial Lives of the Poets). All four productions will be produced at the Center Theatre in the Armory.

Along with its slate of mainstage productions, Book-It's Arts and Education Program tours to schools across the state with three productions annually. This year the productions are: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett performed in Spanish and English; A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, by Jen Bryant; and Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo. These productions travel to schools, libraries, and community centers reaching more than 60,000 people throughout Washington. Touring performances may be booked by calling 206-428-6319.

Now in its 26th season, under the consistent leadership of its Founding Co-Artistic Directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt, Book-It is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming great literature into fully staged theatrical experiences. Embracing a simple, sensitive production aesthetic, the company endeavors to spark imagination and inspire audiences to read. Book-It Repertory Theatre received a 2010 Mayor's Arts Award and a 2012 Governor's Arts Award. The company's education department reaches 60,000+ young people annually throughout Washington State.

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