Wilma Will Give Our Class Its U.S. Premiere in 2011-12; Annie Baker, Angels, Sam Shepard Also Planned

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10 Mar 2011

The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia's resident theatre company that does not shy away from international works and intellectually stimulating fare, will open its 2011-12 season with the U.S. premiere of Our Class by Polish playwright Tadeusz Słobodzianek.



The English version of the play is by Ryan Craig. Blanka Zizka will direct. Performances will play Oct. 12-Nov. 13.

"Since its 2009 world premiere at London's National Theatre, audiences and critics alike have been deeply moved by the stories within this historic play of ten classmates — five Jewish and five Catholic — in 1925 Poland," according to Wilma notes. "As the children grow up amidst weddings, births, and celebrations, their country is torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet and then German. Each of their lives takes dramatically unexpected turns as friends betray friends and violence quickly escalates reaching a crescendo that forever changes history. Based on true events in the Polish town of Jedwabne, Our Class bravely explores a controversial subject historians continue to debate today."

Programming for the upcoming season was announced on March 10.

The season will also include:

Body Awareness (Philadelphia Premiere)
By Annie Baker
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Jan. 4-Feb. 5, 2012

"Director Anne Kauffman thrilled Wilma audiences in 2010 with the smash hit Becky Shaw, winning a Barrymore for Best Director. She returns to Philadelphia next season to direct another Off-Broadway hit comedy. Welcome to Shirley State College, Vermont where it's Body Awareness Week. In charge of the week's festivities, college professor Phyllis has anything but a conventional life with girlfriend Joyce and her son Jared. But when a visiting artist brings his photographs of nude women into their home, conflicting feelings over sexuality and identity get passionately stirred up. Nominated for the Drama Desk Best New Play award, this hilarious send-up of political correctness is by Obie Award-winning playwright Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation)."

Curse of the Starving Class
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Richard Hamburger
March 7-April 8, 2012

"We meet the wildly unpredictable Tate family during the changing tides of the 1970s American West. Financially ruined, their farm is in chaos and the debt collectors are getting increasingly ruthless. The story whirlwinds with dark comedy and captivating twists as each family member goes to fantastic extremes grappling with a 'curse' that continues to resonate today."

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
By Tony Kushner
Directed by Blanka Zizka
May 23-June 24, 2012

"The most honored play in a generation concludes the Wilma's 2011-12 season — and then returns for the 20th anniversary of Part Two: Perestroika to kick off 2012-2013. Winner of two Tony Awards for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize, Angels in America melds love, hate, religion, and politics into a uniquely American epic. The year is 1985. In New York City, Roy Cohn, the politically powerful right-wing lawyer angrily denies his diagnosis of AIDS while his protégé — a court clerk and Republican Mormon — struggles with a Valium-addicted wife. Simultaneously, an abandoned yet spirited gay man begins to hear messages from a supernatural being that build to an exhilarating conclusion."

The Wilma Theater is located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. For more information and tickets, visit wilmatheater.org or call (215) 546-7824.

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According to its mission statement, "The Wilma Theater exists to present theatre as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. We accomplish our mission by producing thoughtful, well-crafted, productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints and production styles."