Bush Is a War Criminal in New Lee Blessing Play Set for Philly's InterAct; Season Announced

News   Bush Is a War Criminal in New Lee Blessing Play Set for Philly's InterAct; Season Announced InterAct Theatre Company, the Philadelphia troupe that produces plays with political or social relevance, announced its 22nd Mainstage Season, to feature three world premieres including a provocative-sounding new play by Lee Blessing.

Tony Award nominee Blessing's When We Go Upon the Sea is "set in a high-end hotel room at The Hague [and] imagines former President George W. Bush on the eve of his trial for international war crimes," according to InterAct.

The new play — from the author of the Tony-nominated, Pulitzer Prize finalist, A Walk in the Woods — was commissioned by InterAct in 2008 through its 20/20 New Play Commission program.

"Tended to by an inscrutable Dutch butler and an alluring masseuse, the President embarks on a long night of drinking, joking and ruminating, revealing along the way his most deeply held beliefs — that the American people crave a kind of paternal leadership; that we simultaneously love and fear our leaders, and, ultimately, unintentionally deify them," according to InterAct. "When We Go Upon the Sea takes aim at an American populace that has grown strikingly complacent in the wake of extraordinary global challenges, ultimately revealing the world's most intriguing and influential conflict: the battle between the elected leader of the free world and a democracy of millions."

Paul Meshejian will direct the production, set to run April 9-May 9, 2010.

InterAct Theatre will open its 2009-10 season with the world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz. Produced as "theatre in the ring," Chad Deity will be performed at Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, marking the company's first production away from InterAct's artistic home on the Mainstage at The Adrienne since moving there in 1997. "Set in the larger-than-life world of professional wrestling and fueled by rich, urban language, Chad Deity pits long-time reigning T.H.E. Wrestling champion, Chad Diety, against Vigneshwar Paduar, a trash-talking, Indian-born athlete recruited from the streets of Brooklyn," according to InterAct. "Casting the young upstart as an anti-hero extremist from 'over there' who intends to catapult himself to fame by overthrowing the 'all-American' Chad Deity, T.H.E. Wrestling's C.E.O. envisions a showdown that will intensify wrestling fans' fear of terrorism and globalization in order to mass market an epic battle of Good vs. Evil." The production (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) will feature Juan Pacheco and will be directed by artistic director Seth Rozin.

In January 2010, InterAct will present the world premiere of City Numbers: Mixtape of a City, which originated out of a collaboration between InterAction (InterAct's education program) and the City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts program.

City of Numbers "was created by playwright Sean Christopher Lewis as part of an outreach effort in which he interviewed lifetime inmates at Graterford prison about their work as mural artists. [It] has grown into a dynamic one-man tour de force performance that interweaves the stories of dozens of Philadelphians — from convicted murderers to victims' relatives to physicians to artists to community leaders to Mayor Michael Nutter. As a sobering, moving and, ultimately, uplifting portrait of a city gripped by violent crime, City of Numbers reveals both the sharp divisions and deep sense of community that define the City of Brotherly Love."

Directed by Seth Rozin, City of Numbers begins Jan. 22 and runs through Feb. 21, 2010.

InterAct's season concludes with the regional premiere of Black Pearl Sings!, Frank Higgins' play with music "that follows the journey of two extraordinary women — one African American, one Caucasian — each of whom is dependent on the other to gain acceptance in society."

According to InterAct, "in Depression-era Texas, Susannah, a song collector for the Library of Congress, tracks down Pearl, a woman imprisoned for murder, hoping to record the treasure trove of spirituals and African folk songs that only Pearl knows."

Featuring live a cappella renditions of little-known American folk songs, Black Pearl Sings! "chronicles a powerful story about being a woman in a man's world, being Black in a White world, and losing one's soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity."

Directed by Seth Rozin and featuring C. Kelly Wright, it will play May 28-June 27, 2010.

Subscription purchases may be made by calling InterAct's box office at (215) 568-8079 or by visiting www.InterActTheatre.org.