2018-19 Season: BEYOND IDEAS

2018-19 SEASON – BEYOND Ideas


A letter from ArtsWest Artistic Director Mathew Wright

The title of our 2018-2019 Season, Beyond Ideas, is taken from a poem called “A Great Wagon” by the 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi. 
 
In it, he speaks of the existence of a field, a place of common ground beyond ideas of who’s right and who’s wrong, where talk is cheap and even the distinction between “me and you” ceases to make sense in the face of the fullness of the world.
 
It feels like we are moving farther and farther away from that field.
 
There’s an ugly kind of power and reward we’re rediscovering in talking at each other rather than to each other, and the temptation to do so feels like it grows stronger by the day.  With the advent of digital and social media, we can talk at each other with impunity, hiding behind the shield and the mask of the screen and the soundbite.
 
What does it feel like to actually hear and see each other?  Do we even know this feeling anymore?
 
In his afterword to M. Butterfly, David Henry Hwang writes:
“Truthful human contact between nations and lovers can only be the result of heroic effort.  Those who prefer to bypass the work involved will remain in a world of surfaces, misperceptions running rampant.”
 
This is a season about the heroic effort to connect. We hope it inspires you as much as it has inspired us.

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SKELETON CREW

September 20 – October 14, 2018

By Dominique Morisseau

OBIE and Steinberg Playwright Award-winning playwright

Time Magazine – 10 Best Shows of 2016

In the depths of the 2008 Great Recession, rumors of shutdown start to spread at one of Detroit’s last auto-stamping plants, forcing a tight-knit family of workers to face a devastating question: what will you sacrifice to survive? In the spirit of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau’s bold and compassionate new play lays bare the trials of the human spirit with verve, wit, and an electrifying voice of uncommon poetry.


“Clifford Odets’ dramas come to mind and so does the great Pittsburgh cycle of August Wilson. But Skeleton Crew is squarely in the tradition of Arthur Miller…A deeply moral and deeply American play.” – The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

“A social observer of invigorating insight, [Morisseau] reveals a knack in this absorbing comedy-drama for nuanced accounts of the travails of blue-collar men and women and the questionable choices that illuminate their complicated lives.” – The Washington Post

 

JANE EYRE

November 15 – December 23, 2018

Music & Lyrics by Paul Gordon

Book and additional lyrics by John Caird

Adapted from the novel by Charlotte Brontë

Nominated for 5 Tony awards, including Best Musical

New 10-person Chamber version

When a spirited young orphan finds an unexpected home with a wealthy family, she also – against all odds and expectations – finds love. But strange voices from the attic and dark secrets from the past spark flames of fate that could consume them all. With sweeping music in a new chamber version of the celebrated musical, Charlotte Brontë’s classic love story soars to life and introduces this trailblazing heroine to a new generation.


“This fairytale of love and suspense, a sweeping story with universal and timeless themes that don’t need ever-more-impressive special effects to catch attention, grips from the start.” The Toronto Star

“…blessed with a luxuriant score, haunting and memorable music, and crisp, intelligent lyrics which speak from the very heart of this tragic and romantic story.” Talkin’ Broadway

M. BUTTERFLY

January 24 – February 17, 2019

By David Henry Hwang

1988 Tony Award Winner – Best Play

1988 Drama Desk Award Winner – Outstanding New Play

1989 Pulitzer Prize Finalist

When we build fantasies to hide the truth, what happens when it all comes tumbling down? Clever parallels to the famous opera Madame Butterfly abound in this fearless play about a French diplomat who falls for a Chinese opera star: the ideal, exotic woman in his mind, but in reality, a man with a secret mission. Rich with deeper themes, M. Butterfly confronts the perception of Eastern culture by the West and the persistent romanticism that clouds it.


“With M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang joins the first string of American playwrights. This is an audaciously imaginative play, big in conception and theme, and a satisfying instance of a talented writer hitting full stride.” —Variety

“It will move you, it will thrill you, it may even surprise you. It is a play not to be missed, and it is a play once caught that will never be forgotten.” —NY Post

 

JOHN

March 14 – April 7, 2019

By Annie Baker

Time Magazine – 10 Best Shows of 2015

Nominated for 6 Drama Desk Awards

Nominated for 5 Lucille Lortel Awards

At a weekend bed & breakfast, the shadow of infidelity hangs over a young couple struggling to rebuild their relationship – when the elderly owner shares her own memories, ghosts real and imagined arrive to haunt the living. Blending keen realism with the eerily supernatural, this quiet tale from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is unafraid to seek beauty in one of the most startling places: the solitude of human experience.


“Annie Baker’s John is so good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light.” – The New Yorker

“Baker does not merely tell a scary story. She shows them, piling up like ghosts of amputated limbs from the war wounded, and makes them riveting, unpredictable, altogether human theater.” – Newsday

 

OFFICE HOUR

May 2 – May 26, 2019

By Julia Cho

Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winning playwright

Alarmed by his grisly writings, a professor invites a troubled student to her office to shed light on – and build a bridge across – the dark clouds that surround him. As the clock ticks down and tensions rise, she learns that notions of “good” and “bad” are dangerous illusions. A stirring call for empathy and a bold experiment in form, this searing play tackles thorny issues of gun violence, immigration, and “the other” to reveal our essential, human need for connection.


…vital, honest, and valuable. …Office Hour is interested not only in the question of gun violence, but in the painful, isolating struggle faced by the children of immigrant parents in this country.” —NY Magazine

“…[an] urgent and sensitive drama… tense and extremely well thought out… What is so gripping about the play…is the ever-present fear of horrific violence that permeates the space, even as sympathy grows for Dennis. …Cho effectively calls for compassion and outreach from a society that commonly creates violent loners out of troubled children.” —Broadway World

THE LAST WORLD OCTOPUS WRESTLING CHAMPION

June 20 – July 28, 2019

Book, music and lyrics by Justin Huertas

Gregory Award-winning playwright of LIZARD BOY

Senior year (and falling in love) is hard enough, but when the discovery of her mother’s old trophy throws open the locked doors of the past, a young girl must reckon with a world turned upside down – and the arrival of strange new abilities that seem to hint at a destiny beyond her wildest imaginations. Taking rich threads of Puget Sound history and folklore, musical mastermind Justin Huertas weaves a thrilling modern myth of love, family, and transformation.


“Justin Huertas is one of those people who seemingly can do everything.” – KUOW

“[Huertas’s] songs liven up the action…His talent for choruses and his humor shine.” – The Stranger


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