Penumbra Theatre in St Paul announced its next season this morning, which includes trips to the Guthrie and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
In announcing the season Penumbra founder and Artistic Director Lou Bellamy (above) says he chose the season with the idea that everyone is feeling the reverberations of the recession.
"Still, many have shown incredible resolve. To honor this spirit of determination, I've selected plays that celebrate ordinary people showing extraordinary courage when life tests our mettle. Art plays an essential role in trying times: it reminds us of our humanity. The stories this season promise to open our eyes as well as our hearts."
The season opens with the regional premiere of "Sleep Deprivation Chamber" by Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy in September, followed by the popular holiday production of "Black Nativity: Now's the Time" which opens in late November.
The new year begins January 20th with "Julius by Design" by Kara Lee Corthron, a world premiere production directed by Bellamy, followed by "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" by August Wilson. This is the latest show in Penumbra's committment to present all of Wilson's 20th Century cycle, and will be performed at the Guthrie Theatre.
The final show, opening April 21st, is "I Wish You Love" by Dominic Taylor, the second world premiere. It will travel to the Kennedy Center after its St Paul run.
Bellamy encapsulates the plays like this: "'Sleep Deprivation Chamber' is a riveting look at a mother's struggle to save her son. Again "Black Nativity" testifies to the power of faith and family. "Julius by Design" insists upon humanity in the wake of a murder. In Wilson's gritty blues drama "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," pride is deadly in the face of racism and greed. And finally in I Wish You Love, Nat "King" Cole represents a uniquely American dilemma; how could a dapper and elegant star so endear white audiences and also be required to endure the insult of racial prejudice?"
You can find more details at the Penumbra web site.