“Great” Things Are Coming
by Alan Stanford
We have wended our wicked way from the delights of a couple of blithe spirits. We have waited for Godot, who never came. We have met a scarecrow who brought us face to face to the moment of dying, and helped us laugh our way through it. We have observed the sons of Ulster on their fateful march to the Somme. We have journeyed from fame to disaster with the Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, dear Macbeth.
And it’s not over yet.
Our Holiday presentation is still to come, and we will bring you from the simple kitchen of Joe Gargery to the ancient and decaying wedding feast of Miss Havisham in a glorious staging of Charles Dickens’ wonderful tale, Great Expectations. This beautiful tale is, among other things, the ultimate ‘right of passage’ story. The hero, Pip, travels from a poverty he did not deserve to wealth he did not earn as he tries to become a Gentleman, a concept he doesn’t even understand. And on this journey, he will encounter many of the delightful characters born in the world of Charles Dickens’ wonderful imagination.
This version for the stage was first commissioned by The Gate Theatre in Dublin, from the pen of Hugh Leonard. He is one of the finest adapters ever to have graced the art of turning a novel into a play. I was privileged to work with him, on this adaptation and others, and was proud to know him as a friend and mentor. He was also a truly great playwright, with many successes on Broadway and in London’s West End. This version of Great Expectations followed an earlier adaptation he scripted in serial form for the BBC.
In addition, we have assembled the best team we could wish for, and it’s all Pittsburgh. We are delighted to welcome home to PICT the divine Mary Rawson as the indomitable Miss Havisham. David Whalen changes his king’s crown for a lawyers wig as Mr. Jaggers. Our featured artists of this year and next are with us as well. PICT longtime favorite Martin Giles will be the humble Blacksmith, Joe Gargery, and the multifaceted Karen Baum plays the dual roles of hard-edged Mrs. Joe and gentle Biddy. And as the wise owl clerk to the lawyer, James Fitzgerald will play Mr. Wemick. We are also thrilled to welcome back Larry John Meyers as the convict, Magwitch.
And for this production we are proud to bring you two remarkable young actors playing their first leading roles with PICT. The heart of the story is Pip, and for this role we have a fine young actor and Pitt graduate, Dylan Marquis Meyers. Of course if there is Pip, there must be Estella, and for this role we bring you the beautiful Lily Davis, a graduate of Point Park Conservatory. Both of these artists have been seen in previous PICT productions of Lady Windermere’s Fan and Macbeth, but here we will see them in their first major leading roles, and we are certain that this will be the start of something big for both of them.
Coming up next year is “A Place of Saints and Sinners.”
We have a wonderful program of plays for 2015, including the works of both Shaw and Shakespeare, as well as the world premiere of a play by Pittsburgh playwright, Lissa Brennan. There will be another Dickens for the Holiday Season as well.
We are also happy to be presenting another evening of legal fun with PICT UnCommon Pleas. Each year we put on trial some of the characters from our October Shakespeare. This past year we tried Macbeth and his lady before a bench of six real (and highly amusing) judges. In 2015, we will put characters from The Tempest before our court. You can watch out for news of this on our website and emails.
So, as we draw to the end of our season of wickedness, let me give you an early welcome to the new year, the new season, and let me invite you to join us in the Family of PICT.