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Company One, Huntington Theatre Company, and SpeakEasy Stage Company Collaborate to Present Annie Baker’s “Shirley, Vermont” in Fall 2010

Three Boston theatre companies will engage in a landmark local collaboration this fall to produce breakout writer Annie Baker’s first three plays – Circle Mirror Transformation, produced by the Huntington Theatre Company (October 15 – November 14), Body Awareness, produced by SpeakEasy Stage Company (October 22 – November 20), and The Aliens, produced by Company One (October 29 – November 20). All set in the fictional town of Shirley, VT, the plays will run together in the first-ever festival dedicated to the work of this wryly observant young writer, which will be curated by the Huntington Theatre Company.

“I fell in love with the characters in these plays and with the idea of creating a fictional New England town at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “Each of Annie’s plays stands on their own with their imagination and subtle humor, and seen together they form a striking portrait of Shirley, Vermont. The same is true for this festival; each company has their own identity and audience, but together they bring out the richness of the work being presented at the Calderwood. Annie’s writing makes you happy to be in the theatre, makes you want to celebrate our art form – I am thrilled we are embarking on this journey.”

This festival presents a special opportunity to examine the rich and varied lives of a small town filled with humor, good intentions, unintended consequences, and accidental beauty. Audiences will experience three miniature portraits of Shirley, VT, a town not found on any map. The plays will have staggered openings beginning October 15 but run concurrently, providing audience members the opportunity see all three between October 30 and November 14. Special same-day “marathon” scheduling is being designed so that one will be able to attend the entire festival in one day. Subscribers to each of the three participating companies will receive discount offers on the other two festival productions; single tickets will go on sale in August and be available on The Huntington will also present a reading of Annie Baker’s Nocturama, her fourth play set in Shirley, VT, in conjunction with the festival.

“We are thrilled to team up with up the Huntington and Company One to introduce Boston theatregoers to the delightful denizens of Shirley, Vermont,” says SpeakEasy Stage Company Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault. “Both the partnership and the plays celebrate the importance and spirit of community.”

“Annie Baker’s voice is one of the freshest and most exciting on the American stage today,” says Company One Artistic Director Shawn LaCount. “Company One shares her commitment to establishing community and exploring the fragility of the simple moments that is everyday life.”

October 15 – November 14, 2010
at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (Wimberly Theatre)
Produced by the Huntington Theatre Company

When the four students in Marty’s creative drama class experiment with harmless theatre games, hearts are quietly torn apart and tiny wars of epic proportions are waged and won. Set in the Shirley, Vermont community center, this beautifully crafted new comedy mixes antic sadness and hilarious detail, and became a runaway hit Off Broadway. It was twice extended and played to sold-out houses at Playwrights Horizons in September – November 2009 and then remounted and extended once again in December 2009 – January 2010.

October 22 – November 20, 2010
at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (Roberts Studio Theatre)
Produced by SpeakEasy Stage Company

“Body Awareness Week” on a Vermont college campus is the setting for this smart and touching comedy about ordinary people grasping for connection. Phyllis, the organizer, her partner Joyce and Joyce’s grown son Jared are hosting one of the guest artists in their home, Frank, a photographer famous for his female nude portraits. While Phyllis is outraged by Frank’s photos, Joyce is intrigued enough to consider posing for Frank, sparking a firestorm that could break apart their unconventional family. Body Awareness was first produced Off-Broadway by the Atlantic Theater Company in May 2008.

October 29 – November 20, 2010
at the Boston Center for the Arts (Plaza Theatre)
Produced by Company One

In the town of Shirley, two 30-something dropouts hang out by the dumpster behind the coffee shop where they meditate on music, philosophy, shrooms, and Bukowski. When a teenage employee asks them to relocate, these disillusioned young men find the disciple they’ve been waiting for. A beat-tinged, psychotropic journey, Annie Baker’s The Aliens is a funny and heartening look at friendship, ritual, and small town New England. Company One is proud to join the Huntington Theatre Company and SpeakEasy Stage Company in exploring the tiny spaces of our small towns.

Additional information about each of these productions and each company’s 2010-2011 Season will be announced shortly.

Annie Baker’s other full-length plays include The End of the Middle Ages and Nocturama. Her work has been developed and produced at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, MCC, Atlantic Theater Company, Soho Rep, the Orchard Project, the Ontological-Hysteric, Ars Nova, the Wilma Theatre, the Lark, the Magic Theatre, the Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah and Ucross, Wyoming. She is a member of MCC’s Playwrights Coalition, Ars Nova’s Play Group, and EST, and is an alumna of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Recent honors include a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship, and commissions from Center Theatre Group and Playwrights Horizons. She received her M.F.A. from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program at Brooklyn College.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company (website | profile | tag archive). Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Join our email list, follow us on Twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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