Catalyst Theater Company, a new Washington, DC-area troupe devoted to rejecting conventional realistic theatre, makes its debut Nov. 19-Dec. 23 with Georg Büchner's expressionistic Woyzeck.
The David Ball translation is directed by Jesse Terrill, who also composes music for the intermissionless 75-minute staging at the Clark Street Playhouse in Arlington, VA. The show is in rep with Ionesco's MacBett, staged by Clark Street's resident group, Washington Shakespeare Company.
"They're looking for highly theatrical works...and incorporating dance, song and movement," spokesman Paul Gamble told Playbill On-Line. "Without being an avant-garde company they want to deviate from the standard forms of realism that saturate so much of theatre they see."
The Büchner production is billed as "a haunting, stylish and darkly comic exploration" of the classic, about an impoverished solider and abuses from his captain and an army doctor, to say nothing of his troubled view of his true love, Marie. Only pieces of the 19th-century work have survived over the years, leaving artists to arrange them as they see fit. German dramatist Büchner lived 1813-37. Alban Berg formed the work's scenes into the opera, Wozzeck in 1925.
The Catalyst cast includes Scott McCormick, Scott Fortier, Peter Wylie, September Marie Merkle, Maggie Glauber, Ellen Young, Richard Price, Christopher Gallu, Christopher Janson and Wendy Wilmer. Catalyst, headed by artistic director Scott Fortier, operates with an agreement with Actors' Equity and will perform in rented spaces until they settle on a home. One more play is in the works for this season, and three are being eyed for 2002-2003. The company's founding members are Fortier, Gallu, Janson, Merkle and Terrill. The board of directors includes Jim Bell, Edward Carp, Paul Gamble, Eric Hirshfeld, Keith Johnson, Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan TenHoopen.
Designers for Woyzeck are Giorgos Tsappas (set), Michele Reisch (costume), Don Slater (lighting) and Derrick Jones (properties).
Tickets are $20. Clark Street Playhouse is at 601 S. Clark St., in Arlington. For tickets or more information, call (202) 462 6386.
Director-composer Terrill has written music for production at The Shakespeare Theatre and the Olney Theatre.
— By Kenneth Jones