Artistic Director Jenny Gersten announced today the full cast and creative team for Touch(ed), to be presented on the Nikos Stage as part of the 2011 Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF). Touch(ed) will run from August 3rd, 2011 through August 14th, 2011, with the official opening August 4th at 7:30 p.m.
In an interview with Jenny Gerstein conducted a few months ago, (link) I asked her to tell us a little about Touch(ed), the playwright Bess Wohl, and why she decided to make it part of her first season.
“Bess Wohl who wrote Touch(ed) was part of the Equity acting ensemble here at WTF back in the 90′s when I was last here,” Gerstein remembers.
“She’s a terrific actress, we’ve stayed in touch, worked together on other plays I have done, but she began playwriting several years ago, and has written five plays. She has a wonderful voice, the plays are very excellent. They have a sort of quirky charm, combined with searching for the human soul,” she observed.
“It’s in all of her plays, a very interesting mix.”
“The story is about two sisters,, one of which is mentally ill. They are spending a weekend in a cabin in the woods trying to reconnect to the relationship they once had. A third character, a boyfriend Billy is in the mix, too.
“It’s got a great premise, a lot of humor and a great deal of heart. Mental illness as you know is one of those things that is a very tough sell to the ticket buyer, but I have to say this play is very special. All of us have to deal at times with people who are a little bit off, and this play shows how caring can sometimes go too far.”
The play is to be directed by Trip Cullman (A Small Fire; The Hallway Trilogy: Nursing).In the cast are Michael Chernus (Create Fate at WTF; In the Wake) as Billy, Lisa Joyce (“Boardwalk Empire”, La Bête) as Kay, and Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”; The Illusion) as Emma.
This will be the East Coast ‘premiere’ of Bess Wohl’s bittersweet comedy. It had its world premiere at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah in December, 2009. At the time, the play also included an advisory that the work contains strong language and mature themes.
About Bess Wohl
Playwright Bess Wohl’s other plays include In, Fake and Cats Talk Back. Cats Talk Back, a comedy, won the award for Best Overall Production at the NYC International Fringe Festival. She has developed her play In into a screenplay. Last season, she wrote an original drama pilot for Fox, and is currently at work on a drama about meat for HBO. Her plays have been developed at The Vineyard Theater, The Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Northlight Theater, TheaterWorks, and The Geffen Playhouse. She is currently writing the book for a musical about the adult entertainment industry for Center Theater Group in Los Angeles. As an actress, Bess has appeared onstage in New York, regionally and at Williamstown Theater Festival (five summers) and in numerous films and TV shows. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, as well as a degree in English Literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard, where she studied writing with both Seamus Heaney and Jamaica Kincaid.
About the Play
Kay loves her older sister Emma. Or is it Christina? Christine? Matilda? After spending eight years institutionalized and medicated, Emma has changed more than just her name. Determined to get back the brilliant sister she remembers, Kay rents a cabin in the woods and she and her boyfriend Billy hide the sharp objects, from butcher knife to cheese grater. Perhaps quality time with loved ones, some home-cooked meals and games of Scrabble will succeed in restoring Emma to health where her psychiatrists have failed. In its East Coast Premiere, Bess Wohl’s lively, bittersweet comedy explores the scope, limits, and sometimes dangerous side effects of familial love.
The creative team includes Andromache Chalfant (Set Design), Emiliy Rebholz (Costume Design), David Weiner (Lighting Design), and Jill DuBoff (Sound Design). Hannah Cohen is the Production Stage Manager.
Tickets and Performances
Tickets for the 2011 Williamstown Theatre Festival season are on sale now and can be purchased online at http://www.wtfestival.org, by phone at (413) 597-3400, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, 1000 Main St. (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267. New curtain times for all Main Stage and Nikos Stage shows are as follows: Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 p.m. For more schedule details, visit www.wtfestival.org.
About the Williamstown Theatre Festival
The Williamstown Theatre Festival brings award-winning actors, directors, and playwrights to the Berkshires, engaging a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. A WTF season covers a broad range of theatrical endeavors, revisiting classic plays with exciting new productions on its Main Stage, developing and nurturing bold new works on the Nikos Stage, and offering audiences a rich array of cultural events including Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops, and educational programs like the Greylock Theatre Project–a program for children in neighboring North Adams. While best known for its acclaimed productions, WTF is also home to unparalleled training and professional development programs serving new generations of aspiring theatre artists and managers. WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011. The Festival welcomes Jenny Gersten as its new Artistic Director for the 2011 season.