One play is about a musician and his girlfriend, their relationship damaged by drugs and sickness. Another is about " the search for meaning in the face of utter meaninglessness." Another is about a woman buried alive who is trying to remain upbeat.
And then there's the Christmas show -- performed in July and August.
If we were on Jeopardy, everyone would know the question to all these answers would have to be: What's Houston's Catastrophic Theatre doing for its 2014 season?
In a six-play season, it'll once again cover human relationships, sometimes at their most off-beat, often with sad tones, but generally with some wry humor throughout. The work of Samuel Beckett makes a reappearance, as does Tamarie Cooper's latest extravaganza.
Company playwright Miki Johnson has two world premieres, while playwrights Lisa D'Amour and Will Eno will have their Houston debuts.
So, without further ado, here's the Catastrophic lineup:
clean/through by Miki Johnson * World Premiere * February 7 - March 1, 2014
A new play from the author of 2012's hit premieres of American Falls and Fleaven, clean/through is about a relationship ravaged by drugs and sickness. The play begins as semi-famous musician Nick and his long-term girlfriend Rachel return home from a disastrous, potentially career-ending performance. It's a play about fame and wealth and poverty. It's about coming this close to something precious only to destroy it. At its center lies a question without an answer: is love enough to fix that which is profoundly broken?
Happy Days by Samuel Beckett March 28 - April 19, 2014
Happy Days presents a woman first buried to her waist and then to her head in earth as she struggles to maintain optimism in the face of her quite obviously diminishing circumstances. Catastrophic artistic director Jason Nodler first directed actress Tamarie Cooper in this play thirteen years ago they and revisit those roles in this very different production. According to Nodler, "Samuel Beckett is the reason I work in theatre. Were I not to return to his plays on a semi-regular basis I might forget why I was doing it at all."
Middletown by Will Eno May 23 - June 14, 2014
The story of everyday life in an everyday town, Middletown waxes philosophically throughout - digging beneath the surface to explore humanity in all its impotence and glory. Bob Dylan said, "He not busy being born is busy dying." Eno's play presents a collection of people finding busyness in neither. Middletown is a daring and frank comedy about the search for meaning in the face of utter meaninglessness.
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A Very Tamarie Christmas by Tamarie Cooper, Patrick Reynolds, and friends * World Premiere * July 18 - August 30, 2014
What would summer in Houston be without Christmas? Err, without a new Tamarie Cooper musical comedy extravaganza? This year Tamarie trains her zany wit on Christmas and our holiday-obsessed culture. Guaranteed to be the first Christmas special you'll see all year! We might even beat the holiday shopping rush.
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Detroit by Lisa D'Amour September 26 - October 18, 2014
Detroit concerns itself with two seemingly ordinary couples whose backyard barbeques ignite into a delirious bacchanal masked by suburban shrubbery. But what lies beneath gives the play its power. A seemingly straight-ahead play, Detroit is at turns hilarious and terrifying. Premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and later produced at The National Theatre in London, Playwright's Horizons in New York, and throughout the country, Detroit was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Lisa D'Amour is the author of Anna Bella Eema, one of Catastrophic's most memorable productions to date.
The Economist by Miki Johnson * World Premiere * November 21 - December 13, 2014
The Economist is not about an economist. It is a story about what happens to a family when a child is chronically, mentally ill. A son, a daughter, a mother, a father. A high school principal, a girlfriend, a sheriff. Hospitals, psych wards, small-city America in the 1990s. The latest from Catastrophic playwright Miki Johnson is a violent, soft, funny, sad play about love. Inspired by the playwright's life, the play is built around the seminal '90s record In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel - the soundtrack of a teenager's life in turn of the century America.