Season 2014-2015 Press

Without a doubt, TACT’s 2014/15 season will be the year of the woman. The two dynamic and powerful plays we are presenting focus on aspects of female love and friendship with laser-like intensity and surprising humor. Though widely dissimilar in style and tone – and from two very different eras and about two very different times – both works examine fascinating and complex relationships: one captured in a moment and one examined through the lens of time.

TACT is delighted to announce its 2014-2015 Season: ABUNDANCE by Beth Henley and THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE by Frank Marcus.
The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus caused quite a stir when it premiered in the UK in 1965. Provincial audiences were shocked by the frankness of the play’s depiction of the central character’s lesbian relationship and walked out in droves. But when the production reached the West End, all that changed. What London audiences were able to see was a comedy that didn’t pull its punches – both literally and figuratively – and they reveled in the play’s bald-faced roughhouse ribaldry. The play centers on June Buckridge, an actress who has gained considerable fame playing the character of “Sister George,” beloved rural district nurse, on the BBC Radio folksy soap opera, “Applehurst.” Warm-hearted, caring, and kind, Sister George tends to her flock, dispensing home remedies and common sense advice, while keeping everyone on the straight and narrow. In private, June Buckridge is none of those things: neither warm-hearted, caring, or kind. Or straight. And her cigar chomping, gin drinking antics have caused her producers considerable public relations backlash and her live-in “roommate/companion,” the much younger “Childie,” suffers considerably as well, dealing with June’s bouts of despair and abuse. So, what’s to be done? Well, that’s the play. And in it, Mr. Marcus examines the nature of sexual identity, power, and politics in a changing world order with a shockingly contemporary point of view.

Though The Killing of Sister George was Frank Marcus’s most successful work  – and it was quite a success, having been named “Best Play of the 1965-66 Season” by the Theatre Critics Variety Poll and voted “Best Play” by the London Theatre Critics and the London Evening Standard. Mr. Marcus was quite a man of the theatre; actor, director and playwright, Marcus worked in all aspects of the theatre and was instrumental in London’s experimental Fringe theatre movement of the 60s. Later in his career, he established himself as an influential theatre critic for The Sunday Telegraph, where he contributed reviews for over ten years. TACT’s Fall production of The Killing of Sister George will be directed by Company Member Drew Barr.

Performances begin September 23rd and will run through November 1, 2014.

In the Spring, our look at the lives and relationships of women continues with Beth Henley’s Abundance. Unseen in New York City since its commercial Off-Broadway premiere in 1990, this play, which spans across 25 years of the late 19th century, displays all of Henley’s keen proclivity for creating substantial roles for women, but places this particular saga far from her usual milieu of the Southern family. While most identify the American West with its tall tales of cowboys and frontiersmen, Henley crafts a modern myth that focuses squarely on female homesteaders, who risked it all to live on the fringes of what would become the heartland of the United States.

Macon, a determined, thrill-seeking adventurer, meets Bess, a shy and romantic woman who seems to drift through life, while waiting on the trails for their prospective husbands after a long westward journey. These two mail-order brides, though opposite in every way, become fast friends, through desperation, loneliness, and an unusual but undeniable kinship. They are lucky to find each other, because their husbands are not quite what these two eager brides expected to find waiting for them. Macon’s husband, Will, though kind and industrious, doesn’t exactly inspire her passion. And Bess’s intended husband, Michael, a poetic man who wooed her with letters about the beauty of the western sky, has died just before her arrival. His rude, lazy, and possibly predatory brother, Jack, shows up to claim her for himself. While Macon and Will make a profitable, if dispassionate, home of the fertile land on which they’ve settled, Bess and Jack fail at every turn, fighting off starvation and madness in a bitter landscape. The women have to decide whether to face the wilderness and bear their difficult home lives, or to keep pushing onward towards the setting sun, escaping their fate and manifesting their own destiny  together. Either way, it’s clear that their lives are intertwined and one’s fortune will affect the others. The question that remains through all their shared struggles is: are the bonds of friendship enough to sustain them? TACT’s Spring production of Abundance will be directed by Co-Artistic Director Jenn Thompson.

Performances run from February 17th through March 28th, 2015.

We are excited to have found  plays that complement one another so provocatively, and we are looking forward to exploring these two very different times and two very different worlds that examine the close and complex relationships between these amazing women with such power and panache.