Shotgun, Part Two in Katrina Cycle, Will Premiere at Southern Rep in New Orleans

News   Shotgun, Part Two in Katrina Cycle, Will Premiere at Southern Rep in New Orleans Aimée Hayes, the newly named artistic director of Southern Rep, the major resident Equity theatre in New Orleans, has selected two world premieres — Sick and the Hurricane Katrina-inspired Shotgun — for the troupe's 2008-09 season.

Three regional premieres, Speech and Debate, The Dying City and The Seafarer, are also part of the mix.

(Hayes' appointment as Southern Rep's new artistic director was made public April 9. She has been managing director there for 15 months, and succeeds Ryan Rilette, who resigned after six years serving as producing artistic director to take the position of managing director at Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, CA.)

Prior to the launch of the 2008-09 mainstage series in the fall, the entry in the Rep's City Series, which supports local theatre companies, is Private Eyes by Steven Dietz, presented by the Golden Eagle Theatre Company, July 10-27. Andrew Elliott directs the comedy about an obsessive suspicious actor, his unfaithful wife, a playboy director and a mysterious stranger.

Southern Rep's City Series "helps emerging theatre companies take flight with all kinds of assistance, from marketing and box office to access to Southern Rep's Unified Scene/Prop Shop."

The Southern Rep mainstage season begins Sept. 3-28 with the hot Off-Broadway play, Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam. Hayes directs the darkly funny coming-of-age play about high school misfits aching to express themselves. This marks the play's Southern premiere. The Seafarer, Conor McPherson's Irish play about a tense card game — with the devil as one of the gamblers — plays Nov. 5-Dec. 7. Mark Routhier, director of artistic development at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, directs.

Dying City, Christopher Shinn's Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama about a therapist whose husband is killed in Iraq — and whose twin brother shows up on the doorstep — plays Jan. 14-Feb. 8, 2009. Julie Hamberg will direct the two-actor play.

Hayes will direct Zayd Dohrn's "wickedly wise" Sick, playing March 11-April 5, 2009. The title is part of the National New Play Network's "rolling" world-premiere program that allows several companies to present the same play. The play is billed as "an uproarious look at a family of germ-o-phobes who have severe allergies to everything from Cheez-Whiz and cleaning supplies to city air."

Dohrn is a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at Juilliard and has garnered playwriting residencies at Alchemy Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre in London.

The play will have three successive "rolling" openings in 2008-09: at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas and then New Jersey Rep, culminating with Southern Rep's production.

John Biguenet's Shotgun, the second play in his Rising Water cycle, is scheduled to make its world premiere May 6-31, 2009. A director will be announced.

Set four months after the New Orleans flood that followed Hurricane Katrina, the play focuses on "four New Orleanians, white and black living under one roof," trying "to rebuild their lives in a city still in shambles," according to Southern Rep. "Seething racial tensions, however — stoked by local politicians — bubble to the surface when love blossoms."

Biguenet was honored with the inaugural Theatre Person of the Year Award at the 2007 Big Easy Awards. Southern Rep's production of Biguenet's Rising Water also won the Best Original Play Award and was Southern Rep's best-selling play ever.

Southern Rep's theatre is located on the third floor in The Shops at Canal Place, a world-class shopping center on the edge of the historic French Quarter.

For more information about Southern Rep, visit www.southernrep.com or call (504) 522-6545.

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A director, actor and producer, Aimée Hayes has worked in theatre for over 20 years. She has directed more than 30 productions in New York, regionally and in her hometown, New Orleans. As a key member of the company at Vital Theatre in New York City, Hayes directed five new plays as well as co-producing and directing 'Make Nice?! My Ass!' The Republican Convention Welcome Wagon, a summer-long weekly event.

Hayes produced and directed the Red Light District Variety Show at Le Chat Noir in New Orleans (with the infamous Mayor Nagin puppet) that recently ended after three seasons.

Other theatre positions include: founder of two theatre companies; and company manager at Vital Theatre in New York City and artistic associate at The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane.

While at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Hayes was a directing intern under past-director Jon Jory, "who impressed upon me that the most important element in the theatre is the playwright. And that is Southern Rep's absolute mandate," stated Hayes. She earned her Masters of Fine Art from Tulane University.