The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s professional-theater-in-residence, PlayMakers Repertory Company, will present the world premiere of Surviving Twin, written and performed by 66-year-old Grammy Award® winner Loudon Wainwright III, on Sept. 4-8 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art. (Three-time Grammy nominee Loudon Wainwright III won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for his album “High, Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project,” a tribute to legendary old-time banjo player and singer Charlie Poole (1892-1931) of Spray, NC.
According to PlayMakers Rep’s news release for this PRC2 second-stage production and 2013-14 season-opener, with post-show discussions:
“Surviving Twin has been conceived by Wainwright as a posthumous collaboration, combining and connecting his music with the writing of his late father, esteemed Life Magazine editor and columnist Loudon Wainwright Jr. [1924-88]. Wainwright Jr.’s slice-of-life observations were published from 1964 to 1985, when that periodical was a staple on every coffee table in America.
“The focus of this new concert-style theatrical piece is on fatherhood — being a father and having one. In Surviving Twin, Wainwright the musician explores the issues of birth, self-identity, loss, mortality, fashion, and pet ownership, inventively intertwining performance of his music with the stories written by his father.”
“This piece of Loudon’s is superb in its exploration of father/son relationships and the greatunbridgeable distances between fathers and their sons,” says producing artistic director PlayMakers Rep Joseph Haj. “The show takes Loudon’s father’s columns … and combines those texts with songs that Loudon has written. It is a solo play — written and performed by Loudon Wainwright III.
He adds, “The text of the play comes verbatim from the Life columns of Loudon Wainright, Jr., and so were not written to be performed or spoken out loud, so figuring out the right way to get those texts to live in the theater space is a challenge,” declares Joe Haj.
In addition to writer/performer Loudon Wainwright III and director Joseph Haj, the creative team for the PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Surviving Twin includes production manager Michael Rolleri, scenic and video designer Caite Hevner Kemp, costume designer Adam Dill, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, sound designer Robert Dagit, vocal coach John Patrick, movement coach Craig Turner, dramaturg Mark Perry, and stage manager Charles K. Bayang.
Joe Haj says,”The set includes a chair of Loudon’s father and a rug, a chest, and various walls and panels rising from the back of the stage up above the audience. These panels will also serve as surfaces for photo and video projection.”
He adds, “The lighting is tricky since we are also projecting photos and video in the space. We are using a de-saturated color palette and focusing on angle and direction more than color to drive the story and transitions.”
The show’s costumes are “mostly from Loudon’s own wardrobe,” says Haj. “The costumes should look like his clothes — and they are.”
The PlayMakers Repertory Company presents SURVIVING TWIN at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4-7 and 2 p.m. Sept. 8 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
TICKETS: $15 on up.
BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY (7529) or http://playmakersrep.org/tickets/single.
NEWS RELEASE: http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/6179/107/.
PRC BLOG: http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.
Loudon Wainwright III (writer and performer): http://www.lw3.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudon_Wainwright_III (Wikipedia).
Joseph Haj (director): http://www.playmakersrep.org/performances/embed_artist.aspx?id=15b43fe8-a162-4c03-9218-ac7ebe7fd3a4 (PlayMakers Rep bio).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Review, a FREE weekly e-mail entertainment newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill performing-arts events than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Review.
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