Signature Theatre to Feature Works by A.R. Gurney, Naomi Wallace, Sam Shepard and Athol Fugard in 2014-15 Season

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25 Mar 2014

A.R. Gurney, Jr.
A.R. Gurney, Jr.
Krissie Fullerton

A new work by Naomi Wallace, the U.S. premiere of Sam Shepard's A Particle of Dread and the world premiere of a new play by Athol Fugard will be featured in the Signature Theatre's 2014-15 season.

For the first time, Signature Theatre's Residency One program, which produces a series of plays from a writer's body of work, will feature two playwrights simultaneously during its season: A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace.

The season will begin in August with the U.S. premiere of Naomi Wallace's And I And Silence, directed by Caitlin McLeod, and continue with a new production of A.R. Gurney's The Wayside Motor Inn, the New York premiere of Wallace's The Liquid Plain, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and a new production of Gurney's What I Did Last Summer, directed by Jim Simpson.

Both A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace's residencies will conclude with premiere productions during Signature's 2015-16 season.

The Residency Five program, which provides a group of playwrights with the full range of Signature's resources for a period of five years to create and produce new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three premieres at The Pershing Square Signature Center, will feature the world premiere of Katori Hall's new play Our Lady of Kibeho, directed by Michael Greif.



Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan and Regina Taylor comprise the program's current playwrights.

The Legacy Program, which serves as a homecoming for playwrights featured in Signature's past seasons, will feature the U.S. premiere of A Particle of Dread by Sam Shepard (1996-97 Season Playwright-in-Residence), produced with Field Day Theater Company, directed by Nancy Meckler, and featuring Academy Award nominee Stephen Rea; Big Love by Charles Mee (2007-08 Season Playwright-in-Residence), directed by Tina Landau; and a new play written and directed by Athol Fugard (2012 Season Playwright-in-Residence).

"For our fourth season in The Pershing Square Signature Center we have assembled a very exciting group of artists and productions," founding artistic director James Houghton said in a statement. "I'm thrilled to welcome Sam, Chuck, Athol and Katori back to the company, and to add the distinctive voices of A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace to the Signature landscape, as well as collaborate with Stephen Rea's Field Day Theatre Company on the US premiere of Sam's new play. The collision of this diverse group of artists will surely be powerful for Signature and our audiences."

The season-at-a-glance follows:

Residency One
The Wayside Motor Inn
By A. R. Gurney
August-September
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

"Outside Boston, ten people — some strangers, some not — struggle with the circumstances that have brought them to the Wayside Motor Inn. With old grudges and new feuds threatening the travelers' peace, this funny and moving work kicks off A. R. Gurney's Signature Residency by examining the tenuous space between loneliness and connection, and the fragile framework of the American Dream."

What I Did Last Summer
By A. R. Gurney
Directed by Jim Simpson
May–June 2015
The Irene Diamond Stage

"With her husband overseas near the end of World War II, Grace fights to save the splintering bonds of her family by taking her teenage son and daughter to spend the summer on Lake Erie. When her son takes up with the town outcast, the entire family must confront the expectations of a society that holds conformity in the highest regard. Grace finds that her attempt to restore normalcy may have only fractured their relationships further in the second show of A. R. Gurney's Signature Residency."

U.S. Premiere
And I And Silence
By Naomi Wallace
Directed by Caitlin McLeod
August-September
The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

"Two imprisoned teenagers, one black, one white, form a perilous bond. As the young women serve time, they forge a plan for survival. When the outside world proves even more dangerous than the jail itself, their private world becomes an untenable practice ground for their new lives. And I And Silence explores the fierce dreams of youth and the brutal reality of adulthood in 1950's America."

New York Premiere
The Liquid Plain
By Naomi Wallace
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
February–March
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

"On the docks of late 18th century Rhode Island, two runaway slaves, Adjua and Dembi, plan a desperate and daring run to freedom. When a chance encounter triggers an unexpected collision of worlds, painful truths are uncovered and the brutality of past crimes spills into the next generation. Winner of the 2012 Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play, The Liquid Plain brings to life a group of people whose stories have been erased from history."

U.S. Premiere
Legacy Program
A Particle Of Dread
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Nancy Meckler
November–December
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

"Signature and Ireland's renowned Field Day Theatre Company are thrilled to present the U.S. premiere of 1996-97 Playwright-in-Residence Sam Shepard's A Particle of Dread. This dark, fragmented, modern-day take on Oedipus Rex premiered in Derry, Ireland and features Academy Award nominee Stephen Rea in the canonical central role, alongside a cast of actors from both sides of the Atlantic."

Big Love
By Charles Mee
Directed by Tina Landau
February–March
The Irene Diamond Stage

"Fifty brides flee their fifty grooms and seek refuge in an Italian villa in this modern re-making of one of the world's oldest plays, The Danaids by Aeschylus. Mayhem ensues, complete with grooms in flight suits, women throwing themselves to the ground, occasional pop songs and romantic dances — even a bride falling in love. Reuniting Signature's 2007-08 Playwright-in-Residence Charles Mee with his longtime collaborator Tina Landau, Big Love is a colossal, poetic work that explores the hunger for independence, the burden of tradition, and the shape and size of love."

World Premiere
A New Play
Written and directed by Athol Fugard
April–May
The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

"Signature is delighted to welcome back Athol Fugard for the world premiere of his newest play. A trio of Fugard's plays — Blood Knot, My Children! My Africa!, and The Train Driver christened The Pershing Square Signature Center in the 2012 Inaugural Season and introduced Signature audiences to Fugard's rich body of work. As he did with Blood Knot and The Train Driver, Fugard will direct this new production."

Residency Five
World Premiere
Our Lady Of Kibeho
By Katori Hall
Directed by Michael Greif
November–December
The Irene Diamond Stage

"In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Based on real events, Our Lady of Kibeho is the second production of Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall's Residency at Signature."

All subscriber tickets for the 2014-15 season are $25 each as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. Subscription packages start at $125.

Visit signaturetheatre.org for more information.