Aptly Themed “Saints and Sinners” Series Brings New Stage and Seven Classics.
Pittsburgh, PA, September 20, 2014- PICT Classic Theatre approaches its nineteenth year and is experiencing growing pains! With more theatre than one venue can hold, PICT expands to seven “classics” in 2015- with two Downtown Series performances kicking off the season in the Cultural District.
“A Place of Saints and Sinners,” is the theme of this new season, and Artistic & Executive Director, Alan Stanford, carefully selected it to represent PICT’s 2015 lineup. “It is a corruption of the well-know description of Ireland ‘A Land of Saints and Scholars’,” said Stanford. “Each of the plays in this season, including the Downtown Series, questions the nature of saints and sinners and presents us with rich characters who fall in a variety of places on the spectrum.”
PICT Classic Theatre performs established classic plays and those it believes have the potential to become classics, often drawing from Irish or world theatre. Ireland has made a huge contribution to the body of English language theatre since the 17th century, when Irish writers would move to London as theatre’s natural center. Every Irish writer, from Farquhar, Sheridan and Wilde to Shaw and Beckett, has changed the face of both British and world theatre. Ireland gave quality plays to the world and now you can see productions of that quality at PICT.
The new season will see the return of many audience favorites including Martin Giles, David Walen, James FitzGerald, Karen Baum and some surprise guests as well. Joining them for one production only is Alan Stanford, who will appear on the PICT stage after his quintessential performance as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot this season. Aoife Spillane-Hinks, director of Our Class and Waiting for Godot, and Matt Torney, director of Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, will return to direct in 2015 after delighting PICT audiences two seasons in a row.
PICT also announces its commitment to continuing the tradition of prominently featuring two artists throughout each new season. In 2015, actor Martin Giles and Scenic Designer and Properties Master, Johnmichael Bohach, will serve as PICT’s 2015 Featured Artists. The Featured Artist program allows audiences to see how the same artists adapt to very different roles, both on the stage and in the production team. Another tradition that PICT will observe is to provide Pittsburgh with a top-of-the-line production of one of Shakespeare’s works in the month of October.
The official 2015 Season announcement will take place at 7 p.m. in the lobby of The Charity Randall Theatre before the final performance of PICT’s current production, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. PICT invites friends and supporters to enjoy a glass of wine as Alan Stanford introduces and highlights the upcoming season.
Introducing the Downtown Series
The Downtown Series will be staged at Peirce Studio inside the Trust Arts Education Center on Liberty Avenue. Audiences will see a different side of PICT in this intimate, 150-seat studio that provides PICT with the environment to create tomorrow’s classics out of unique theatrical works. Though the programming will be novel, patrons can expect the same exceptional level of quality in the Downtown Series that they would find on the Main Stage.
“This gives us the ability to extend our season into the early part of the year,” said Alan Stanford. “Now we can offer our friends and subscribers one additional show, while also giving them the opportunity to visit PICT year-round.”
About PICT’s 2015 Season: “A Place of Saints and Sinners”
For the Tree to Drop – February 19-28 – Trust Arts Education Center
By Lissa Brennan
Pittsburgh audiences may recall this truly stunning piece from when it was presented as a reading in Bricolage’s In the Raw Festival in 2013. Written by PICT veteran and celebrated local actress, Lissa Brennan, this piece is a vivid and shocking reminder of the injustices of slavery. In a world where ownership of the body does not include ownership of the soul, Estella exercises one of her “little freedoms” and holds a vigil for the sake of her brother’s dignity. Set in the antebellum Old South, this compact piece tells the story of a young African-American woman who is both slave and sister. A beautiful, tragic world-premiere, For the Tree to Drop will launch PICT’s 2015 Season as well as the Downtown Series.
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris – April 29- May 9 – Trust Arts Education Center
By Jacques Brel, English lyrics and additional material by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman
The poignant, passionate and profound songs of Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel are vividly brought to life in this intense musical experience. Master of the chanson, Brel’s legendary, romantic works have been translated and recorded worldwide by artists such as Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins. His music is brimming with European sophistication, and the sheer poetry of his songs supports many layers of interpretation, giving every production new and unexpected meaning. This American musical revue, which was adapted for film in 1975, will be the second and final performance in PICT’s Downtown Series.
How the Other Half Loves – May 28- June 13 – The Charity Randall Theatre
By Alan Ayckbourn
Three couples. Two houses. One stage. Similar to PICT’s 2012 production of House and Garden, How the Other Half Loves is a classic farce by the genius of English theatre. With all the complexities and confusions that every great comedy offers, we have a mixture of saints and sinners in a series of nefarious relationships. Experience humor at its finest as two dinner parties on different nights occur simultaneously, while all along the audience knows the secret that is causing the commotion.
Sharon’s Grave – July 16- August 1 – The Henry Heymann Theatre
By John B. Keane
Trouble is brewing as Donal Conlee takes to his deathbed. His lonely daughter must fight for her land and protect her brother against the scheming of their malignant cousin. This story of land-lust, mystery and folklore is a classic tale, set against the rugged North Atlantic coastline of Ireland in the 1960s. Witness the mastery of one of Ireland’s foremost storytellers and playwrights as he weaves the tale of this Conlee family feud together with the mythical story of a beautiful Celtic princess, Sharon, who meets an untimely end. Similar to the plays of Synge or McDonagh, this is a show for all the family to enjoy.
Saint Joan – September 3-19 – The Charity Randall Theatre
By George Bernard Shaw
The heroine of France, the Roman Catholic Saint and one of history’s most significant females takes center stage in this “tragedy without villains.” Joan of Arc was so much more than a simple French farm girl who saves her country and crowns a King, and George Bernard Shaw presents his interpretation of the saint’s life based on the historical manuscripts from her trial. He lays bare the very ideas of nationalism, protest and the freedom fighter. Who was Saint Joan? That is for the audience to decide.
The Tempest – October 8-24 – The Charity Randall Theatre
By William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s enchanted isle is less than enchanting to those brought there by storm and sea. Conjured up by the magician Prospero and his spirit-servant, the storm brings him Kings, Princes and old grievances. Upon his guests’ unceremonious arrival, in a perfect mixture of comedy and pathos, old wounds are healed and young love prospers in this brave new world. One of the Bard’s last works, this play is rich in language and beauty, and is perfect for audiences of any age.
Oliver Twist – December 3-19 – The Charity Randall Theatre
By Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by Alan Stanford
Set against the backdrop of a dark and grimy Victorian London, Oliver Twist is orphaned and lost in a world of criminals and tarts and held in the clutches of an avaricious old man. With his life in danger, a saint of unusual pedigree finally brings all to right. In one of the most famous stories of all time, the young and innocent are brought face to face with some of the worst sinners in London, but the result is an understanding of salvation and happiness. This family-friendly play was commissioned by the Gate Theatre in Dublin and comes from the pen of our Artistic & Executive Director, Alan Stanford.
PICT Classic Theatre is committed to the creation of high quality, professional thought-provoking theatre of substance. We accomplish this mission by investing in and promoting the community and region, and by producing and presenting classics and the “modern” classics of Irish and world theatre. We continue to explore innovative ideas that showcase the emotional power of a play and its ability to stir the soul in unimaginable ways.