SKELETON CREW by Dominique Morisseau is a strikingly beautiful and powerful portrait of the lives of blue-collar workers at the end of an era from one of the most produced playwrights in the country. SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS by Bess Wohl is a comedy which centers around a group of strangers gathered at silent retreat and invites audiences to forget everything they think they know about the need for dialogue in theatre and listen to all that’s left unspoken. EVERYBODY by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is an adventurous riff on the medieval morality play EVERYMAN. TEENAGE DICK by Mike Lew is a comedy-infused high school re-telling of Shakespeare’s RICHARD III. A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 by Lucas Hnath is a comedic powerhouse play which delighted Broadway audiences last year. WOLF PLAY by Hansol Jung, Artists Rep’s third Table|Room|Stage commission, grapples with the meaning of family. THE REVOLUTIONISTS by Lauren Gunderson is a play about four amazing (and historically accurate!) women who are out to save the world during the French Revolution.
In addition to the mainstage line-up, Artists Rep is partnering again with the Portland Institute of Contemporary Arts’ Time-Based Arts Festival (TBA), with an interactive piece called UNEXPLODED ORDNANCES by Split Britches. For the 2018/19 season, Artists Rep offers a full-fledged holiday classic with IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY by Joe Landry.
by Dominique Morisseau
directed by William (Bill) Earl Ray
September 2 - September 30
It's 2008, and one of the last auto plants in Detroit is dying on the vine. The factory workers that remain are living paycheck-to-paycheck but amidst the backbreaking work and brutally long shifts, they have somehow shaped themselves into a makeshift family. Faye, a factory lifer, is the glue that holds everything together. But with less than six months before she can retire with a full pension, Faye learns that management has a plan that could threaten her whole existence, leaving her torn between loyalty to her coworkers or her own survival. Heartbreakingly tense with moments of ethereal beauty, Skeleton Crew reveals the struggle to stay relevant in a society that constantly changes.
- Awards for Dominique Morisseau: 2016 OBIE Award (for Skeleton Crew)
- "A deeply moral and deeply American play, with a loving compassion for those trapped in a system that makes sins, spiritual or societal, and self-betrayal almost inevitable." -Ben Brantly, The New York Times
- "A deep vulnerable blend of frustration, conversation, and denial." -Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)
by Split Britches
co-presented with PICA's TBA Festival
September 8 - September 12
Adopting the personas of a bombastic general and an ineffectual president, this playfully urgent interactive piece encourages discussion about our political landscape. In the Situation Room, twelve audience members are invited to become a ‘Council of Elders’ and discuss the global issues of the day, as the company weaves in satirical insights and humor. Combining a Dr. Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring forum for public conversation, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires, and how to look forward when the future is uncertain.
- "Feels very much of the minute." -Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times
Small Mouth Sounds
by Bess Wohl
directed by Shawn Lee
October 7 - November 4
Tired of not living their 'best life,' six broken individuals gather at a wellness center in the middle of the woods for a weeklong silent retreat to breathe and reset. As the voice from an omniscient guru drones on in broken self-help speech, the attendees struggle to find their inner calm while awkwardly combating their mental and physical desires. Over the course of five days, the group inexpertly attempts to navigate through hurt feelings, crippling faux pas, and exposed vulnerabilities to reach enlightenment. Absurdly funny and profoundly poignant, Small Mouth Sounds encourages us all to put down the phone and just be in the moment.
- Awards for Bess Wohl: Drama Desk Award
- "...exploits the subversive power of stillness in our age of manic multitasking." -Karen D'Souza, Mercury News
- "...joyful and hilarious about the absolutely worst things we all face." -Jesse Green, Vulture
by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
directed by Jessica Wallenfels & Dámaso Rodríguez
November 25 - December 30
Death tells Everybody that their time is up. But Everybody doesn’t want to greet Death alone, so Everybody seeks the company of their friends Stuff, Kinship, Friendship, Cousinship, and Love to make the trip bearable. From the scintillating mind that brought you An Octoroon, Everybody is an audacious riff on the 15th century morality play Everyman. Nine brave actors will play a multitude of roles with their characters chosen by lottery onstage every night — with a possible 120 combinations — as they fight to cheat Death.
