TACT will open the 2013/14 season with Natural Affection, William Inge’s long-lost urban drama that centers on a single mother reuniting with her fresh-from-reform-school teenage son and the tension it causes with the new man in her life. This controversial domestic drama, one of this Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright’s later works, caused an uproar during its brief Broadway run in 1963 with its incestuous overtones, latent homosexuality, and brutal machismo backlash against feminism.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Mr. Inge’s centennial by presenting this intense and startlingly contemporary drama in its first NYC revival,” said TACT Co-Artistic Director Jenn Thompson, who will also helm the production. “TACT prides itself on unearthing works that speak to modern audiences in new and powerful ways and this play is fascinatingly forward-thinking in its brave and complicated view of disaffected youth and domestic violence.”
Performances will begin on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013. Opening Night is Thursday, September 26th at 7:30pm. Performances will continue through Saturday, October 26th.
TACT will continue its 2013/14 season in March with Beyond Therapy, an early comedy by Christopher Durang, whose most recent play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, is enjoying a celebrated Broadway run and has just earned its author his first Tony Award. In this Durang classic, a disastrous first date provides two New Yorkers with a tangle of topics for their therapists – who just happen to be stark raving mad themselves.
“It’s remarkable how fresh and funny Beyond Therapy continues to be,” reports Scott Alan Evans, Co-Artistic and Executive Director of TACT, and the director of the production. “The motor of this comedy certainly comes from its complete outlandish absurdity, but Durang’s brilliance here lies in his ability to tap into and shine a revealing light on some true idiosyncrasies of the heart.”
Performances will begin on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014. Opening Night is Thursday, March 20th at 7:30pm. Performances will continue through April 19th.
The cast and creative team for both productions will be announced at a later date.
TACT’s mainstage season is augmented by its celebrated Salon Series of concert readings as well as its new play initiative newTactics, both of which are presented in their studio space at 900 Broadway.
“We’re looking forward to presenting these diverse works, by two of the theatre’s most distinct and important voices,” Cynthia Harris, TACT Co-Artistic Director asserts. “Uniting an early play by the modern master of the outrageous and absurd with a later, obscure work from one of the theatre’s most sensitive writers is exactly what TACT strives to do – reassess great, under-produced plays that are ripe for rediscovery.”
Natural Affection and Beyond Therapy will both have the following performance schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm; Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $20-$56.25 and will be available through TeleCharge – www.telecharge.com/(212) 239-6200. They will also be available at the Theatre Row box office (410 West 42nd Street – between 9th & 10th Avenues) between 12pm and 8pm daily.
TACT/The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris, & Jenn Thompson, Co-Artistic Directors) is dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit, with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor's ability to bring it to life.
TACT’s celebrated company of actors was drawn together in 1992 by a love of the literature of the theatre. Since that time, they have grown to become a true ensemble: a group that has developed a common vocabulary and a technique based on their specific artistic vision and collective body of work. TACT company members, whose whose cumulative experience includes scores of significant roles on and off Broadway, in the country’s finest regional theatres and in many films and television shows, have received Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, in addition to several Tony nominations.
Heralded by the Wall Street Journal as “The 2012 Company of the Year”, TACT has enjoyed a run of successful productions since it first made its move from its “in-concert” style performances to fully-staged productions in the 2006/07 season. Since that time TACT has become a celebrated presence Off-Broadway with their presentations of such diverse and critically-acclaimed works as Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, (included in the The New York Times “Top 10 Theatre Picks for 2008.”) David Storey’s Home, The Sea by Edward Bond, Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, Sidney Howard’s The Late Christopher Bean, John Cecil Holm and George Abbott’s Three Men on a Horse, T.S Eliot’s The Cocktail Party (included in the Wall Street Journal’s Best of 2010 list) and the 2012 Drama Desk-nominated production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers. Last season marked the company’s 20th Anniversary – where the productions of Anita Loos’ Happy Birthday and Brian Friel’s Lovers became instant hits and enjoyed extended runs.
William Inge (Playwright) was born May 13, 1913 in Independence, Kansas. He received a B.A. in Drama and Speech from the University of Kansas at Lawrenceville and, though he longed to make his way to Broadway, he, instead, got his Masters from Peabody College for Teachers. He taught drama at the high school and the college level for a time, but by 1943 was working for the St. Louis Star-Times as a music and theatre critic. In that capacity he met Tennessee Williams, who became his friend and mentor. After attending a performance of The Glass Menagerie with Williams, Inge was inspired to begin writing plays. Within three months, he completed Farther Off from Heaven. His major early works (Come Back, Little Sheba; Bus Stop; Dark at the Top of the Stairs) were met with immense critical success, with Picnic winning a Pulitzer Prize for 1953. He received an Academy Award for his screenplay for Splendor in the Grass in 1961. His later plays fared less well. Natural Affection had the misfortune of being produced during the 1963 newspaper strike and failed to find an audience. At the age of 60, following personal struggles with alcoholism and depression stemming, in part, from his self-loathing over his homosexuality, Inge took his own life. Today, Inge is known as the greatest playwright of the American Midwest.
Christopher Durang (Playwright) was born on January 1, 1949 to a Catholic family in Montclair, New Jersey. He attended Catholic schools before earning his B.A. from Harvard College. At the Yale School of Drama, he met and began to work with Sigourney Weaver, a relationship that continues to this day. The Yale Repertory Theatre produced Durang’s first play, co-written with Albert Innaurato, The Idiots Karamazov, starring Meryl Streep. As Durang matured, discovered his homosexuality and became more politically engaged, he became disenchanted by the Catholic Church. Still its influence over his work remains palpable, as his play, the satirical Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You demonstrates. Durang has written over forty full and short length plays including Laughing Wild, Baby with the Bathwater and The Marriage of Bette and Boo. He is critically acclaimed for his darkly satirical comedic style and quirky, original stories. He has received three Obie Awards for his plays and a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for A History of American Film. In 1994, he was appointed co-chair of the playwriting department at Juilliard. Most recently, Durang won the 2013 Tony for Best New Play for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Jenn Thompson (Director, Natural Affection) currently serves as a Co-Artistic Director of NYC’s TACT/The Actors Company Theatre where she has directed the Off-Broadway productions of: Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers (2012 Drama Desk Nomination for Best Revival of a Play), Vaclav Havel’s The Memorandum, Sidney Howard’s The Late Christopher Bean, Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (New York Times’ Top Ten for Theatre Pick, 2008), as well as Ladies in Retirement, My Three Angels, Rain and Kind Lady in TACT’s Salon Series. Other NYC directing credits include the NY premiere of Holly Webber’s play Pratfalls (The Abingdon), the world-premiere musical Seeing Stars, (NYMF), Badge by Matthew Schneck (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), The Brilliance of Bernstein (American Musicals Project) and Big Doolie (FringeNYC). She has developed new work at Hartford Stage, Primary Stages, The York, Abingdon Theatre Company, The Bridge Theatre and Rattlestick, among others. Regional credits include Abundance (Hartford Stage Company - Connecticut Critics Circle Nomination for Outstanding Direction), The Philadelphia Story (Pioneer Theatre Company), The Syringa Tree (Portland Stage Company), Noises Off, Boeing Boeing and Barefoot in the Park (Dorset Theatre Festival - where she is a Resident Director), as well as 19 seasons with Connecticut’s River Rep where she served as Producing Director, working on over 50 productions including Damn Yankees, The Heiress, Dinner with Friends and The Foreigner. Jenn is a member of SDC and was a 2012 finalist for their Joe A. Callaway Award, for excellence in New York City directing.