Many of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson’s plays found life at a New York City coffeehouse, Caffe Cino, in the 1960’s. The venue established itself as one of the first Off-Off-Broadway theatres. These early plays were often one-act ensemble pieces or, later, sharply drawn character studies less concerned with plot as with revelatory behavior. Wilson liked the format and Cesear’s Forum, Cleveland’s small professional “minimalist” theatre company, is pleased to present five such works entitled Lanford Wilson: TAKE 5. The 90 minute evening utilizes eight actors, sometimes together, sometimes individually, to reflect on aspects of American life. The writing is at once heartfelt and funny. The characters’ struggles are our struggles, their stories told simply but complicated by societal concerns replete with emotional baggage. Ideals and illusions are sustained tenuously. The five plays (in order of appearance) are: WANDERING, SEXTET (YES), A BETHROTHAL, BRONTOSAURUS and A POSTER OF THE COSMOS. The limited engagement production runs late September through October at Kennedy's Down Under, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio.
Lanford Wilson was born in Missouri, April 1937 and lived principally in New York City and later Sag Harbor, Long Island. He died in March 2011. Considered one of the most distinguished American playwrights of the late 20th century, Mr. Wilson’s early career gave way to wider stages, Off-Broadway, Broadway and as a staple of regional theaters throughout the United States. Mr. Wilson was a founder of the Circle Repertory Company, a highly regarded collective of actors, directors, playwrights and others known for its collaborative approach. He received the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for his one-act, two character play TALLEY’S FOLLY, set in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri. An eventual trilogy, the cycle comprised TALLEY & SON and FIFTH OF JULY. Other works include: BALM IN GILEAD, THE HOT l BALTIMORE, THE GINGHAM DOG, LEMON SKY, ANGELS FALL and REDWOOD CURTAIN.
Cesear’s Forum continues to present works of social commitment and theatre experimentation. The production will be staged by Artistic Director Greg Cesear, with a setting by Michael Larochelle, lighting by Andrew Kaletta and costumes by Aimee Kluiber. The production is sponsored, in part, by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
Lanford Wilson: TAKE 5, September 23rd through October 29th, Friday and Saturday
Two Sunday Matinee’s at 3 pm on October 9th and 16th, Kennedy's Down Under,
Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Call 216-241-6000 or visit
www.playhousesquare.org Ticket price is: $18
Cesear's Forum is dedicated to presenting unconventional, new or lesser known plays that explore theory and technique to reveal aspects of the social, political, economic and ideological properties of daily life. The company produces intermittently, on a project by project basis (unusual in Cleveland), currently, one play per year, rather than a traditional seasonal approach. Performing at Kennedy's Down Under (below the Ohio Theatre) at Playhouse Square, this small non-profit professional theatre has established a distinctive body of work within a minimalist imprimatur.
Often termed “niche” theatre, coined to describe a specialized market or its intimate environment, Cesear’s Forum’s size within the context of professional Cleveland theatre may play a role in public perception. Yet, the company continues to evolve a distinctive body of work that is creative, diverse and has integrity. The benefits include critical thinking, empathy, historical relevance and an immediacy that live theatre can impact. Creative risk keeps the company relevant for participants and artistic accomplishment is a reward that fosters longevity.