Before the strikers were waiting for Lefty and the hobos began waiting for Godot, the Romanov family was busy Waiting In Tobolsk, a new play by Norman Allen premiering at Washington DC's Moonlight Theatre, June 24-July 19, opening June 28.
Dwayne Nitz directs this drama about the Romanov's exile to Siberia and eventual execution, following the abdication of Nicholas II. The Tsar's four daughters are the focus of Tobolsk, which is subtitled "The Last Children of the Last Tsar." According to the press release, the production premieres on the 80th anniversary of the Romanovs' deaths "at a time when the reburial of their bones has become an issue of controversy in Russia."
John Benoit, Rachel Gardner and Paula Gruskiewicz star in Tobolsk, which first took shape as a one-act play for Signature Theatre's Signature in the Schools program. Signature then used readings to help develop the play further. Also in the cast are Lenore Pritchard (a high school senior) as Anastasia, Sarah Schandig, Christine Tivel and Roger Kraus.
Best known for Melville Slept Here, author Allen's other works include Nijinsky's Last Dance and the libretto for Cirque Ingenieux.
Designing Tobolsk are Lou Stancari (set), Anne Kennedy (costumes) and Adam Magazine (lighting). Tobolsk is only the second production by the Moonlight company, which premiered last summer with Horovitz X 2. The troupe is dedicated to mounting plays without worrying about "the financial expectations or artistic assumptions that often accompany larger, subscriber-based theatres." As the company's answering machine message puts it, "Moonlight wants to show just how big a small theatre can be."
For tickets ($15) and information on Waiting in Tobolsk at the Church Street Theatre space, 1742 Church St. NW, call (202) 265-3748.
-- By David Lefkowitz