Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Constellation Theatre Company Presents The Love of the Nightingale - Opens April 24th

From our friends at the Constellation Theatre Company...

In a World of Passion and Violence, Two Sisters are Driven to Do the Unimaginable

With Live Music by Helen Hayes Award Winner Tom Teasley

Against a backdrop of war, two loving sisters are separated by a royal marriage and a vast ocean. Ever curious about the world, young Philomele bravely takes a voyage on the high seas in hopes of a reunion. While the stars may guide the ship’s course, danger is in the air. Our heroine must use her creativity to reveal the truth. Olivier Award-winning playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker adapts Ovid’s mythical tale about family loyalty, desire and betrayal.

Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988, The Love of the Nightingale is inspired by the tale of Philomele, Procne and Tereus found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses written in 8 CE. Timberlake Wertenbaker has taken this tale of romantic desire and brutal violence and illuminated the female voices. While Procne is scared of marriage and travel, her younger sister Procne is burning for adventure; she tells us, “Sometimes I feel the whole world beating inside of me.” The expansive quality of this statement reflects the breadth and depth of themes in this play. It explores culture shock and gender roles; the evolution of a woman’s desires and her place in society from adolescence to old age; and the tension between the ferocity society wants in its warriors and its expectations that they will be able to return to staid, restrained civilization after combat.

Similar to Wertenbaker’s most famous play, Our Country’s GoodThe Love of the Nightingale also celebrates the power of the performing arts to transform lives. Within the play, the dramatic genres range from a masked, ceremonial court drama – a retelling of Phaedra – to a bawdy puppet show within the wild, acrobatics of a Bacchanalian frenzy. The combination of visual spectacle, live music, and movement expresses more than words alone can say, which is apt for a story in which the heroine finds herself silenced halfway through. 

Constellation has brought many epic adventures to the stage, from Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses to The Arabian Nights, from The Ramayana to Gilgamesh. Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman explains, “These timeless stories from around the world touch us powerfully today; they connect us to the ancients and the core of humanity. In this play, myth is a vehicle for us to express and process the darkest desires of the human heart.” The script, both witty and lyrical, allows this classical tale to resonate sharply today.

Constellation’s amazing design team re-unites A.J. Guban (Helen Hayes Award Nominee for both Scenic & Lighting Design for this past fall’s 36 Views) with Costume Designer Kendra Rai and Composer and Master Percussionist Tom Teasley. This will be the sixth show on which this trio has collaborated with director Allison Stockman. Joseph R. Walls is making his Constellation debut as Lighting Designer. Don Becker and Eric Brooks are collaborating on puppet design and puppet movement coaching. Matthew R. Wilson is the fight director and Kelly King returns to choreograph.

Leading the stellar acting ensemble is Constellation favorite Megan Dominy, as Philomele. She has previously been seen in Scapin, 36 ViewsMetamorphoses and The Ramayana in 2011. Matthew Schleigh and Dorea Schmidt join her in lead roles. Both Schleigh and Schmidt have been regulars at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre. The large cast includes many performers making their Constellation debut, including multiple Helen Hayes Award Winner Rena Cherry Brown. Constellation veterans Ashley Ivey and Vanessa Bradchulis are joined by Bru Ajueyitsi, Edward Christian, Daniel Corey, Jennifer J. Hopkins, Emma Jackson, Neelam Patel, and thirteen-year old rising star, Henry Niepoetter.

Musician Tom Teasley will be releasing a CD entitled The Love of the Nightingale during the run of the show. The music draws on inspiration from around the world, Greek, Balkan and Thracian music in particular. For the first time in his history of 11 theatrical collaborations with Constellation, Teasley will be playing live with his own pre-recorded and mastered soundtracks, offering an especially exhilarating acoustic experience.

WHO: Constellation Theatre Company

WHATThe Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Directed by Allison Arkell Stockman.

WHERE: Source Theatre 1835 14th St. NW

WHEN: April 24 – May 25, 2014. Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm. Sundays at 2 pm

Additional Shows: Saturdays, May 10, 17, 24 at 2:00 pm, Monday, May 12 at 8 pm, and Sundays, May 18, 25 at 7:30 pm.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews: April 24 & 25 at 8:30 pm. April 26 at 8 pm.

Post Show Talkbacks (2): Sunday, May 4 & Saturday, May 17 after 2 pm performance.

Constellation Theatre Company Mission:
Constellation Theatre Company’s mission is to spark the curiosity and imagination of the people of Greater Washington, DC by bringing stories to life from all over the world. Visual spectacle, music and movement unite with an exuberant acting ensemble to create an exhilarating entertainment experience.

For Tickets & Information: 202-204-7741, www.ConstellationTheatre.org

Ticket Prices: $35 - $45

Location: Source Theatre at 1835 14th St. NW on the corner of T St. Two blocks from the U St./ Cardozo Metro. On-street parking.

Other: Audiences aged 16 and up. We ask that a parent or guardian accompany any child under 16.