- 2018 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Drama
- Awards for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins: MacArthur "Genius" Grant, Pulitzer Prize finalist, PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award
- "Let's start with a spoiler, the ultimate spoiler: Everybody dies." -Ben Brantley, The New York Times
- "Everybody is 90 minutes of theatrical whimsy." -Robert Hofler, The Wrap
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
by Joe Landry
directed by Beth Harper
December 6 - December 30
The beloved holiday staple comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast with the story of George Bailey. George grew up in picturesque Bedford Falls, but dreams of leaving the small town behind to see the world. Obligations and unforeseen circumstances get in the way of his aspirations and he is tied to his hometown forever as he takes over the Building & Loan from his father and his uncle. When a terrible mistake leaves George on the verge of disaster, he considers ending his life on Christmas Eve until he meets a fateful friend named Clarence. Made complete by your favorite local talent and an onstage Foley artist, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a fun, heartwarming delight for the whole family.
- "It's easy for the audience to get caught up in the fun." -Anita Gates, The New York Times
by Mike Lew
directed by Josh Hecht
January 6 - February 3
High school is hard enough, but when you have a power hungry 17-year-old threatening to overthrow anyone in his way to becoming junior class President, it can be downright murderous. Richard is the king of insults and after alienating the only friend he has, he relies on himself to snatch the crown while securing the heart of the ex-girlfriend of the popular high school quarterback. As Richard struggles to keep all of his plots from going awry, he gains an ally in the most unlikeliest of suspects. Touchingly hilarious, Teenage Dick is the modern comedic re-telling of Shakespeare’s Richard III, and ponders if it is better to be loved or feared.
- Awards for Mike Lew: PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award
A Doll's House, Part 2
by Lucas Hnath
directed by Luan Schooler
January 27 - March 3
15 years after Norwegian house wife Nora Helmer walked out on Ibsen’s Torvald, she walks back in the front door in the sequel to the 1879 social drama. In the ensuing years of her departure, Nora has become an incendiary writer — which isn’t a profession that married women could perform without permission. Since her husband didn't sign the divorce papers, Nora has returned to the house she desperately sought to vacate to gain her freedom. With a quick wit and razor-sharp tongue, A Doll’s House, Part 2 imagines the continuation of the house of Helmer as a deliciously gleeful trek through the complicated waters of relationships.
- Awards for Lucas Hnath: 2016 Tony nominee for Best Play (for A Doll's House, Part 2), Steinberg Playwright Award, Windham-Campbell Literature Prize in Drama, Whiting Award
- "...smart, funny and utterly engrossing new play." -Ben Brantley, The New York Times
by Hansol Jung
directed by Dámaso Rodríguez
March 10 - April 7
In a world where people struggle to have children, one American couple decides to 'un-adopt' their young Korean son because they have a newborn at home. After an internet chat room search for the right family, the father 're-homes' the boy with a lesbian couple, where one half is desperate for a child and the other half is fighting for her career. As the boy — who thinks he’s a wolf, but is really a puppet – adjusts to his new life, he forms bonds with the unlikeliest of culprits while the rest of the adults squabble about what is ‘best for the child.' Wolf Play is a messy, funny, and moving theatrical experience that grapples with where family allegiance lies.
- Awards for Hansol Jung: Whiting Award
- World Premiere
- A Table|Room|Stage Commission
by Lauren Gunderson
directed by Lava Alapai
April 28 - May 26
Who runs the world? GIRLS! In 1793, during France’s Reign of Terror — a playwright, an assassin, a former queen, and a Caribbean spy walk into a room and attempt to save the soul of France while avoiding the edge of the guillotine’s blade. Olympe De Gouges is desperate to pen the perfect piece of revolutionary art for her generation, while Charlotte Corday is determined to become an assassin. Prophetic Marie Antoinette is happy to reminisce about her time in the palace while Marianne Angelle gathers intelligence to send home to the Caribbean. In a blisteringly funny portrayal, The Revolutionists depicts four badass women who fight for the equality of all women and for the love of their country.
- Awards for Lauren Gunderson: Steinberg Playwright Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist, most-produced American playwright of 2016
- "...rapid-fire barbs and quick-witted retorts." -Patricia Mitchell, DC Metro Theater Arts
- "The Revolutionists is as beautiful in its pleasures as it is tailor-made for this fraught moment in our own story." -Lisa Kennedy, The Know