The Hypocrites have been on a roll for quite some time now, both in Chicago and beyond. And the lineup for the company’s 17th season suggests they are preparing to take more risks than ever.
As artistic director Halena Kays noted: “The Hypocrites’ directors and adapters are most attracted to seeking new vision in familiar stories. My hope is that with each production this season our audiences will be happily pushed to join us in our experiments with text and music.”
Here’s the complete lineup:
± “12 Nights” (Aug. 14-Oct. 6): In his adaptation from multiple sources (including Barnabe Riche’s “Apolonius and Silla,” William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and an anonymous Italian play), director Sean Graney will spin a tale of “people falling in love, having fun and drinking a lot.” Featuring a cast of only four actors — Tien Doman, Christine Stulik, Zeke Sulkes and Jeff Trainor, who also will serve as the production designers — the show will be produced in the same spare, economical style as its parks-touring “Romeo and Juliet.”
± “Mikado” (Nov. 14-Dec. 29): Directed and adapted by Sean Graney, this hit production, a zany reimaginating of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, has been scheduled to bring summertime pleasure to wintertime days. (The Hypocrites will not remount its “Pirates of Penzance” in Chicago this year, but will be producing this other Gilbert and Sullivan hit of theirs at Actors Theatre of Louisville in January, 2014.
± The Tennessee Williams Project (working title) (Jan. 15-March 2, 2014): Directed and devised by Matt Hawkins, this evening of one-act plays by Williams that were written between 1937 and 1982, will begin with a story reminiscent of classical Williams and end with a bizarre and distorted look at a man’s struggle to survive. Rarely produced, these works are about “the aching need for love and connection, and the isolation and loneliness that come from rejection. They contain many of the familiar themes explored in Williams’ well-known plays, but they reveal a side of the author that many may have never seen before.”
± “Into the Woods” (a joint production by Mercury Theater Chicago and The Hypocrites, presented on the Mercury stage) (Feb. 5-March 30, 2014): With a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine, this popular musical that intermingles a slew of classic fairy tales will be directed by Geoff Button.
Mercury owner Walter Stearns observed: “I’m delighted to collaborate with The Hypocrites to bring this refreshingly original production of ‘Into the Woods’ to Mercury Theater Chicago. And director Button added: “One of the things I consider a hallmark of The Hypocrites style has always been the heightened and playful sense of theatricality we bring to the designs of our shows, set in contrast to a profound sense of emotional realism and elevated dramatic stakes. I feel like ‘Into the Woods’ is a perfect opportunity to interrogate and deconstruct that aesthetic. The sheer silliness of The Hypocrites work is a perfect fit for a fairy tale world, but I also think we can nail the simple, unvarnished truth within that world. The fact that there is no narrator to come in and tell our stories for us, and that at the end of the day we are set adrift to try to make a life. We find people, we lose people, we find new people, and every time we make a connection we are faced with the potential for loss.”
All shows will be performed at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, except “Into the Woods,” which will be at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport.
Call (773) 525-5991 or visit www.the-hypocrites.com.