The Catastrophic Theatre
Middletown by Will Eno
May 23 – June 14, 2014
Thursday – Saturday at 8pm
All tickets Pay-What-You-Can
In Will Eno’s Middletown wry, mordant musings on life and death abound in the face of a vast and unknowable universe. The characters range from Mechanic to Librarian, Policeman to Handyman, Landscaper to future mother, and more.
Around them, the residents of Middletown live out their days, each thinking in his or her way: “there’s people like me in the world, I think. You don’t hear much from us because we usually don’t say anything. But we’re out here, trying to get a hold on the whole thing.”
As Christophen Wallenberg wrote in the Boston Globe: “People in “Middletown” have a strange knack for articulating the secret fears and niggling anxieties, the hidden hopes and dashed dreams beneath the genial pleasantries of small-town life. Middletown is a meditation on birth and death and the lives burning bright in between.”
Eno describes his impetus for the play: “We spend a lot of time thinking about the end and the beginning, in kind of self-aggrandizing ways. We talk about the miracle of birth and the mystery of death. But, by definition, all of our lives take place in the middle of those two sort of unknowable events, in this great and often unexamined middle… I wanted to write a play that put some thoughts and feelings in the air about the miracle and the mystery and that alluded to deep and unknown forces. But then really just have people going to the store and fixing the sink and going through the normal things of looking for love and getting up in the morning. Because that’s how we live.”
Eno, whom New York Times critic Charles Isherwood once famously described as “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation,” wrote Middletown in 2010. It had its premiere at the Vineyard Theatre in New York and won the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play. In an interview with Christopher Wallenberg of the Boston Globe, Will Eno mentioned he owed an inspirational debt to Thorton Wilder’s Our Town. Eno decided that instead of unnecessarily updating Wilder’s play, he wanted to consciously explore and travel in a separate direction. Eno says, “I think Middletown tries to look at the accumulation and effect of the tiny moments that make up our lives – and how we are constantly vulnerable to these tiny moments, which may in fact change the angle of our entire life, or not.
Will Eno was previously a Pulitzer-prize finalist in 2004 for his one-man play Thom Pain (based on nothing). He has been commissioned by the Royal National Theatre, is a Helen Merrill Playwriting Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, and was awarded the first-ever Marian Seldes/Garson Kanin Fellowship by the Theater Hall of Fame, as well as the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton. Will is now 47-years old and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The cast includes Miranda Herbert Aston, Amy Bruce, Rutherford Cravens, Candice D’Meza,Greg Dean, Patricia Duran, Xzavien Hollins, Kevin Jones,Kevin Lusignolo, Karen Morey, Kyle Sturdivant, and Lyndsay Sweeney. Directed by Kyle Sturdivant.
Scenic design is by Ryan McGettigan with lighting by Dustin Tannahill, costumes by Macy Perrone, sound by Chris Bakos, and props by Lauren Davis. Tawny Tidwell stage manages.
The Catastrophic Theatre
1119 East Fwy
Houston, TX 77002