Nervous Rex: Show Folk Caught Up in Craig Lucas' Small Tragedy, Opening March 11

News   Nervous Rex: Show Folk Caught Up in Craig Lucas' Small Tragedy, Opening March 11
The incestuous world of theatre companies, replete with egos, crushes, competitions and artistic questions, is explored in Craig Lucas' new play, Small Tragedy, opening in a world premiere run by Playwrights Horizons March 11.
Lee Pace in Small Tragedy
Lee Pace in Small Tragedy Photo by Joan Marcus

The tale of Boston actors — all of them outside the mainstream — staging a tiny production of Oedipus Rex expands beyond showbiz soap opera to address global issues in this ambitious work by the playwright of The Dying Gaul, Reckless, Prelude to a Kiss and The Light in the Piazza. Previews began Feb. 17 at PH's mainstage Off-Broadway.

Mark Wing-Davey directs a company that includes The cast features Lee Pace, Mary Shultz, Rob Campbell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Daniel Eric Gold and Ana Reeder.

Part of the script and production's theatrical conceit includes overlapping dialogue as the audience processes the multiple explorations (personal and professional) between the artists. A rehearsal hall is the main setting, but local bars, characters' homes and the Boston theatre's stage are conjured in the highly theatrical production.

The play "commences with auditions for an out-of-town production of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and progresses through rehearsals, where backstage relationships among the six-member cast threaten to sabotage the production," according to Playwrights Horizons. "As rehearsals continue, hidden truths emerge, and reality begins to emulate Oedipus in startling ways."

Designers are Douglas Stein (set), Marina Draghici (costumes), Jennifer Tipton (lighting) and John Gromada (sound). For information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit


Mark Wing-Davey recently directed Henry V in Central Park and a unique dual staging of King Lear at PlayMakers Rep in North Carolina (audiences chose either the entire First Folio version at more than three hours or a trimmed version, on different nights).

Wing-Davey is perhaps still best known for his memorable work on Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, in which both Campbell and Shultz appeared. Other credits include the Public Theater's 36 Views and The Skriker.

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