The Catastrophic Theatre Announces 2023-24 Season
WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett
Two penniless tramps stand waiting on a country road for the enigmatic Mr. Godot to arrive to somehow improve their diminishing circumstances. Just before nightfall, a messenger arrives to inform them that Godot will not come today but will surely come tomorrow. Meanwhile they pass the time in every way they can imagine, each leaning on the other, as they struggle to hope for better days to come.
Beckett described Waiting for Godot as a tragicomedy and there is perhaps no play that better fits that bill. His sad clowns recall nothing so much as a classic comedy duo; their suffering moves us because it is familiar, and we laugh at their pitiable pratfalls because those are familiar too. In other words, the play that unwittingly launched The Theatre of the Absurd, is a perfect parable for the human condition in which art truly, sorrowfully, and yes, hilariously imitates life.
Director Jason Nodler reunites with Greg Dean (Vladimir), Charlie Scott (Estragon), Kyle Sturdivant (Pozzo), and Troy Schulze (Lucky), reprising their roles from Catastrophic’s 2013 production, which The Houston Press called “brilliant” and The Houston Chronicle called “first-rate, must-see theater.” Mack Hutchison makes his Catastrophic debut as the Boy.
September 22 – October 14, 2023
THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Afsaneh Aayani, Adam J. Thompson, and Bradley Michalakis
The Turn of the Screw is a new environmental and multimedia theatrical adaptation of the celebrated Gothic ghost story of the same name by Henry James. In Victorian England, a young governess journeys to the isolated country estate of Bly to caretake two orphaned children. In time, she begins to witness mysterious apparitions of human figures on the estate grounds and startling and troubling changes in the behaviors of her young charges.
The Turn of the Screw combines environmental staging, toy theatre, puppetry, live cinema, and a haunting soundscape into a meditation on the tipping point between the innocence of imagination and a nefarious refutation of reality.
Conceived and co-directed by Catastrophic core artist Afsaneh Aayani and New York City-based creative director and multimedia designer Adam J. Thompson, with book by dramatist and dramaturg Bradley Michalakis, this new The Turn of the Screw is an invitation to pull up a pub seat and share a drink as performers and guests collaborate to manifest one of the world’s most celebrated and hotly contested ghost stories.
November 17 – December 9, 2023
IT IS MAGIC by Mickle Maher
Deb and Sandy are auditioning Tim for the role of the Wolf in a production of The Three Little Pigs, but there’s a mysterious haze in the basement of the Mortier Civic Playhouse and that, in addition to interruptions from the director of ‘the Scottish play’ that’s having its opening night upstairs, is making things difficult. Then, the mysterious Liz shows up throwing the room into utter chaos, revealing the deep, ancient evil at the heart of the community theater audition process.
It Is Magic is the latest play by Mickle Maher, writer of such Catastrophic favorites as There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, The Hunchback Variations, Song About Himself, and the world premiere of Small Ball, co-produced by former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, and others.
Directed by core artist Jeff Miller, whose past directing credits include Catastrophic hits Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, Baby Screams Miracle, and The Book of Grace.
February 9 – March 2, 2024
CLEANSED by Sarah Kane
In a former university society’s ‘undesirables’ are imprisoned and subjected to a series of tortures designed to test the limits of human love on the battlefield of the human body. Graham has died. His sister Grace arrives to collect his remains. Little does but there are his clothes. There is cruelty and violence. There is also love. And there is grace.
In her brief, boundary breaking career Sarah Kane’s work prompted the terms “a theatre of extremes” and “an ethics of catastrophe” yet Cleansed comes soaked through with hope. Explosively aching, hauntingly poetic, and disarmingly tender, Kane delivers a fever-dream fable of unimaginable brutality and miraculous beauty.
Given our country’s immediate threat to the bodies and lives of those of us who look, live, or love beyond the confines of conservative ‘norms,’ 26 years after it was written, Cleansed feels nightmarishly prescient. More than a play, in 2024’s America, Cleansed feels like a cause.
The regional premiere of Cleansed is co-directed by core artist T Lavois Thiebaud and founding artistic director Jason Nodler with production design by core artists Afsaneh Aayani and James Templeton, reuniting the creative team behind Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis which The Houston Press called “an imaginative bulldozer of a production.”
March 29 – April 20, 2024
TAMARIE’S TEXAS TOAST by Tamarie Cooper and Patrick Reynolds
Tamarie and her merry band of musical maniacs are taking on the great state of Texas. 27 installments of all-new, full-scale original Tamarie Cooper musicals and there’s never been one about Texas? What? We’ve been saving it for you.
Expect huge dance numbers, massive songs, and gigantic belly laughs. Why? Because everything’s bigger in Texas, you tourist. This scorched, humid, political hornet’s nest is ripe for spoofing from the collective minds of Cooper and Patrick Reynolds. Bank on douchey Austin tech bros, horny toads, the Alamo, sticker burrs, the TEA, and a certain governor, bless his heart. Plus, all the actual wonders that Texas has to offer: Tex-Mex, big hair, What-a-Burger, and the best city in the Lone Star State, H-Town, Baby!
Tamarie’s Texas Toast is both a toast and a roast of all things Texas. As always, Tamarie will be joined by a live band and a cast of Houston’s funniest performers, bringing you an entirely original and completely irreverent musical bonanza. All from the bottom of Tamarie’s Texas-sized heart.
June 21 – August 3, 2024
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston
All tickets are Pay-What-You-Can