April 27 – May 5
Washington DC. 1946. The war is just over, and Harry Brock, a loud-mouthed junk-man millionaire, has descended on Washington to cash in. He plans to buy a Senator, and bribe Congress to look the other way, while he forms a cartel to wheel and deal in war-time scrap-metal. Part of his entourage is his ex-chorus-girl mistress, the beautiful, but uneducated, Billie Dawn. To make Billie more acceptable for Washington, Harry hits on the idea of hiring Paul Verrall, a handsome young reporter, to smarten her up. But, as Billie starts to read and learn, one of the things she discovers is that she doesn’t have to listen to Harry any more. Horrified at what he has unwittingly helped create, Harry looks around for ways “to make her dumb again”. But, it’s too late. The delicious genie is out of the bottle.
June 17 (staged reading)
London. 1895. Poet, novelist, playwright, wit and raconteur, Oscar Wilde, is the most famous man in London. The author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as the children’s stories, The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant, he also has two hit plays running in London at the same time – An Ideal Husband, and the world’s most perfect comedy – glitteringly witty The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar is fêted in society, comfortably married, and the father of two young sons. But, he is also desperately in love with the beautiful, but dangerously unstable, Lord Alfred Douglas (nicknamed “Bosie”), youngest son of the Marquess of Queensberry. Outraged at the gossip circulating in London, the “mad Marquess” begins a campaign of stalking and publicly vilifying Wilde. Finally goaded by Bosie, Wilde brings an action for criminal libel against Queensberry, which backfires, and places Wilde in the dock – an outcast from the society that has so recently adored him.
July 27 - August 4
Vienna. 1986. Kurt Waldheim is running for the chancellorship of Austria, despite his Nazi past.
Hoping to shatter the artistic block that has crippled his brilliant career, Stephen Hoffman, a young American piano prodigy, has come to study in Vienna. He is assigned to an elderly vocal teacher, Professor Josef Mashkan, who – to Stephen’s disgust – insists on teaching him, not the piano, but how to sing Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” song cycle about the birth and death of love.
November 16 – 24
North Carolina. 1916. Eugene Gant is a moonstruck, sensitive boy, with a burning passion to escape his home town, and become a writer. Part of a large, rambling family, he lives in the “Dixieland” boarding house, run by his domineering mother, Eliza, who is obsessed with buying real estate, and seemingly more interested in her boarders than in her family. His father, the sculptor and monumental mason, W. O. Gant, is a blustering, frequently-drunk, dreamer and would-be tyrant. Of all his family, Eugene idolises his older brother, Ben, who continually urges the boy to escape. But Ben is too frail to live in the real world he longs for. When Ben dies, and Eugene’s affection for the Gants’ boarder, Laura James, is betrayed, Eugene’s world seems shattered. As he goes off to college, he can only hope to pick up the pieces, and make something of himself.