Some things old, something new, a homecoming of sorts, and a bit of kink.
The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre announced an eclectic upcoming season today, which includes the first new made-in-Manitoba play to hit the RMTC stage in five years, and a one-man show about one of MTC's co-founders.
"When I look at the season, I'm struck at the great balance between comedy and drama and classic and contemporary and new works," RMTC associate artistic director Robb Paterson said in an interview with CBC Radio.
He also talked about the challenge of programming a season for RMTC's audience.
"Winnipeg audiences are pretty sophisticated audiences," he says. "So getting a balance, in terms of comedy, drama, contemporary, classic, because I think Winnipeg audiences want it all. So they're fine with populist theatre, as long as you offer some challenging stuff as well."
Does the upcoming season strike that balance? Judge for yourself...
Here's a look at what's coming up at the John Hirsch Mainstage:Harvey
by Mary Chase (Oct. 17 - Nov. 9): A Pulitzer Prize-winner in 1945, Chase's play is more famous for the 1950 film version starring Jimmy Stewart in the lead role of Elwood - a mild-mannered man whose best friend is a six-foot-tall rabbit only he can see.A Christmas Story
by Philip Grecian, based on Bob Clark's movie (Nov. 21 - Dec. 14): The 1983 film about nine-year-old Ralphie, and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun, has become a Christmas classic.Jane Eyre
by Julie Beckman, adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel (Jan. 9 - Feb. 1, 2014): After great box office success with 2008's Pride and Prejudice
and this season's Gone With the Wind
, RMTC offers up another stage adaptation of a literary classic with Brontë's story of Jane Eyre
, who falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester.The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams (Feb. 13 - Mar. 8): Williams' hauntingly sad and beautiful play is one of the masterpieces of 20th-century drama - but hinges so much on the casting. We'll see who steps into the iconic roles of Williams' surrogate Tom, his delicate sister Laura, and their domineering mother.
Ins Choi in Kim's Convenience (Cylla von Tiedemann)
by Ins Choi (Mar. 13 - Apr. 5): Toronto playwright Choi's 2011 work was a Fringe festival hit, and went on to be a success for Soulpepper Theatre. The play, about a Korean immigrant who wants to pass the family convenience store on to his disinterested kids, has been hailed as an important work by a significant new voice on the Canadian theatre scene.Good People
by David Lindsay-Abaire (Apr. 17 - May 10): This play, by American playwright Lindsay-Abaire, won a 2011 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the Season. The story of a working-class single mom who loses her job and seeks out a successful ex may resonate in our still-uncertain economic climate.
And at the Tom Hendry Warehouse next season, we'll see:Venus in Fur
by David Ives (Oct. 24 - Nov. 9): Inspired by the 1870 novel Venus in Furs
by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (the guy who inspired the term "masochism," so you know he was a wee bit kinky), Ives' play about a director and an auditioning actor delves into issues of power, fantasy, and sex. Ives can be a remarkably witty writer, and this 2010 play was a Broadway hit a couple of seasons back - so we can expect writing much, much better than Fifty Shades of Grey
by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson (Nov. 28 - Dec. 14): Although this one-man play premiered at Stratford last year, there's no more fitting place for it to be performed than Winnipeg. After all, this is the stage biography of John Hirsch, the Hungarian refugee who went on to co-found the Manitoba Theatre Centre.The Seagull
by Anton Chekhov, translated by David French (Jan. 23 - Feb. 8, 2014): Considered one of the fathers of modern theatre, Chekhov is the subject of next year's Master Playwright Festival. RMTC's entry is his seminal 1895 play The Seagull
, which centres on the simmering tensions of a quartet of characters at a country estate.The Secret Annex
by Alix Sobler (Feb. 20 - Mar. 8): Originally titled Rewritten
, and slated to open at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre this season, local playwright Alix Sobler's play will now see its world premiere at the Warehouse next year. It imagines an Anne Frank who has survived the Holocaust, and finds herself struggling to tell her story in New York. The lone new work in RMTC's 2013-2014 season, this will also be the first new play by a Manitoban to grace the MTC stage since Kevin Klassen's 2009 play, Bleeding Hearts
.Tickets to the 2013-2014 season at MTC and the Warehouse go on sale on March 7.
Related:Gone With the Wind does bang up business for MTC.