While the Yale Repertory Theatre’s 2011-’12 season features three brand new works, many of the theatre’s patrons will recognize several familiar faces running the shows.
Of the six shows this season, three will be world premieres, including new works by Amy Herzog DRA ’07, Will Eno, and another that has yet to be announced. The season will also feature two new versions of canonical works: Sarah Ruhl’s take on Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and a new adaptation of Moliere’s “A Doctor in Spite of Himself” by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp. Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” rounds out the season.
“These shows represent long-standing relationships with some of the most exciting artists in the American theater,” Associate Artistic Director of the Yale Rep Jennifer Kiger said.
The season opener “Three Sisters” will mark the return of playwright Sarah Ruhl and director Les Waters to the Rep. The two worked together on the Rep’s production of “Eurydice” in 2006 and also on Ruhl’s Tony-nominated play, “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play),” which was on Broadway in 2009.
“Being able to sort of revisit Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” which is such a beautiful, beautiful story through the very special lens of Sarah’s voice with Les is just like a homecoming, and we’re very excited about that,” Kiger said.
Playwright Amy Herzog will also enjoy a sort of homecoming when her play “Bellevile” has its world premiere at the Rep in October. School of Drama professor Christopher Bayes and his long-time collaborator Steven Epp, whose adaptation of “A Doctor in Spite of Himself” opened at the Intiman Theater in Seattle last fall before coming to the Rep, both worked on last season’s “A Servant of Two Masters” as director and actor, respectively, which played at the University Theatre in March of last year.
Apart from the writers, all but one of the five directors for the 2011-’12 season are veterans of the Yale Rep. Liz Diamond’s production of “The Winter’s Tale” will mark her 16th show with the theater.
“It means a lot to be part of something like this theater that has had a long flow through time in my life,” said Diamond, who is a resident director with the Rep and chairs the School of Drama’s directing department. “To come back to an audience that continues to evolve, to work with people who I know well and who know my work and who I trust is just nice.”
That is not to say there will not be fresh faces at the theatre as well: Sam Gold will make his Yale Rep debut as the director of the world premiere production of Will Eno’s “The Realistic Joneses.”
Kiger said the Rep was excited that Gold, who has been in high demand since his acclaimed production of Annie Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” with Playwright Horizons in 2009, could be part of the season. She said that Will Eno had specifically asked to work with him on this show and believes that his gift for developing new works with writers and actors will be an asset to the production.
Managing Director of the Yale Rep Victoria Nolan cited subscriber loyalty as one factor that has allowed the theater to produce so many new works in recent seasons. She said brochures the theater provides as well as information about the shows on their website and in the program notes are all designed to provide theater-goers ample information about their shows, especially the original works.
The Rep plans to announce another new play that will go up at Yale in February of 2012. Eno and Herzog join a company of playwrights whose works have debuted at the Rep, including Pulitzer Prize winners August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks.