Wilde, Churchill, Stoppard and New Names Featured in Roger Rees' First Season as Williamstown Head

News   Wilde, Churchill, Stoppard and New Names Featured in Roger Rees' First Season as Williamstown Head
New Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director Roger Rees draws on his English roots for his first season at the helm, filling three out of the four Mainstage slots with works by British writers, including Oscar Wilde, Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard.

The smaller Nikos Stage, meanwhile, will see works by three relative unknowns: Etan Frankel, Lucy Prebble, and Oni Faida Lampley.

Rees, who succeeds Michael Ritchie as WTF's chief, will have the privilege of breaking in the festival's new Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College. Meanwhile, Nikos Stage productions will now be staged on the festival's former primary playing stage, the renovated Adams Memorial Theatre.

The festival will run July 6 through Aug. 28, beginning a bit later than the customary late-June start. No casting has been announced for any of the shows.

The season kicks off on the Mainstage (the Center for Theatre and Dance) with the revival of Wilde's comedy about marital suspicion, Lady Windermere's Fan, running July 6-17, and directed by Moises Kaufman, known for directing challenging contemporary plays (The Laramie Project, I Am My Own Wife).

Next up, from July 20 to July 31, is Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, in which famous women from different ages compare notes at a fantasy dinner party. Jo Bonney, who has directed such recent New York shows as Fifth of July and Living Out, will stage the piece. On the Razzle, Tom Stoppard's  take on Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy's 19th century farce, Einen Fux will er sich machen (which also inspired Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker), will run Aug. 3-14, with English director David Jones (The Caretaker and No Man's Land on Broadway) in the director's chair.

The final slot on the Mainstage is American William Inge's classic naturalistic drama Bus Stop. Will Frears (Omnium Gatherum) directs the Aug. 17-28 stay of the tale of a group of misfits and loners temporarily stuck at a roadside diner.

The Nikos Stage will feature Create Fate by Etan Frankel (July 13-24), The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble (July 27-Aug. 7) and Tough Titty by Oni Faida Lampley (Aug. 10-21).

Create Fate is described thusly: "Nathan Penney has lots of everything.  A bank account worth millions, a super-sized waistline, a multitude of vintage muscle cars.  So why shouldn't he hire a private eye to get him some sugar and spice that's extra nice?  Why shouldn't Nathan Penney go out and buy himself the love of his life, the girl of his dreams?  Why shouldn't Nathan Penney, master of his domain, create his own fate?" A director is to be named.

The Sugar Syndrome is the British Prebble's first play. It concerns "17-year-old Dani, [who] surfs internet chat rooms searching for someone who is honest and direct.  What she finds is a man twice her age who thinks she is an 11-year-old boy." WTF warns that the play, which marks Prebble's U.S. debut, is for mature audiences. Maria Mileaf directs.

Finally, Tough Titty, by actress and Drama Dept. member  Oni Faida Lampley, is about Angela, who, "diagnosed with breast cancer, [tries] to stay married, raise two small sons and endure poisonous treatments. [She] confronts her childhood ideas about God and goodness, and wrestles with the haunting question, "What did I do wrong?" Charles Randolph-Wright is at the helm.

Tickets will go on sale online at the Festival's official website, www.WTFestival.org, on June 10.  Mail orders received prior to June 10 will be processed before internet sales begin. 

Tickets may be purchased beginning June 17 by calling (413) 597-3400, or by visiting the box office in person.  *

The WTF 2005 season, in brief, is as follows:

Main Stage Season:

  • Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde, directed by Moisés Kaufman, July 6-17
  • Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, directed by Jo Bonney, July 20-31
  • On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard, directed by David Jones, Aug. 3-14
  • Bus Stop by William Inge, directed by Will Frears, Aug. 17-28 Nikos Stage Season:

  • Create Fate by Etan Frankel, July 13-24
  • The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble, directed by Maria Mileaf, July 27-Aug. 7
  • Tough Titty by Oni Faida Lampley, Directed by Charles Randolph Wright, Aug. 10-21
  • Today’s Most Popular News: