The Washington Stage Guild will step into the gloaming with the Washington, D.C., premiere of Ill Met by Moonlight by Irish playwright Micheal MacLiammoir, Oct. 26-Nov. 26, 2000, with press night October 28.
Based in Irish mythology, this eerie 1940s comedy by the co-founder (with Hilton Edwards) of Dublin's Gate Theatre weaves a tale of changelings in 20th century Connemara. Executive Director Ann Norton describes Ill Met by Moonlight as an "Irish Blithe Spirit, in which local myths about the otherworldly, original inhabitants prove frighteningly true and superstition is as apt as science." (Also an actor, the versatile MacLiammoir played Iago to Orson Welles' Othello in the Welles-directed 1952 film version of the Shakespearean classic, reconstructed for its 1992 reissue.)
Directed by Morgan Duncan, Ill Met by Moonlight features Conrad Feininger as irascible French folklorist Professor Sebastien Prosper, to whose home nephew Robert Mallaroe (Steven Carpenter) brings his changeable bride, Catherine (Tricia McCauley). Kathleen Coons plays his impressionable daughter, Susan, with Brian McMonagle as Lee, their harried Irish servant, Laura Giannarelli as Hamilton, Catherine's maid, who aspires to culture, Camille Licate as Bairbre, the local expert on Irish mythology, who speaks only Gaelic, and Nick Hill as Charles Lushington-Carew, an English nobleman.
Set design is by Greg Mitchell, lighting by Marianne Meadows, sound by Brian D. Keating, and costumes by Helen Hayes Award recipient William Pucilowsky.
The Washington Stage Guild produces at the Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, N.W., two blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Metro Station (13th Street Exit) on the Green Line. For information and reservations, call (240) 582-0050. The Washington Stage Guild have labeled their 15th season, "Believe It Or Not." "Believe it or not, we made it this far," on a shoe-string budget, laughed Norton, and believe or not the myths, philosophies and delusions espoused by the season's array of characters. Filling a unique niche, the Washington Stage Guild have developed a loyal audience who appreciates its mission of producing lesser-known plays by established playwrights, neglected classics and new plays of merit.
The 2000-20001 season continues with:
Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Producing Artistic Director John MacDonald. (Feb. 22-March 25, 2001) Can you serve both God and Mammon or does one take care of the other? Shaw's look at the Salvation Army and the military industrial complex at odds over our goals is as relevant today as when it premiered in London in 1905.
Inferno by Dante, directed by MacDonald, featuring Bill Largess in a tour-de-force portrayal of a wayward pilgrim's journey through the underworld on the road to redemption. (An off-night production, "Inferno" runs April 21-May 15, 2001.)
The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson (May 31-July 1, 2001). It's hard to say good-bye to those who pass on, especially if they won't go away! Three sisters gather for their mother's funeral, but the reunion becomes a confrontation over the past and a challenge to the future in the area premiere of this dark comedy. A hit in London's West End, The Memory of Water enjoyed an American premiere at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 1998, followed by a run at the Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by John Tillinger, with a cast of six, including J. Smith-Cameron.
Hughie by Eugene O'Neill, March 4-28, 2001, co-produced with Source Theatre, as part of the Source Liaison Series. A revival of last season's acclaimed production, directed by MacDonald and featuring Rick Foucheux (recipient of 2000 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor) and Morgan Duncan. This two-character drama concerns a wisecracking, self-styled "Broadway swell" (a character partially based on O'Neill's brother, Jamie), more alive in his stories and memories than in the real world.
-- by Barbara Gross
Special to Playbill On-Line