Rehearsals began today, and the full cast announced for the World Premiere of WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! which begins previews at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on August 8 and will run until August 19th on the Nikos Stage.
It’s a new play by Katori Hall, who was a relatively obscure new playwright until recently, and she is making waves in the theatre world. Hall’s The Mountaintop, an 80-minute period piece about Martin Luther King’s final night before his assassination, came and went on Broadway. Our colleague, Charles Giuliano was probably the only Berkshire critic to see it in New York, and he wrote an intense, probing review. (Link)
When she spoke with the U.K.’s Guardian, Hall noted that “There have been a ton of plays that are showing more variety from black playwrights. My own influences are all over the place” Like? “Everyone expects me to say August Wilson, Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller. But I don’t read many plays. I prefer to get my inspiration from visual art, from people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, and from writers like Tom Wolfe – and he’s an old white Republican! “
Hall is a journalist turned actor-cum-writer from Memphis, Tennessee and does not traffic in the tried and true theatrical themes. Get a load of the premise for WHADDABLOODCLOT!!!.
The Premise of Katori Hall’s New Play is Unexpected
One-percenter Eden Higgenbotham (Benko) lives a cushy Upper-East-Side life surrounded by equally affluent, vain, and snobbish friends. When a sudden stroke causes her to contract the very rare Foreign Accent Syndrome, which makes her speak uncontrollably with a Jamaican accent, she’s forced to embrace a dramatically altered identity. Irreverent and hilarious, WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! is a searing satire of race and class.
Hall won a prestigious Olivier Award for Mountaintop in London, and seems to have gotten everyone’s attention, including that of Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF). Finding and nurturing new voices, new playwrights is vital to the future of the Amerian theatre, and Gerston is clearly unafraid of giving the most promising a go at it with full fledged productions. This season has been a particularly adventurous one for the WTF.
The Ensemble and Production Team
The World Premiere of WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! is directed by May Adrales (Goodman Theatre’s Mary, WTF’s 2008 Fellowship Play Cold Hard Cash). The ensemble features Tina Benko (Irena’s Vow), Aaron Costa Ganis (Public Theater’s 365 Days/365 Plays), Brian Tyree Henry (The Book of Mormon), Greta Lee (4000 Miles), Andres Munar (Blood and Gifts), Kathy Searle (Apple Cove), and Carolyn Michelle Smith (The Acting Company’s As You Like It).
The creative team includes David Gallo (Scenic Design), ESosa (Costume Design), Gina Scherr (Lighting Design), and Jill BC Du Boff (Sound Design). Jenny Dewar is the Production Stage Manager.
WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! is produced in association with New York’s Signature Theatre where Katori Hall is a member of their Residency Five Program.
As previously announced, the complete 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season runs from June 26 – August 19, 2012 and includes Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a Preview Production of the new musical Far From Heaven, and a new translation of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country on the Main Stage, with Lucy Boyle’s The Blue Deep, Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man, and Katori Hall’s WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! on the Nikos Stage. The season also included a special workshop production of David Byrne’s Here Lies Love, which played at nearby Mass MoCA.
Tickets to the Williamstown Theatre Festival may be purchased online (www.wtfestival.org), by phone at 413-597-3400, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
2012 SEASON SUMMARY
The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by David Hyde Pierce
June 26 – July 14, 2012
Far From Heaven
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Directed by Michael Greif
July 19 – 29, 2012
A Month in the Country
By Ivan Turgenev
Translated by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Directed by Richard Nelson
August 1 – 19, 2012
The Blue Deep
By Lucy Boyle
Directed by Bob Balaban
June 27 – July 8, 2012
Last of the Red Hot Lovers
By Neil Simon
Directed by Jessica Stone
July 11 – 22, 2012
The Elephant Man
By Bernard Pomerance
Directed by Scott Ellis
July 25 – August 5, 2012
By Katori Hall
Directed by May Adrales
August 8 – 19, 2012