The Wilma Theater
Leaving (U.S. Premiere)
May 19 - June 20, 2010 (press opening: May 26)
By Václav Havel
Directed by Jiri Zizka
Translated by Paul Wilson
The Wilma Theater concludes its 2009 – 2010 Season with the U.S. Premiere of Leaving, by Václav Havel. The first play in 20 years from playwright and former Czech President Havel, Leaving will receive its U.S. Premiere production under co-Artistic Director Jiri Zizka’s direction, with Academy Award® nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) starring in the role of ex-Chancellor Dr. Vilėm Rieger.
Leaving is an inventive story of a recently-retired Chancellor who confronts large questions of truth and power while he struggles to manage his eccentric family and humorous bevy of functionaries. Allusions from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare’s King Lear invade the Chancellor’s consciousness in this wry political tragicomedy.
An epic production with a cast of 15, Leaving is directed by Jiri Zizka, who previously directed the feature film of Havel’s Largo Desolato, adapted by Tom Stoppard, starring Academy Award® winner F. Murray Abraham. Zizka also directed the U.S. premiere of Havel’s Temptation off-Broadway at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York, with Strathairn in the lead role.
Leavingbegins previews on May 19, opens on May 26 (press night), and closes on June 20, 2010. President Havel and his wife Dagmar are planning to attend the Opening Night performance of Leaving on May 26, 2010. Tickets range from $36 to $65, and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling (215) 546-7824, visiting www.wilmatheater.org, or coming to the theater, located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. Student tickets are available for as little as $10, depending on date and time, made possible through a grant from PNC Arts Alive.
EARLIER THIS SEASON
October 14 - November 15, 2009 (press opening: Oct. 21)
By Athol Fugard
Directed by Blanka Zizka
Veronika Jonkers left her cherished grandfather’s farm in South Africa to pursue her dream of becoming a cabaret singer in Cape Town. Years later, she returns to her hometown with broken dreams, a painful secret, and the unflinching hope of building a new life for her young son. The latest play from master playwright Athol Fugard – hailed by Time magazine as “the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world” – Coming Home is a soaring emotional experience.
Becky Shaw (Philadelphia Premiere)
December 30, 2009 – January 31, 2010 (press opening: Jan. 6)
By Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Anne Kauffman
A Pulitzer Prize finalist and smash hit that premiered Off-Broadway earlier this year, Becky Shaw is the latest comedy from Obie Award-winner Gina Gionfriddo (After Ashley, writer/producer of “Law & Order”). When Suzanna decides to set her best friend Max up on a blind date with her husband’s mysterious co-worker, Becky Shaw, she sets into motion a series of cataclysmic events forever changing all of their lives. Mixing sharp wit and humor with the taut suspense of a psychological thriller, Becky Shaw is a comedy of romantic errors that The New York Times called “as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage from its first moments to its last!”
Language Rooms (World Premiere)
March 3 - April 4, 2010 (press opening: Mar. 10)
By Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Blanka Zizka
The World Premiere of Language Rooms is a subversive dark comedy about two Arab-American interrogators at an undisclosed American facility somewhere in the world. They strive to prove themselves the best at their jobs in the midst of absurd office politics and management constantly questioning their loyalties and dedication to “the company.” From an exciting new playwright, Yussef El Guindi, this play will spark debate about family relationships, identity, the War on Terror, and the corruption of the American Dream. Shifting between comedy and political suspense, the play conjures up a surprising twist not to be given away.
Subscription prices range from $32-$210, with Flex Subscriptions available that give subscribers the flexibility to choose performance dates over the season. Special discounts are available on single tickets for seniors, students, educators, and groups of 10 or more. Subscriptions and tickets are available by calling (215) 546-7824, visiting The Wilma Theater box office located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia, or online at www.wilmatheater.org.
The Wilma Theater exists to present theater as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. The Wilma produces thoughtful, well-crafted, productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and production styles. During the tenure of co-Artistic Directors Jiri and Blanka Zizka, The Wilma Theater has established a national reputation for provocative work ranging from the international drama of Bertolt Brecht, Athol Fugard, Eugene Ionesco, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard to new American plays by Tina Howe, Romulus Linney, Quincy Long, Doug Wright, Amy Freed and many others, as well as premiering Jiri Zizka’s original adaptations of classic novels.