Thurber's five-play cycle launches in August, with productions to be staged on the Cherry Lane Theatre's studio and mainstages, as well as the Axis Theatre, the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the New Ohio Theatre. It is part of Theater: Village, the inaugural West Village Theater Festival.
The Hill Town Plays, a collection of new and existing works, according to the Rattlestick, "tells the story of a woman who works her way into a new life from a childhood of poverty, alcoholism and abuse. Each play examines a pivotal stage of the character’s life, spanning from a childhood in a poor mill town in Western Mass through adulthood as a successful author. The Hill Town Plays investigate where we come from, what we dream of becoming and who we are."
The plays include: Scarcity (directed by Daniel Talbott, Aug. 14-Sept. 28 at the Cherry Lane Studio); Where We're Born (directed by Jackson Gay, Aug. 14-Sept. 28 at the Rattlestick); Killers and Other Family (directed by Caitriona McLaughlin, Aug. 14-Sept. 28 at the Axis Theatre); the world premiere of Ashville (directed by Karen Allen, Aug. 21-Sept. 28 at the Cherry Lane Mainstage); and Stay (directed by GT Upchurch, Aug. 21-Sept. 28 at the New Ohio Theatre). The Rattlestick previously produced Where We're Born, Killers and Other Family and Stay.
Here's a further look at the Rattlestick season:
Produced in association with Cherry Lane Theatre
Written by Charles Fuller
Directed by Clinton Turner Davis
Oct. 16–Dec. 7 at the Cherry Lane Theatre Mainstage
"One Night… takes an unflinching look at what has happened to women in the US Armed Forces when their decision to serve their country exposes them to an unforeseen battle against their fellow soldiers. Home from war, One Night… explores the lingering effects of trauma and injustice and one woman's recompense."
How to Make Friends and then Kill Them
Written by Halley Feiffer
Directed by Kip Fagan
Oct. 23-Dec. 14 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
"Left to their own devices by their alcoholic mother, Ada and Sam cultivate an insular world into which they soon draw a third wheel – a pockmarked, limping wallflower named Dorrie. In the years spanning childhood to young adulthood, these three troubled girls learn to lean on each other completely, finding ways to fill each other up and to tear each other down. But when a horrible accident turns their reality upside down, they find they must decide whether they will continue to foster their familiar, codependent cycle, or whether they will break free, with or without each other's aid."
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Feb. 5–March 23, 2014, at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
"A grieving husband hires a dying woman to deliver a message to his recently deceased wife in the afterlife. When he receives letters signed by his wife, describing events that only she could know, he’s faced with determining if the correspondence is from a con artist or actually from a ghost."
Ode to Joy
Written and directed by Craig Lucas
Feb. 12–April 12, 2014, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Mainstage
"Ode to Joy tells the story of love, heartbreak, addiction, and illness through the eyes of Adele, an audacious painter and her destructive relations with Mala and Bill, her two lovers."
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by Davis McCallum
April 16–May 31, 2014, at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
"Four years ago Bryan abandoned his labor of love, a newspaper for truckers. Now he's returned–with no word of where he's been–and things have changed. His former lover is filled with rage, his new coworker is filled with incessant adoration, and his paper is filled with personal ads. As he considers giving up for good, Bryan searches for what he couldn't find on the road: a way to keep faith in humanity."
Subscriptions to the Rattlestick season are currently available. Visit Rattlestick.org.