PHILADELPHIA: The Wilma Theater has announced a four-show 20-21 season with no dates attached to accommodate the shifting realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wilma has also added a new ticketing program designed to allow audience members flexibility in determining when they will return to the theatre when the Wilma is eventually able to reopen its doors. This will be the first season under the Wilma’s new co-artistic director model.
“While acknowledging that our world is facing a major threat,” said lead artistic director Yury Urnov in a statement, “all four artistic cohort members also see this moment as an opportunity for all of us to reconsider out attitude to what’s normal, right, and important. In hard times, artists’ voices often sound louder, and this opportunity comes with the duty to help people come together, resist tragedy, and rethink the habitual.”
The season will open with Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning, about four Catholic conservative friends whose backyard party reunion sparks riveting debates. Founding artistic director Blanka Zizka will direct.
Next up will be Minor Character: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time, created by New Saloon (co-founded by Wilma co-artistic director Morgan Green) and based on the Chekhov play. Translations will come from Marian Fell, Laurence Senelick, Paul Schmidt, Carol Rocamora, Milo Cramer, and Google Translate to blend together to create one show. Urnov will direct.
Following will be the world premiere of James Ijames’ Fat Ham. Green will direct this contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set in the South and exploring the topics of toxic masculinity and cycles of violence.
The season will conclude with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fairview, by Jackie Sibblies Drury. Ijames will direct this play that starts out as a sitcom and provides a deep look at race and how we view each other.
With no dates currently attached to the season, the Wilma has introduced the WilmaPass, a four-ticket package that are good for any performances during the 2020-21 season and can be used at any time and in any combination.
“Each winter, I purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from local farmers,” said managing director Leigh Goldenberg, “ensuring they have the funds to plant the seeds to provide me with food throughout the summer. Likewise, we are asking our audiences to invest in us now so we can grown and create throughout the coming year, and deliver artistic work when we are ready.”