The Playgoer: Regional Theatre seasons: Wilma

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Regional Theatre seasons: Wilma

The Wilma in Philadelphia has announced an interesting season for next year, including a Caryl Churchill double bill of the now-classic Cloud 9 and the new gem A Number. But especially intriguing to me is the scheduling of recent Tony-winner I Am My Own Wife in a "re-imagined" production. What exactly that means will have to wait, I guess, but it seems a smart move on playwright Doug Wright's part (who has tacitly approved through his association with the company). The original production, I felt, was so linked to Jefferson Mays's bravura performance that I really questioned the future legacy of the play. Not that the writing isn't good, but it simply begged the question: is the play viable without Mays, or without a Mays-imitator? It will be interesting to see if this staging involves more than one actor, for instance.

I posit that such an "open" view of the pervasive one-person play genre will be necessary if contemporary playwriting is to have a future not dependent on performance values. However, if you don't see any need for theatre to be literature at all, well...

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