“You know, I’m so worried about Dick. I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be allowed to live.”
Cast & Personnel
- Jeanne Harris
- Jovan Jackson
- Seán Patrick Judge
- Anne Quackenbush
- Rebecca Randall
- Charlie Scott
- Kyle Sturdivant
- Abraham Zeus Zapata
Assistant Stage Manager
In an imagined near future, the creative team behind a critically lauded but ultimately unsuccessful play called “Midnight in a Clearing With Moon and Stars” have gathered at their old haunt, The Talk House. It’s the ten-year anniversary of what turned out to be one of the last plays ever performed. Some of them now make a lot of money in television, while those less successful in the entertainment business have had to take on more unsettling forms of employment to get by. Over the course of a night spent snacking, drinking, and reminiscing in this old wood-paneled club gone to seed, the characters begin revealing disturbing secrets about what their lives have become. The unnamed country they live in is ruled by a charming but frightening autocrat, and many people are finding themselves increasingly complicit and morally compromised in surprising and ominous ways.
This new darker-than-dark comedy by Catastrophic favorite Wallace Shawn (THE DESIGNATED MOURNER, MARIE AND BRUCE, OUR LATE NIGHT) examines the ways in which artists resist, try to hide from, and sometimes abet brutal state power. EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2015, now feels especially prescient. In 2017, Shawn discussed the play with the New York Times: “Plays began as political. The Greek plays were about communities and cities and kings and queens and how a country was run. We went through a brief period in the United States of somehow being so prosperous and secure that we forgot that we lived in the world, and plays were about what was happening in somebody’s kitchen.”
WALLACE SHAWN is an American actor, voice actor, stand-up comedian, singer, dancer, playwright, and essayist, best known for appearing in film roles, such as Wally Shawn in the Louis Malle-directed comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987), Ezra in The Haunted Mansion, providing the voice of Rex in the Toy Story franchise, providing the voice of Gilbert Huph in The Incredibles (2004), and providing the voice of Calico in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010). He also starred in a variety of television series, including Gossip Girl and recurring appearances as Grand Nagus Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-99). His plays include The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colors. He also co-wrote the screenplay for My Dinner with Andre with Andre Gregory, and he scripted Vanya on 42nd Street, a film adaptation of Anton Chekov's play Uncle Vanya. His latest film from June 2014 was A Master Builder based on the play by Henrik Ibsen.
"A dangerous writer. A very rare species. He tells people things about themselves that they don't want to know."- Joseph Papp on Wallace Shawn
The Catastrophic Theatre's love of Wallace Shawn is well documented by its hit productions of Our Late Night and The Designated Mourner, each of which was declared a "can't miss" production by major critics in Houston. Audiences returned again and again, armed with friends.
Shawn is best known for his character roles in such films as The Princess Bride, Clueless, and Annie Hall as well as his more serious turns in the films My Dinner with Andre and Vanya on 42th Street, but acting for him is something of a day job. His primary mode of expression is his writing and he is a writer unlike any other.