Perhaps the singlemost flagging commodity in the new millennium is that of patience, of taking one's time in an "I want it right now" world. The protagonist of Jason Sherman's comedy-drama, Patience, comes to learn that lesson — but not before encountering a singing Rabbi, an old flame and a friend he once betrayed.
Patience opens the 23rd season at Philadelphia's Wilma Theatre, Sept. 19-Oct. 21 (opening Sept. 24), and tells of a slick, deal-making corporate honcho facing a series of catastrophes, a la the biblical Job. The drama ultimately puts the exec into a situation where he can make sense of his life. But will he?
Canadian dramatist Sherman also penned The League of Nathans and the politically-tinged, Off-Broadway family drama, Three in the Back, Two in the Head. Wilma co-artistic director Blanka Zizka, who is staging Patience, said in a statement that she was most struck by Sherman's "ability to capture the narcissism and selfishness that lies behind success in a materialistic society, but also...to make us recognize some of this narcissistic behavior in ourselves."
Designing the show are Jeremy Woodward (set), Janus Stefanowicz (costumes), Russell H. Champa (lighting) and Eileen Tague (sound). Lise Bruneau, David Chandler, Jay Edwards, Sonja Robson, Christina Ross and Jeffrey Hayenga comprise the cast.
For tickets ($26-$39) and information on Patience at the Wilma Theatre, located between Broad and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, call (215) 546-7824. *
In other Wilma season news, if dire fate manipulates the lead character in Patience, it's other people who pull the strings in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a dark comedy of two French aristocrats conspiring to ruin a virgin's reputation and perhaps destroy each other. Co-artistic director Jiri Zizka directs, Nov. 21-Dec. 23. The work, based on Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel, served as the basis for two films, Milos Forman's "Valmont" and the John Malkovich, Glenn Close and Uma Thurman starrer, "Dangerous Liaisons."
After the New Year, Dael Orlandersmith returns to the Wilma with Yellowman, Feb. 13-March 17, 2002. Blanka Zizka stages this tale of two innocent Southern soulmates who cope with race troubles and the sins of their parents. Orlandersmith's other works include Monster and Beauty's Daughter.
Closing the Wilma season, May 1-June 2, 2002, is the Philadelphia premiere of Indian Ink, set in 1930s colonial India. Stoppard's West End play concerns the dual stories of an ailing English poetess who has a complex relationship with an Indian artist and the American scholar researching her story with the help of her sister. Critics have noted the play's similarity to Stoppard's Arcadia, which has present-day scholars plumbing the past for elusive truths. Other Stoppard works include the screenplay for the Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love" and this-past season's Tony nominated drama, The Invention of Love.
For subscription information for the Wilma Theater, Broad & Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, call (215) 546-7824.
— By David Lefkowitz