PICT season plays with themes of love and war
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For its 2007 season theme, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre chose love and war, but for its blockbuster two-play opening, the focus is firmly on war, with few emotions softer than envy or ambition. And by casting the same actors in lead roles in both plays, PICT exploits powerful cross-cultural parallels.
First is "Julius Caesar" (April 12-28), Shakespeare's 1599 meditation on politics, ambition and imperial passions leading to civil war. Second, PICT unleashes "Stuff Happens" (May 10-June 2), a 2004 quasi-docudrama in which Shakespeare's countryman, David Hare, deals directly with the politics, ambition and imperial passions of the rush toward war with Iraq.
PICT artistic director Andrew Paul directs both plays. James Keegan plays Metellus/Lucilius and also CIA head George Tenet, but not all the actors are in both of these tragedies of Shakespearean scope. Bolstering "Stuff Happens" will be Laurie Klatscher (Laura Bush), Randy Kovitz (Paul Wolfowitz), Doug Mertz (Tony Blair) and Bob Haley (Hans Blix); bolstering "Julius Caesar" will be Joshua Elijah Reese (Octavius), Jay Keenan, Alex Coleman, Ken Bolden and more.
The "Julius Caesar" design team is Iosef Yusupov (set) and Igor Roussanoff (costumes). "Stuff Happens" will be designed by Gianni Downs and Marissa Miskanin. The "Empire Series," which accompanies "Caesar" and "Stuff," will feature Giles in Hare's solo meditation on the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, "Via Dolorosa" (April 22-May 1).
From war to love
Love of a combative kind finally comes into play with Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" (June 14-30), in which Polish director Tadeusz Bradecki (last year's "Endgame") works with Robin Walsh (Hedda), Giles (Tesman), Paul Todaro (Lovborg) and John Shepard (Judge Brack).
The bucolic Irish West hosts a smattering of eccentric love plus great lashings of farcical bloody war in Martin McDonagh's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" (July 12-Aug. 4). Stuart Carden ("Stones in His Pocket") will direct Merrill Peakes, Matt Decaro, Amy Ward and Will Brill, with Phil Winters, Jason McCune and Jarrod DiGiorgi. FX whiz Steve Tolin will have his skills stretched.
Love finally comes into its own with Noel Coward's "Private Lives" (Aug. 16-Sept. 9), with Jeff Cordell directing two couples (still to be cast) who discover that marriage can also be a form of delicious/infuriating warfare. And the season ends with Scott Wise directing an adaptation of Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" (Dec. 6-22), with original score by Douglas Levine, in which love finally gets the stage completely to itself -- or does it?
For information on PICT's season and subscriptions, call 412-394-3353 or visit www.proartstickets.org.
First Published February 14, 2007 12:00 am