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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

PlayMakers Repertory Company announces 2017-18 season

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A playful, irreverent take on Jane Austen; a dizzy, dysfunctional family reunion; two topically charged premieres by Carolina alumni; and the return of the popular rotating repertory with works about faith and following will comprise the Mainstage lineup of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s 2017-18 Season: A Season on the Edge.

The 2017-18 Main-stage season from the University’s professional theater in residence leaps into multiple perspectives on questions of morality, family, history’s edges and the complexities of human connection.

The new season is the second selected by PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch.

“I am eager to continue creating a path for theatre to make a transformational impact on our communities,” Benesch said. “With several regional premieres, including our first fully commissioned work, the 2017-18 season leaves me breathless with the promise of bringing new points of view and new voices that engage while they entertain. PlayMakers is about providing a first-class theatre experience right here at Carolina and being a forum for extraordinary, courageous work that invites us to tackle big questions. Our new lineup, along with a host of exceptional artists from our resident company and around the nation, will do just that.”

10SEASONCollageCount, a PRC2 second-stage production, Aug. 23 – 27

PlayMakers’ own resident company member Kathryn Hunter-Williams directs this searing portrayal of a single day on death row, where six men unpack their personal inheritances of violence, racism, mental illness, poverty and unexpected love. The play is a co-production with Hidden Voices.

The Cake, Sept. 13 – Oct. 1

The season opens with a regional premiere and the first of three North Carolina stories this season. Della makes cakes, not judgment calls. But when the woman she helped raise comes back home to Winston-Salem to get married and her fiancé is actually another woman, Della is forced to examine some of her deeply held beliefs for the first time in her life. The Cake was written by critically acclaimed Carolina alumnus Bekah Brunstetter, who currently writes for NBC’s This is Us.

Sense and Sensibility, Oct. 19 – Nov. 6

Playwright Kate Hamill gives a fresh, comic take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Set in gossipy late 18th-century England, this eminently theatrical adaptation follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne—after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable.

Dot, Nov. 21 – Dec. 16

In another regional premiere, Dotty and her three grown children gather for the holidays with more than exchanging presents on their minds. This compassionate and often hilarious look at dementia’s effects on a family grapples unflinchingly with aging parents and midlife crises in the heart of a West Philly neighborhood.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Dec. 13 – 23

An intimate evening with PlayMakers legend Ray Dooley as he shares the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey through Christmases past, present and future to find redemption, charity and love.

Rotating repertory: Tartuffe and The Christians,   Feb. 3 – March 11, 2018

In Molière’s satire Tartuffe, the man of the house has lost his mind. He has been blinded by the counterfeit zeal of a penniless scoundrel who fully intends to make off with his wife, his livelihood and probably the kitchen sink. In The Christians, Pastor Paul presides over a megachurch of thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. But he is about to preach a sermon that will shake the very foundations of his church’s beliefs.

Leaving Eden, April 4 – 22, 2018

In this world premiere of a PRC commission, Mike Wiley, Carolina alumnus and acclaimed playwright of The Parchman Hour, returns to PlayMakers with singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett to explore, through words and music, the cyclical nature of humanity. This unearthing of yesterday yields a hymn for our future, with its glimpse into identity, immigration and economic struggle—all told through the lens of a small town in North Carolina.

The season will conclude April 25 – 29, 2018, with a second PRC2 show to be announced later.

All performances will be presented in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows and A Christmas Carol will be in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.

Subscription packages are available for purchase now, and renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through May 1. Call 919-962-7529 or playmakersrep.org for more information.