AK’s Perseverance Revives Seagull, Introduces Artistic Dir. Oct. 16

News   AK’s Perseverance Revives Seagull, Introduces Artistic Dir. Oct. 16
Perseverance Theatre’s new artistic director, Peter DuBois, will make his directing debut Oct. 16, staging The Seagull at the nonprofit resident troupe in Juneau, AK.

Perseverance Theatre’s new artistic director, Peter DuBois, will make his directing debut Oct. 16, staging The Seagull at the nonprofit resident troupe in Juneau, AK.

Previews played Oct. 11-15. Performances continue through Nov. 1.

Anton Chekhov's 100-year-old play, about a frustrated young playwright who clashes with his actress mother and pines for an ambitious actress, will open the 20th season of Perseverance. The translation is by Carol Rocamora.

DuBois said earlier this year, “This play feels so right for us, not only because we sit perched on the edge of a new millennium, but also because Alaska's landscape -- awe-inspiring, poetic and sometimes tragic -- is the perfect setting for Chekhov's vision.”

The cast includes Anita Maynard-Losh, Stephen Hallam, Mike Peterson, Marta Ann Lastufka, Pat Denny, Lori Roland, Ekatrina Oleksa, Colleen Dilts, Ken Burch, Patrick Moore and Peter T. Ruocco. Danish “scenographer” (sets and costumes) Maria Illum Ciccia is the production’s design guest artist. Tickets range from $13-$22. For information, call (907) 364-2421.

DuBois, a Brown University graduate with a background in Czechoslovakian "guerilla" theatre, received his MA in theatre history. He then spent three years in Prague to soak up "the post-revolutionary energy there." He formed the controversial Asylum theatre group and then rose to direct in commercial venues throughout Bohemia. Returning to the States, DuBois studied at Brown, where he met up with the professor -- and Pulitzer winning dramatist -- Paula Vogel (How I Learned To Drive), who has a 15 year relationship with Perseverance.

Kate Bowns, chairman of the theatre's search committee, has said that 70 people applied for the artistic director slot. DuBois got the nod because, "he's a visionary artist, charismatic leader and creative problem-solver."

DuBois describes himself as "fiercely collaborative," "The prospect of working in Juneau fills me with the same renewed energy, fear and enthusiasm that moving to Prague did six years ago... I am attracted to the difficulty and challenge Alaska poses for a New Englander."

Also on the 1998-99 Perseverance season:
Returning for a second season at holiday time will be King Island Christmas, a musical by Deborah Baley Brevoort (libretto), David Friedman (score), based on the children's book by Jean Rogers.

When the town priest gets stuck on an ice floe, the entire town tries to bring him ashore. "Traditional Native performing styles" are promised for this "multi-cultural Christmas pageant of Alaskan proportions." King Island will light up the Northern Light United Church space Dec. 4-20.

Theatregoers will then spend the new year in The Waiting Room -- that is, Lisa Loomer's comedy/drama about three ladies who meet in a doctor's waiting room. One is from 19th century London, another is from 18th century China, the third from modern-day New Jersey. Perseverance veteran Anita Maynard-Losh will direct, Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 1999.

Author Loomer's newest play, Expecting Isabel, will premiere at Washington DC's Arena Stage in October (where Molly Smith is the new artistic director).

Goblin Market: A Tale of Two Sisters follows, March 12-Apr. 11, 1999, with music by Polly Pen (Bed and Sofa) and lyrics by Peggy Harmon. In the piece, adapted from an 1862 poem by Christina Rossetti, two goblins attempt to seduce two beautiful sisters with magical fruits. Joyce Parry Moore and Marta Ann Lastufka play the sisters.

Closing the mainstage season will be Short Stories, a collaboration with Anne Bogart's SITI company (Bob, Culture of Desire). Explained artistic director DuBois, "They will interview local residents about their everyday experiences to transform those stories into a celebration of our daily lives."

A "site-specific" mounting of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is also planned, Nov. 6-22. "We'll mount it in a space that inspires us," said DuBois, "a space that's not a theatre." He didn't go so far as to say whether Dale Wasserman's play (based on Ken Kesey's novel) would be staged in a real mental institution. Pam MacKinnon will direct.

Also in November (Nov. 5-8), Perseverance will tour to Juneau with its hit from last season, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Edward Albee's landmark drama tells of one very long night for two academic couples.

-- By Kenneth Jones
David Lefkowitz

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