NEW ORLEANS: Southern Rep Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2019-20 season, featuring three regional premieres, including Ntozake Shange’s translation of Mother Courage and Her Children, which transposes the action from Europe during the 30 Years War to the American Southwest after the Civil War. The season also includes two world premieres and an updated New Orleans holiday favorite.
“We wanted to take a moment to explore what it’s like to reconnect to joy in a time like now that can often feel so grim,” Southern Rep producing artistic director Aimée Hayes said in a statement. “This season is filled with eclectic and remarkably funny plays, and even our dramas disarm with humor while digging into the darker and deeper emotional wells of our humanity. Focusing on the different kinds of joy we experience as humans—whether it be through gardening, food, drink, making love, dancing, romance or family—is exactly the kind of theatre we want to make this season.”
The season will open with the regional premiere of August: Osage County (Sept. 11-Oct. 6) by Tracy Letts. In the play, three sisters reunite with their pill-addicted mother when their father disappears, resulting in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. Jason Kirkpartick will direct.
Next will be Karen Zacarías’s Native Gardens (Oct. 30-Nov. 17), also a regional premiere. The new comedy follows two couples’s transition from well-meaning neighbors to feuding enemies over the placement of a fence in their backyards. Helen Jaksch will direct.
The season will continue with Mandatory Merriment (Part Deux): A New Orleans Holiday Musical (Dec. 4-29), created by Leslie Castay and Ian Hoch and featuring book by Ian Hoch. Dubbed a “world premiere 2.0,” the musical tells the story of six strangers who are forced to find new ways to celebrate the season when they find themselves together at a tavern in the French Quarter just two days before Christmas. The production will be directed by Leslie Castay.
Following will be the regional premiere of Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children (Jan. 22-Feb. 2, 2020), translated by Ntozake Shange. In the play, the title character struggles to survive the war by profiting from it but ends up paying the ultimate cost.
The world premiere of Reykjavik (March 18-April 5, 2020) by Steve Yockey. The play, directed in this production by producing artistic director Aimée Hayes, is a series of interconnected vignettes featuring tourists mixing with the—sometimes supernatural—Icelandic locals.
The season will close with the world premiere of Pamela Davis-Noland’s Chemin Du Bayou (May 13-31, 2020). This Southern Rep commission tells the story of New Orleans through a mix of storytelling, song, and dance, developed out of historical research and present-day oral histories from current and former residents, retailers, and parishioners of St. Rose de Lima. Helen Jaksch will direct.
About to enter its 33rd season, Southern Rep Theatre aims to produce works that are engaging, educational, and accessible for audiences of every socioeconomic background.