By Robert Simonson
25 Apr 2005
Loosely based on a true story, the play "tells the story of 16-year-old Henry, a confused and emotionally isolated young man who writes letters to the Devil, unbeknownst to his deeply religious father, Steven. Henry’s younger sister Lilja lies silent in a coma from a mysterious childhood accident in the family swimming pool. For a number of years, Lilja has been visited by miracles. The sick have begun flocking to this silent child’s bedside, praying to be healed, and hundreds claim that their prayers have been answered because of Lilja. When a reporter from NPR, Beth, comes into the house to do a story about Lilja and her miracles, Henry opens up to her and confesses that he plans to disconnect Lilja’s breathing ventilator and allow her to die. Beth must then decide whether she should expose Henry’s plan. Along the way Beth must confront her own assumptions about Faith, Spirituality, and the intrinsic value of human life."
Given the recent Terri Schiavo controversy, in which politicians, courts, lobbyists, activists, the media and Schiavo's family members fought publicly over whether the long bedridden and physically incapacitated Terri should have her feeding tube removed or not, Belluso's play will no doubt resonate with audiences.
John Belluso's Pyretown was recently produced by the Keen Company.
Tim Daly is best known for playing Joe Hackett on the hit sitcom "Wings." He is currently a regular on the series "Eyes." In theatre he has starred in the Broadway production of Coastal Disturbances, Oliver, Oliver at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and Mass Appeal and Bus Stop at Trinity Rep. He recently finished co-directing (with Clark Mathis) his directorial debut, "Bereft," starring Vinessa Shaw, Marsha Mason, Edward Herrmann, Tim Blake Nelson and Michael C. Hall. His film acting roles include "Diner" and "The Object of My Affection."
Set and costume design will be by Victoria Imperioli, with lighting design by Tony Giovanetti and Rachel Connors.
Studio Dante was created by Michael and Victoria Imperioli to develop new theatre work. Though best known for "The Sopranos," Imperioli has worked on such New York stage productions as Aven'u Boys, Displaced Persons, Half Deserted Street, The Writing on the Wall and Little Blood Brother. Victoria, meanwhile, has worked in the areas of architecture and design, having studied those disciplines at The School of Visual Arts.