Far Away played the New York Theatre Workshop in fall 2002 and extended following positive reviews. The odd, fragmentary work, which runs about an hour in length, takes place in an unnamed, future dystopia where animals and plants take sides in a worldwide war and hatmakers are put to work to extremely strange ends. Lisa Portes directs Karen Aldridge. Dates are Feb. 12-March 14, 2004.
Yellowman is Orlandersmith's tale of the friendship, and then romantic relationship between a heavy, dark-skinned woman and a light skinned man. The backdrop is the Gullah country of South Carolina, where racial differences between dark- and light-skinning blacks are almost as important as those between blacks and whites. Chuck Smith directs Jacqueline Williams. Dates are April 22-May 23.
The remainder of the season includes Martin Crimp's adaptation of Moliere's The Misanthrope (Nov. 13-Dec. 14) and Voices from Jerusalem compiled and edited by Jason Loewith (March 18-21, 2004).
Next is a respected nonprofit Chicago-area troupe with a "commitment to raising sociopolitical awareness," and a history of hosting Chicago premieres and original works. For the most part, its seasons are filled the serious dramas. Founded in 1981, one of its earliest hits was the Chicago debut of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart. Tracy Lett's Off Broadway hit Killer Joe had its world premiere at Next. The theatre won four consecutive Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Ensemble between 1999 and 2002.
Next is located in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL. For more information, call (847) 475-6763.