The past season saw Philadelphia, PA's Wilma Theatre offering works by Tom Stoppard and Dael Orlandersmith — and next season will, too. Stoppard's Indian Ink and Orlandersmith's latest solo, Yellowman, will both be part of the Wilma's 2001-02 season, as will Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and a U.S. Premiere of Jason Sherman's drama, Patience.
Patience opens the season, Sept. 19-Oct. 21, and tells of a slick, deal-making corporate honcho facing a series of catastrophes, a la the biblical Job. The drama, staged by co-artistic director Blanka Zizka, ultimately puts the exec into a situation where he can make sense of his life. But will he?
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