by Steven Dietz
May 10-June 17
Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin is pleased to announce that the final play of the season, Lonely Planet, by Steven Dietz, will be in performance May 10-June 17, 2012. (Please note that this replaces the play that was originally announced for this time slot, Playing Sinatra). Dietz is one of the most prolific, versatile and widely produced playwrights in the country. Lonely Planet was written in 1994 and is considered a second generation AIDS play although the disease is never named. Dietz uses his obsession with maps and his connection with Ionesco’s The Chairs to write a play about friendship in the dawn of the AIDS crisis. The play won the PEN-USA Award for Drama.
Lonely Planet is directed by John Vreeke and features Michael Russotto as Jody and Eric Sutton as Carl. John Vreeke has directed many shows at MetroStage, probably most notably Heroes, which won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Last season he directed The Real Inspector Hound at MetroStage, and in the past One Good Marriage and For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. This year he was nominated for Outstanding Director for A Bright New Boise at Woolly Mammoth. He directed Lonely Planet in 1998 in ArtsWest Playhouse in Seattle. He is a company member at Woolly.
Michael Russotto was most recently seen in A Bright New Boise (HH nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor) at Woolly and ART at Signature Theatre. Following Lonely Planet he will be play a Moose in If You Give a Moose a Muffin at Adventure Theatre and then The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Woolly (directed by Vreeke). At MetroStage he has performed in Rough Crossing and Girl in a Goldfish Bowl. He is a company member at Woolly.
Eric Sutton has lived in New York for the past eight years and is a Woolly Mammoth Company alumnus. He was seen in the American premiere of BUG at Woolly and the world premiere of Jump Cut (Woolly and Theatre J). He was in the Helen Hayes award-winning production of Drawer Boy at Round House Theatre. In New York he played Vanya in Uncle Vanya at the Gene Frankel Theatre and was in the world premiere of Corner Pocket also at the Gene Frankel Theatre.
Designers for the production are Jane Fink, set design; Jessica Winfield, light design; Ivana Stack, costume design; and Christopher Baine, sound design.
Lonely Planet will be in performance at MetroStage from May 10 to June 17. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 3 and 8, and Sundays at 3 and 7. (PWYC Thurs May 10 at 8). PRESS NIGHT is Sunday May 13 at 7 pm. MetroStage is located at 1201 N. Royal St. in Alexandria, Virginia in North Old Town. Tickets are $45-50 and may be ordered by calling 1-800-494-8497 or online at boxofficetickets.com. For group sales and information call the theatre at 703-548-9044. The theatre’s website is www.metrostage.com.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
“Why do Lonely Planet again, almost 20 years after it was written and 25 years since the onset of the AIDS crisis? Because the devastation in the 1980’s to the gay communities was horrendous. Because HIV positive diagnosis was a death sentence. Because although AIDS research and the success of pharmacology have managed to keep the statistics of death by HIV down, HIV/AIDS is still ever present and we must always be vigilant, with ourselves, with our friends…and because friendship and love remain unchanged. This play asks: What is our legacy to this world? Steven Dietz’s poetic story of friendship defines an era of gay relationships and remains a timeless, universal story”
Notes from the Producer
(published in the Alexandria Gazette Packet,
May 11, 2012)
By Carolyn Griffin
You often hear theatre patrons (and producers!) say that a production is everything theatre should be. It is entertaining, yet has an emotional core so that you leave feeling like you have experienced something that has entertained yet enriched. It has taken you out of your immediate life experience and allowed you for an hour or two to view a collection of characters with a story to tell—a story separate from your own but with a universality that leaves you with insight and a sensitivity to life’s greatest challenges. MetroStage strives to offer this experience in all its many genres to its patrons each and every time.
It certainly happened most recently with Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You!, when the brilliant Jay Alvarez told the story of his family’s escape from Cuba in 1964. Audiences left breathless from the experience as Jay described the challenge of escaping while under the watchful eye of the ruling Castro regime. Even though we knew that they escaped because he was standing before us almost 40 years later, we were moved to tears by the commitment of his father to pursuing a better life for his family. Many patrons remained afterwards in the lobby and (over mojitos) stories were shared both by the many Cubans who came to the show but also the Russians, Armenians, and so many others, whose families had escaped oppression. It was an extraordinary opportunity for theatre to provide an enriching experience that was very specific to a moment in time yet universal.
This week we open Lonely Planet, Steven Dietz, a remarkable play that is entertaining, emotionally powerful, lyrical, and literary in that Dietz used Ionesco’s absurdist style and his play The Chairs as a metaphor for the situation being depicted in the story. And then there are the maps. Dietz is admittedly obsessed with maps so Lonely Planet takes place in a map store (you will leave the theatre knowing a lot more about the Greenland problem and the Mercator map—did I mention it was also educational?!) Lonely Planet is an exquisite play that will unfold before your eyes as it entertains, enriches, and touches your emotional core---just what theatre was meant to do. Afterwards you will definitely want to read a little Ionesco, and you might even look at maps a little differently in the future.
Lonely Planet runs through June 17 at MetroStage. Call 703-548-9044 for more information or go to our website www.metrostage.org .