Palm Beach Dramaworks is set to open for its 2013-14 season, once again bringing downtown West Palm Beach a dose of refined culture. Its commitment to “theater to think about” has made it one of the most sought-after tickets on Palm Beach County’s theater circuit, especially for the nonmusical theatergoer. Now in its fourteenth season—and its third at the Donald and Ann Brown Theatre on Clematis Street—West Palm Beach’s only resident theater company is starting a new chapter with five new productions, beginning with Of Mice and Men on October 11.
The theater adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize-winning novella is a poignant tale of friendship, hardship and the human spirit. Of Mice and Men, playing from October 11 through November 10, follows displaced migrant workers George and Lennie as they bounce from place to place in search of work during the Great Depression in California. Though a period piece, the play touches on themes of dreams and aspiration, fate, loneliness, oppression, cruelty and abuse, with gut-wrenching realism that makes it just as affecting as if written today.
James Goldman’s play of political and personal intrigue, The Lion in Winter, takes the stage December 6 through January 5. A drama going back nearly 1,000 years, The Lion in Winter takes place on Christmas 1183 at the Château de Chinon in Anjou of the Angevin Empire. King Henry II of England is at odds with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (whom he had imprisoned since 1173 after an open revolt against the throne), and their three sons, Richard, Geoffrey and John, as they plot and counterplot succession to the throne. Steeped in historical intrigue, the fictional play goes behind the scenes as a tangled web of alliances strives for empire King Henry II carved out.
Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter’s drama Old Times will grace the Don and Ann Brown stage from January 31 through March 2. This think piece calls on themes of memory, relies heavily on speech and examines the idea of truth and falsehood—nd the intermingling thereof. Husband and wife Deeley and Kate welcome Kate’s longtime friend Anna as she visits the couple. Through conversation, Anna reveals episodes of Kate’s past, of which she says very little. The play unfolds, offering an ending open to interpretation, leading theatergoers to question the very premise of what they witnessed. A prime example of the theater company’s mission of engaging audiences with provocative plays, Old Times inherently sparks conversation.
Horton Foote’s comedy Dividing the Estate from March 28 to April 27 shines a light on when greed and in-fighting take hold of a fictitious Texas family. When the housing market begins to plummet and tax bills mount, three generations of Gordons, who once coasted on the family’s significant means in a perpetual state of leisure, realize their way of life may quickly be out of style. Matriarch Stella, an octogenarian with a penchant for reminiscing, is determined to keep the 100-year-old estate in tact, while her three children—alcoholic son Lewis, complacent Lucille and scheming Mary Jo—attempt to break it up to secure their own financial needs. All the while, simmering beneath the surface of this comedy is a not-too-kind critique of American self-absorption, where the out-of-touch leisure class seems to slip further into insulation as the rift between the haves and have-nots dives deeper.
The final production in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ 2013-14 season is Karoline Leach’s melodrama Tryst, running from May 16 to June 8. Far from the picturesque landscapes of Yorkshire, this Edwardian-based thriller is steeped in subterfuge, sex and comeuppance—a Downton Abbey meets Hitchcock sort of affair. Set in 1910 London, conman George Love has set up an enterprising scheme of wooing and marrying women. Once he takes control of their assets, he’s off to the races, disappearing without a trace. His latest target, Adelaide Pinchin, is a mousy millinery assistant. She may seem like the perfect mark on the outside but in turn has a peculiar hold on George that derails his carefully lain plan every step of the way.
- Regular tickets cost $60 ($52 for preview showings; $75 for opening night).
- Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7. Matinee performances are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
- Wednesday matinees and Sunday evening shows include a post-performance talkback with cast and production team.
- For more information, call the box office at 561-514-4042 ext. 2 or visit palmbeachdramaworks.org.