By Carey Purcell
01 Jul 2014
"The Gift's fourteenth season is dedicated to the searchers; everyday people who are compelled to traverse the icy Antarctic continent, the bright heavens and the dark interior of the human mind for identity, family and peace," artistic director and co-founder Michael Patrick Thornton said in a statement. "It is a season of existential tailspins, epic journeys and rebirths. Each play manages to be hilarious, heartfelt and absolutely enchanting.
"At The Gift, we always say that every great play was once a new play," he continued. "For me, the most powerful stories remind us of our power to create a new self; to choose to be the phoenix. I'm ecstatic that our 2015 season will be our first season dedicated entirely to the New."
The Royal Society of Antarctica, by Mat Smart, will begin performances in March 2015, directed by Sheldon Patinkin. Here's how the production is billed: "Dee returns to her birthplace at the blindingly bright McMurdo Station in Antarctica to work as a janitor and seek answers to her mother's disappearance in this wonderfully weird and touching new play."
The season will continue with William Nedved's Body & Blood, which will play in July. Marti Lyons will direct a cast that includes Jim Farruggio, Gabriel Franken, Lynda Newton, Cyd Blakewell and Nicholas Harazin. "Dan finally finds his calling in life – and it sends all of his loved ones spiraling into a spiritual crisis in this smart, searching and hilarious new play from The Gift co-founder and playwright of Northwest High," press notes state.
The season will continue with a newly expanded version of David Rabe's Good For Otto, which will begin performances in September. Originally written in 1999 as a one-act presented as a staged reading with Meryl Streep, Jill Clayburgh, Sam Waterston, Edward Herrmann and Henry Gummer as a fundraiser for the Northwest Center for Mental Health in Connecticut, the play receives its first full-length production at The Gift.
"What every playwright wants to know is that the people doing their play will love it and care for it," Rabe said in a statement. "I watched The Gift do a cold read of Good For Otto and was thrilled by what they did and revealed; the level of their acting is exceptional. Given their previous productions of my work as well as their strong reputation of supporting new plays, I'm excited by this opportunity to work with The Gift on the world premiere of Good For Otto. It needs a true ensemble with heart and smart, humor and hurt, and that is precisely what The Gift is."
The Gift Theatre is located at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. Visit thegifttheatre.org for more information.