Amy Freed's Freedomland has received much attention since achieving runner-up status for this year's Pulitzer Prize. But audiences have a few more days to catch the play Freed wrote before Freedomland. Her black comedy, The Psychic Life of Savages, started previews at Philadelphia's Wilma Theatre May 6, and opened there May 13 for a run through June 7.
Laura Esterman, who won Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle laurels for her work in Marvin's Room, stars in the play. Her other credits include The Show-Off and God's Favorite on Broadway, and The American Clock and Two Rooms at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre.
Co-starring are Rita Pietro Pinto, Maggie Siff, Joe Guzman, Will Marchetti, Sally Mercer and T. Ryder Smith.
Savages takes a fictionalized look at poets Sylvia Plath, Ted Morgan, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell, dissecting and celebrating the eccentricities of these "absurd, fragile and magnificent animals." Freed proudly calls herself, "an examiner of pathologies."
"As a woman in the 90s," Freed wrote, "I can relate to these particular individuals and what they went through to find their artistic voice." Produced by Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre in a mounting that won a 1995 Charles McArthur Award for outstanding new play, Savages also won the New York Arts Club's prestigious $10,000 Joseph Kesselring Award. Other plays by Freed include Still Warm and The Ghoul of Amherst.
Directing Savages is the Wilma's co-artistic director, Blanka Zizka, who has staged such works there as Travesties and When She Danced. Painting up these Savages will be Anne Paterson (set & costumes), Russell Champa (lighting) and Eileen Tague (sound).
For tickets ($20-$36) and information on The Psychic Life of Savages at the Wilma Theatre on Broad St. in Philadelphia call (215) 546-STAGE.
-- By David Lefkowitz