Ellen McLaughlin provided one of the most memorable theatre images of the 1990s, playing the angel in Angels in America, before turning to play writing. Now, she is preparing the debut of her latest drama, Tongue of a Bird for a Sept. 17 opening at Seattle's Intiman Theatre.
One unusual aspect of the production: everyone in the cast, design and production team is a woman, led by director Lisa Peterson. Seattle previews begin Sept. 13; the production runs through Oct. 12.
A London premiere at the prestigious Almeida Theatre has already been scheduled for Nov. 4 with a separate cast and production team.
Tongue of a Bird is described as "the powerful and poetic story of a search-and-rescue pilot who hunts for an abducted girl, while trying to come to terms with the loss of her own mother. . . about one woman's lost child, and another's lost childhood."
The cast consists of Allison Bacich, Sheila Tousey, Judith Roberts, Sheila M. Tousey and Jennifer Van Dyck. The production team includes costume designer Candice Cain, dramaturg Liz Engelman, lighting designer Mary Louise Geiger, set designer Rachel Hauk and composer/sound designer Gina Leishman. Originally commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the play was developed in Seattle in a February 1997 reading on the "New Voices at Intiman" series. The mainstage premiere was made possible by a grant from "AT&T OnStage."
McLaughlin's other plays include "Iphigenia and Other Daughters," "A Narrow Bed," "Infinity's House" and "Days and Nights Within."
Tickets for the Seattle production cost $18.50 to $31. For tickets or information: (206) 269-1900 or (206) 292-ARTS.
-- By Robert Viagas