“It’s funny how sometimes you think you know what you’re looking at and then, surprise surprise, you turn out to be right.”
Cast & Personnel
The PlayFrom the mind of Will Eno—once dubbed “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation”—comes WAKEY, WAKEY, a play that calls to mind a stand-up routine performed at the edge of death that the New York Times called “glowingly dark, profoundly moving.” Through its lead character, a dying man named Guy, the play grapples inventively and honestly with the human impulse to keep expressing ourselves, even as we near our inevitable end. The result is joyous, surprising, frequently funny, and ultimately rapturous. WAKEY, WAKEY offers a kind of spiritual bookend to Eno’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated one-man show THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING), staged by Catastrophic in a 2016 production that the Houston Press called “a searing lesson in how life is messy and wonderful and sucks from time to time.”
In an unprecedented partnership, The Catastrophic Theatre and the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance will co-present a visiting production of WAKEY, WAKEY, created by Hyde Park Theatre (HPT) in Austin, TX—a partnership that came about with encouragement from Eno himself. HPT Artistic Director Ken Webster directs the show and stars as Guy alongside co-star Rebecca Robinson. WAKEY, WAKEY is presented in a limited run at the José Quintero Theatre at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance.
Of the original HPT production, the Austin Chronicle raved: “Webster’s performance radiates charm . . . Captivating, superbly funny . . . Eno’s rapturous love affair with the full potential of the English language continues.” The Austin American Statesman added: “The appeal of WAKEY, WAKEY [is] the warm, witty, charming, resigned performance that Webster provides to an intimate audience. Through his choices as both an actor and a director, he turns the play into an outright celebration of what it means to live a worthwhile life that leaves an impact on other people. . . . In such divided times, the ultimate message of WAKEY, WAKEY feels radical rather than trite—share yourself with others, and take care of them, and they’ll do the same for you.”
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.
KEN WEBSTER has been actively involved in the Austin theatre scene as an actor, director, producer, and playwright for nearly four decades. He has served as the producing artistic director of Hyde Park Theatre since 2001. From 1988–2001 he was the artistic director of The Subterranean Theatre Company, and from 1986–1991 he was a resident director at Zachary Scott Theatre. He was a company member at The State Theatre from 1998-2001. Webster was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2006. Webster has appeared in and directed over a hundred stage productions and has been nominated for 48 B. Iden Payne Awards and 23 Austin Critics Table Awards. He received the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Direction in 1983, 1984, 1990, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008, and the Austin Critics Table Award for direction in 2003 and 2012. He is the only Austin director to have been honored with awards for directing in each of the last four decades. In 2010, Webster was nominated as Best Director by The Austin Theater Examiner for all four of the productions that he directed that year. In 2010, 2012 and 2013 he was voted Outstanding Theatre Director in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll. As an actor, Webster received the Payne Award for his performance in Eric Bogosian’s Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll in 1993, and an Austin Critics Table Awards for his one-man performances in St. Nicholas, by Conor McPherson and Thom Pain (based on nothing), by Will Eno in 2007. In 1999 Webster received the Critics Table John Bustin Award for “Conspicuous Achievement.” In 2009, he received The Austin Theatre Examiner Award for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy for his role in House, by Daniel MacIvor. Webster’s directing credits include Wakey, Wakey, The Wolves, The Moors, The Christians, John, The Flick, The Realistic Joneses, Middletown, Slowgirl, Tragedy: a tragedy, The Aliens, Circle Mirror Transformation, Dog Sees God, Body Awareness, The Atheist, The Collection, The Homecoming, The Drawer Boy, True West, A Lie of the Mind, The Pillowman, The Glory of Living, A Behanding in Spokane, Pageant, and the world premieres of Bombs in your Mouth, Perdita, Art Stripped Naked, Ham, and Something Someone Someplace Else. His stage acting credits include The Night Alive, The Good Thief, The Collection, Edmond, Glengarry Glen Ross, Blackbird, The Water Principle, Vigil, American Buffalo, True West, and The Pillowman. Webster’s film and television credits include Temple Grandin, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, and Friday Night Lights. Webster has acted in and directed five Will Eno plays and has directed five plays by Annie Baker. Webster served on the board of directors for The Austin Circle of Theatres from 1984-1986, and again in 1989-1990. He attended the University of Houston.
HYDE PARK THEATRE develops writers, designers, directors, and actors from within the Austin community, while at the same time producing works by exciting new and established voices of the alternative theatre scene. We will work with a broad and diverse base of local artists to produce theater that confronts, challenges, and entertains. We have a strong commitment to paying local writers, actors, and designers a decent wage for their work, and to expanding the base of working artists in Austin. We hope to diversify and expand the audience for theater in Austin, making theater accessible and essential across lines of income, class, race, gender, and sexual preference.