Announcing a season with two regional premieres, the theatrical equivalent of comfort food and biting comedy, Main Street Theater artistic director Rebecca Greene Udden says the common theme is that “all of these plays raise questions that I hope the audience will keep on thinking when they leave the theater. ”
Or as she also says: “Go to the theater, these are great plays!
Like other theaters in the Houston area, Main Street is somewhat cautious about its line, reopening in person to the public, given that COVID-19 is far from a thing of the past.
“We’re ready, based on the numbers in Houston, we’re prepared to have to limit capacity if necessary, but hopefully we can open to full capacity. We will issue guidance when we get closer. People who are uncomfortable can wear masks. Obviously, all of the cast and anyone who works on the show on our part will need to be vaccinated before we even start rehearsals, “she said.
“If we have too many spectators saying ‘I don’t feel comfortable coming to the theater’ then maybe we will broadcast a few performances live. [if the licensing companies involved allow them to do so] for people to watch at home. We’re not going to record anything. But they can attend a performance live with the audience. So it would be a compromise if we don’t think we can operate at full capacity. I know it’s a full tossup right now, but I’m optimistic that at the end of September we’ll be very close to The Before Times. ”
One change they are making is to upgrade their ventilation system with UV purification to purify the air. They also recognize their lobby as their biggest bottleneck and explore options for outdoor seating during intermission and while audience members wait for the show to begin.
Other changes in store involve a move to a more colorblind cast. Udden says Main Street (with a nod to Bridgerton) is considering hiring actors for the sake of diversity. “We’re going to open it up. There’s no reason to stick with the same people over and over again. So we’re trying to expand the artists we use,” she says. In the case of Miss Bennet: Christmas in Pemberley the possibility of diversifying the roles as well as the departure of certain actors means that the public will see on stage a somewhat different group than the one they saw in 2017.
When asked why Main Street decided to go for the Miss Bennet play as opposed to his suite The Wickhams, Udden says there’s a third piece in the works now, so they’ve been thinking about restarting the series and hope to have them run in order over the next three years. (The third will probably be about Kitty).
Another piece that is coming back for a return engagement is that of Tom Stoppard The real inspector dog which is both a dispatch from the mysteries of Agatha Christie and a dispatch from the theater itself, says Udden. This will be the fifth time Main Street has done this. Udden calls it a good show for the summer audience.
Recently highly acclaimed Main Street presented a virtual production by playwright Caridad Svich Madeleine’s book. They plan to follow this up with Aunt Julia and the screenwriter which is based on the autobiographical novel by Mario Vargas-Llosa and Udden says, is a much more traditional play than most of his work.
“Madeleine’s book, reading it, I thought it would really work in the pandemic. I don’t know how it would have worked if we had done it as a continuous piece on our stage. There is a certain cinematic quality in some of his more expressionist pieces. ”
Dog Act set in the post-apocalyptic desert is a comedy. Really, Udden said. “It’s hysterical and it’s also very poignant. There is a real punch at the end. What makes it so funny is the way she took the language and transmuted the English language into this vernacular. post-apocalyptic that’s half Shakespeare and half street tongue. It’s so wonderful to listen to. ”
They had produced it before it was and made it in the summer and Udden says he didn’t get the audience he needed. The Alley Theater performs one of his plays just past Main Street Dog Act.
Darwin to Malibu opens the season and “is for the thinkers of our audience,” says Udden. “It’s a good conversation between three dead white men about God and science and everyone’s place in the world.” Udden says it’s witty and fun and she relies on her audience to be curious about a conversation between Charles Darwin, Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas. Huxley in a beach house.
2022 MainStage 46th season
Darwin to Malibu
By Crispin Whittell
Directed by Rebecca Greene Udden
October 2 – 24, 2021
Previews: September 26 and 30 and October 1
Malibu, California. The present. One hundred and twenty years after his death, Charles Darwin (“the devil’s chaplain”) hangs out in a beach house overlooking the Pacific with a girl young enough to be his daughter. His peace is brutally disturbed when his old friend Thomas Huxley (“the devil’s disciple”) runs aground on the beach, closely followed by the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce. These three find themselves entangled in a gripping and stimulating comedy about God and science.
Miss Bennet: Christmas in Pemberley
By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
Directed by Robin Robinson
November 20 – December 19, 2021
Previews: November 18 and 19
A sequel by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bennet is set two years after the novel ends and continues the story, this time with nerdy stepsister Mary as the unlikely heroine. Mary is more and more tired of her role as a devoted younger sister in the midst of everyone’s romantic getaways. When the family reunites for Christmas in Pemberley, an unexpected guest stirs up Mary’s hopes for independence, intellectual union, and maybe even love!
Mother of the maid
By Jane Anderson
February 5 – 27, 2022
Previews: January 30 and February 3 and 4
In this captivating new play, Jane Anderson reinvents the epic Joan of Arc through the eyes of her mother. Isabelle Arc is a sensitive, hard-working and God-fearing woman. His stubborn daughter, meanwhile, commune with Saint Catherine, wears men’s clothes and prepares to lead the French army into battle. Motherhood in the 15th century is not easy! Isabelle closely follows the confusing but impressive journey of her curious and extraordinary daughter. Isabelle remains steadfast in her love and presence for her daughter until the end, facing her own fears and doubts about her own faith along the way.
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Andrew Ruthven
March 26 – April 16, 2022
Previews: March 20, 24 and 25
Post-apocalyptic wilderness has never been so fun! Follow the adventures of traveling artist Zetta Stone and her companion Dog (a young man undergoing voluntary species demotion) as they roam the former Northeastern United States. Zetta, Dog, and their little vaudeville troupe are on their way to a concert in China, assuming they can find him. A theatrical and darkly comedic variation of the classic apocalyptic genre that hysterically and poignantly celebrates the need for language and story when civilization fell into chaos. Recommended for an adult audience due to profanity, violence and adult situations.
Houston audiences will have a wonderful opportunity to experience the work of Liz Duffy Adams when the Alley Theater offers the world premiere of her new play, Born with teeth, around the same time as the Main Street production Dog Act.
Aunt Julia and the screenwriter
World premiere in English
A play by Caridad Svich
From the novel by Mario Vargas-Llosa
Directed by Amélia Rico
May 14 – June 5, 2022
Previews: May 8, 12 and 13
Based on the autobiographical novel by Latin American writer Mario Vargas-Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize, Aunt Julia and the screenwriter follows the passionate love story between a young Vargas-Llosa and an older divorcee in the 1950s in Lima, Peru. A loud, bouncy comedy with a big-hearted romantic story at its center, Aunt Julia and the screenwriter is what playwright Svich calls “a coming-of-age story about the performance of everyday life, the wonderfully messy nature of love, and a tribute to the golden age of radio and the spirit of crazy classic comedies “.
The real inspector dog
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Claire Hart Palumbo
July 16 – August 7, 2022
Previews: July 10, 14 and 15
Witnessing the premiere of a mysterious new murder, two conflicting theater critics soon find themselves drawn into the play within the play! In the hilarious parody of the Agatha Christie-style mysteries that follows, mists roll around the isolated Muldoon mansion, and critics are implicated in the murderous activities of an escaped madman. It’s brilliant comedy as only Tom Stoppard can!
For more information, as well as the schedule of their youth theater season, visit the Main Street Theater website.