Theatre Company opens its 2009 Main Stage Season with a modern adaptation of the famous Restoration Era satire that takes sharp aim at the City of Angels.
When: March 20th – April 19th, 2009
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Fainall – Charles Allen Hutchison
Mirabell – Phillip Kelly
Witwoud – Vance Roi Reyes
Petulant – Gregory Crafts
Wilfull Witoud – Bryan Gaston
Waitwell – Ben Atkinson
Lady Wishfort – Marcia Loring
Millamant – Lynda Coe
Marwood – Karen Baugh
Mrs. Fainall – Jenn Scuderi
Foible – Julia Plostnieks
Mincing – Ana Therese Lopez
Messenger/Chauffer/Servant/Waiter – Benito Cardenas
Betty/Peg – Heather Lake
LOS ANGELES – Fresh off sell-out crowds for the launches of both its sketch comedy troupe Die Grüppe and the innovative Art Gallery Series, Theatre Unleashed is thrilled to announce the official opening of its 2009 Main Stage Season with the William Congreve classic The Way of the World, March 20-April 19 at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center in North Hollywood.
The Way of the World tells the story of the wealthy, decadent Wishfort family and their circle of friends – among whom we find the vain, the venal, the comic and even the good-hearted. The play’s hero Mirabell must battle for control of the family’s vast fortune while simultaneously wooing the only woman who seems determined to reject him. Schemes, disguises, mistaken identities and romantic misunderstandings pile on top of one another in a play that blends biting satire, slapstick farce and wistful romance.
In a poignant twist, director Colleen Reilly has adapted the Restoration Era play to set it in modern day Los Angeles, giving the artistic team the freedom to play with the piece’s many themes in a way that will be a bit more recognizable to modern audiences. However, Reilly is quick to point out that they have stayed true to Congreve’s original vision and structure, only slightly “translating” some of his language to make it more believable in the mouths of contemporary Angelinos.
“This play deals with themes – wealth, status, self-deception, love – that never go away and make for great dramatic fodder,” Reilly said. “Productions of Restoration Comedies tend to be set in the era in which they were written. That can have the effect of making them seem too ‘pretty’ and removed from contemporary concerns. We wanted to make the play seem fresh and vital because it is… even though it was written more than 300 years ago.”
An award-winning screenwriter and film and stage director, Reilly also added a few surprises for the Theatre Unleashed production, including original music using Congreve’s lyrics set to modern melodies and an intimate stage design with mechanisms in the show to get the crowd involved in each and every performance, much like audiences of the time the show was written.
“Our mission to work passionately and professionally in creating truly remarkable theatre is well-embodied by our collaboration with Colleen,” said Andrew Moore, president of Theatre Unleashed. “She is pushing us to further heights of professionalism and quality. Colleen is a sharp wit with a keen aesthetic sense and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with this incredible show.”
The Way of the World runs for five weeks on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. As a bonus, on Saturday nights after the Main Stage performance, Theatre Unleashed will present the first edition of its Tales of an Unsettled City series, entitled Beginnings. The show is a collection of one-acts, monologues and songs that deal with the many joys and tribulations that come with life in a new city. As an added bonus, on April 4, Theatre Unleashed will celebrate its birthday with 24 hour theatre, pairing company actors, writers and directors to write, rehearse and stage a play in less than a day. For more information, check out http://www.theatreunleashed.com.