On Jan. 11-15, PlayMakers Repertory Company will present a PRC2 workshop production of De Profundis, an original play co-conceived by director Brian Mertes and designer Jim Findlay and starring Nicole Villamil, in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina’s Center for Dramatic Art. De Profundis, which is Latin for “from the depths” is based on Irish playwright, novelist, and poet Oscar Wilde’s 1897 letter to his once and future lover “Bosie” (Lord Alfred Douglas), written in his last months at Reading Gaol, where Wilde was imprisoned after his 1895 conviction for “gross indecency” for his same-sex liaisons with Douglas and others.
In the show’s news release, PlayMakers Rep writes:
“De Profundis is the second presentation in PlayMakers‘ PRC2 second-stage series this season, a platform dedicated to new work from new angles and dialogue about important issues of our time. Unique to the PRC2 stage, each performance will be followed by a ‘second-act’ conversation between the audience and members of the creative team, to illuminate and explore the play’s themes…. PRC2 features innovative, topical work that encourages both artist and audience to take risks in unknown territory. Sharing in the process of new work under construction or artists grappling with hot button issues, the audience engages in discussions with the creative artists and expert panelists following each performance. Each production is followed by a ‘second act’ of conversation with our audience. Next up on the PRC2 stage is Daniel Beaty’s/a> provocative Mr. Joy (April 26-30).
Also according to UNC’s professional-theater-in-residence:
“‘We are very excited to bring the inspired, profound, and madcap theatrical genius of Brian and Jim to PlayMakers,’ said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers‘ producing artistic director. ‘It will be thrilling to watch them stitch together a brilliant new and relevant story out of themes of gender identity, social justice, and isolation, voiced by Wilde more than a century ago. And our audiences will be an integral part of the play’s development, as their feedback — alongside our post show discussions with scholars and community leaders — will inform the future direction of the piece. I can guarantee this will be a wild ride with Oscar Wilde and a unique theater experience for our audience.’
“‘I was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s work, because it speaks so viscerally about being marginalized and treated as other,’ explained Brian Mertes, who is currently associate director at Trinity Repertory Company and head of the MFA Directing Program at Brown University[, both located in Providence, RI]. ‘I want the audience coming to see this play to be part of the conversations and controversies we are still — unfortunately — having about society’s definitions of our ‘acceptable’ selves. My thanks to the company at PlayMakers for giving me the space to explore such deeply human and deeply complicated subjects.’
“This piece includes sustained moments of partial nudity, and subject matter best suited to audiences 17 years and older.” [emphasis added]
Also according to Playmakers Rep:
“Brian Mertes’ body of work spans theater, television, and film. He has directed the world premiere of many new plays, most recently David Greenspan’s The Myopia for the Foundry Theater at the Atlantic and Jose Rivera’s Massacre at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in NYC. He has developed new work at numerous theaters, including Ensemble Studio Theater, Naked Angels, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and PlayPenn. Mertes has taught directing for the Columbia and NYU film programs, and has been a guest director at [the University of] North Carolina School of the Arts. He has also directed television for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, garnering three Emmy and three DGA nominations, and an Emmy for directing.
“Jim Findlay works across boundaries as a director, designer, visual artist, and performer. He was a founding member of the Collapsable Giraffe and Accinosco/Cynthia Hopkins, and is a frequent collaborator with Bang on a Can, Ralph Lemon, and Ridge Theater. Recent productions include The Whisper Opera (director and designer), Botanica (writer and director), Annie Dorsen’s A Piece of Work (set and video design), and David T. Little/Royce Vavrek’s Dog Days (set and video design). His work has been seen at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, Arena Stage, A.R.T. and over 50 cities worldwide, including Berlin, Istanbul, London, Moscow, and Paris. He has received two OBIE awards, two Bessie awards, a Lucille Lortel award, and a Henry Hewes award.
“Nicole Villamil makes her PlayMakers debut as the sole performer in this first iteration of De Profundis. Nicole has recently appeared in The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Hunchback of Seville (Trinity Repertory Company), and Concrete Orange (The Guthrie Theater).”
PlayMakers Repertory Company presents DE PROFUNDIS, a workshop production co-conceived by director Brian Mertes and designer Jim Findlay and starring Nicole Villamil, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-14 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
TICKETS: $15-$48 ($10 students with ID).
BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://tickets.playmakersrep.org/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=10381.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529), email@example.com, or http://www.playmakersrep.org/box-office/groups-and-special-events/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u3FhTa2Hmw.
PRC NEWS RELEASE: http://playmakersrep.org/press/playmakers-repertory-company-presents-a-workshop-production-of-de-profundis/.
PRESENTER: http://www.playmakersrep.org/, https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep, https://twitter.com/playmakersrep, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayMakers_Repertory_Company, and http://www.youtube.com/user/PlayMakersRep.
PRC BLOG (Page to Stage): http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.
NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices will be available at all performances.
NOTE 2: There will be a post-show discussion after each performance, with members of the show’s cast and creative team and subject-matter experts.
De Profundis (1897 Oscar Wilde letter from Reading Gaol): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Profundis_(letter) (Wikipedia).
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (Irish playwright, novelist, and poet, 1854-1900): http://www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde/ (official website), http://www.oscarwildesociety.co.uk/ (Oscar Wilde Society), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde (Wikipedia).
Brian Mertes (adapter and director): http://brianmertes.com/ (official website), https://www.playmakersrep.org/artists/brian-mertes/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), and https://www.facebook.com/brian.mertes.96 (Facebook page).
Jim Findlay (designer): http://jimfindlaynyc.com/ (official website) and https://www.playmakersrep.org/artists/jim-findlay/ (PlayMakers Rep bio).
Nicole Villamil (performer): http://www.browntrinity.com/alumni/actor-nicolevillamil/ (Brown University resume), https://www.playmakersrep.org/artists/nicole-villamil/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), and https://www.facebook.com/nicole.davis.73744801 (Facebook page).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)