The Dorset Theater Festival will open its 44th season with a revival of Christophe DurangThe outdoor Laughing Wild comedy at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, VT.
Directed by the resident artist of the Festival, The Jade King Carroll, the room will play Dan Butler (Frasier), who starred in the Festival’s 2019 hit Slow Food, and five-time Festival performer and winner of the 2020 Drama Desk Award Marie bacon (Coal Country, Mrs Christie of Dorset).
The 2021 Festival return season will kick off with the hilarious 1980s comedy Laughing Wild by Christophe Durang, who the New Yorker called “one of the funniest men in the world.”
The three-part play features a man and woman struggling to cope with life in modern America. Over the course of two monologues and a chance encounter inside a dream, the characters face everything from the supermarket to nuclear waste to their own frenzied psyche.
“The title of the piece refers to a line of Samuel beckett‘s Happy Days,’ laughing wildly in the midst of the gravest woes’, “said Dina janis, artistic director of Dorset. “It seems to me that we’ve all just gone through a time of unhappiness, and maybe it’s time to laugh wildly together,” Janis said.
The director of Laughing Wild, The Jade King Carroll (Dorset’s Skeleton Crew), is joined by the set designer You-shin chen, Costume Designer Rodrigo Muñoz, Lighting Designer Yuki Nakase Link, Sound Designer Megumi Katayama, combat director David Anzuelo, Casting director Judy Bowman, CSA and director Olivia Louise Tree Plath.
Christophe Durang is a playwright, satirist and performer whose Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. Durang’s plays also include A History of the American Film (Tony Nomination, Best Book of a Musical, 1978), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982 with Diane Wiest and John lithgow), Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theater, 1985; Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), Durang / Durang (one evening of six pieces at the Manhattan Theater Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams‘parody, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls), Sex and Longing (Lincoln Center Theater production at Cort Theater, 1996, with Sigourney weaver) and Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, 1999; Obie Prize).
“This piece seems so relevant to me right now, because it explores with really brilliant humor what it means to be human, what it means to find connection and what it means to just breathe together. It’s a really perfect piece to bring people together. back together, ”said Janis.
Laughing Wild will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July 9 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, which is also home to art galleries, the Manchester Music Festival and the new CurATE Cafe.
“With all the beautiful galleries and wonderful programming that our friends at the Southern Vermont Arts Center have planned, we really encourage people to come in for the day and stay for the play,” said Janis. The Festival started collaborating with SVAC at the end of 2020 in order to make outdoor theater a reality.
Dorset will offer on-demand streaming versions of both this year’s plays, which will also be available as an option for guests who cannot reschedule if they miss a performance due to weather conditions. The next play of the season, Queen of the Night by travis tate, will open on August 10. Outdoor season tickets are on sale now at dorsettheatrefestival.org.
The outdoor main stage season is sponsored by Church Street Hospitality, and support for the 44th Dorset Theater Festival season is provided by the Rodgers Family Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council and members of the Dorset Theater Festival World Premiere Circle.