A 16-year-old, who had something horrible happen to him as a youngster, makes a movie with sex, violence and the undead and somehow this is funny and a love story. Ludwig van Beethoven and Quasimodo, both deaf, form a panel on sound design. After her mother dies, Charlotte buries herself in fantasy and the story of Helen of Troy while seeking career advice about how to become a porn star.
Are we down the rabbit hole yet? No, it's all part of the announcement of the coming season of Catastrophic Theatre. Work of playwrights Tamarie Cooper and Mickle Maher is on board and Catastrophic will introduce two plays by Mark Schultz in its 2015 season.
And here's the line-up:
The Blackest Shore by Mark Schultz * World Premiere February 13 - March 7, 2015
Stuart, 16, is making a movie: graphic violence, extreme sex, the walking dead. Of course it's also a love story. And it's all true. In fact it's more horribly true than anyone, even Stuart, can rightly comprehend.
When Stuart begins to display increasingly troubling behavior, our sympathies are torn between a son and a father -- both crippled by self-loathing -- and each of the lives they touch, as they try to negotiate the impossible circumstances of a mysterious, horrific episode from Stuart's youth.
The Hunchback Variation by Mickle Maher April 10 - May 2, 2015
"Suddenly a distant sound is heard, coming as if out of the sky, like the sound of a string snapping, slowly and sadly dying away." - Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Mickle Maher is back! Maher has become a Houston favorite a result of Catastrophic productions of his plays The Strangerer, Spirits to Enforce, There Is A Happiness That Morning Is, and the world premiere of The Pine.
In The Hunchback Variations, noted composer Ludwig Van Beethoven and noted hunchback Quasimodo team up to chair a panel on sound design. More specifically they are explaining their fruitless efforts to create the impossible cue: that baffling sound effect described at the end of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. The panel follows the pair's frustrated efforts, complicated by the fact that they are both quite deaf.
Thematically, the play explores the creative impulse and the question of artistic endeavor. Is it a noble thing to continue to try in the face of inevitable failure or is it better to simply remain silent?
The University of Tamarie by Tamarie Cooper, Patrick Reynolds, and friends * World Premiere * July 17 - August 29, 2015
As a mother of a child entering kindergarten, Tamarie's got education on her mind.
This summer, school's in session at the University of Tamarie! Tamarie takes on the Texas State Board of Education, drama departments, high school memories, schoolyard bullies, hot teachers, Greek life, John Hughes movies, standardized testing, her own academic shortcomings (she's a three-time college drop out!), and much, much more.
The Danube by María Irene Fornés September 25 - October 17, 2015
American businessman Paul visits Budapest and quickly falls in love with native Eve. As the play makes its way through a militaristic fever-dream, the characters slowly undergo an inexplicable, debilitating, and grotesque transformation. In the face of it all, their love endures.
María Irene Fornés is a titan of the modern American stage and was a playwriting mentor to Artistic Director Jason Nodler at NYU. In the school of past experimental, tragicomic productions such as Spirits to Enforce, Anna Bella Eema, Crave, or Our Late Night, this will be a theatre experience unlike any other.
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Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy by Mark Schultz November 20 - December 12, 2015
Teenage Charlotte's beautiful mother is dead. Turning for comfort to the story of Helen of Troy, Charlotte is convinced that beauty, desire and fame can help her bring her mother back and punish the world that took her away in the first place. Getting beauty tips from her popular friend, seeking career advice on how to be a porn star from a guidance counselor who may or may not be having an affair with her, and searching for love from the football jock who barely even knows she exists, Charlotte finds herself searching in fantasy for what she cannot find in reality and destroying the life of the only friend she may have had in the process. But in the depths of pain, she comes to discover an unexpected grace.
Inspired by Euripides but with its sights set firmly on contemporary America, Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy is an unsettling examination of complacency culture and the politics of beauty.
Tickets to all Catastrophic Theatre performances are Pay-What-You-Can. Free refreshments are provided after each performance and everyone is invited to stay for drinks and conversation with the cast.