There's lots of exciting news for Amphibian Stage Productions, which recently moved into its new home in a renovated theater space in Fort Worth's Near South Side. Here's a story about that.
Having its own home will let the company expand more, which its has steadily done for 13 seasons. What began as one and then two productions each summer at Texas Christian University became three productions a year at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, plus a series of staged readings at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Amphibian also sponsors the screenings of the National Theatre of London productions at the Modern.
While the NT Live shows will stay at the Modern, which has the movie screen, the readings will move to the new Berlene T. and Jarrell R. Milburn Theatre at 120 S. Main Street.
The 2013 season, the company's 14th, will have three of those (with two performances each), and, for the first time in the company's history, there will be four full productions.
The main stage shows include Steven Dietz's Fiction (which was originally on the 2012 season but replaced with the current revival of The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World to inaugurate the new space); the area premiere of Lucas Hnath's Death Tax; and the comedy The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company guys, whose works are popular in North Texas this year.
And in a big surprise, the first local production of Mike Daisey's monologue The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs. This show was the subject of controversy after it aired on This American Life this year and Daisey was accused of not being completely truthful. It's the only Daisey monologue that has been opened up for regional productions. Steven Young, a playwright, actor and faculty member at Texas Woman's University, will perform it.
"I am so excited about our line-up of 2013 plays, and I think each and every one will excite and challenge North Texas audiences and keep them talking long after they leave the theatre," said Amphibian Artistic Director Kathleen Culebro. "Now that we're in our own home, we're looking forward to more productions, longer runs, and the flexibility to make the experience a unique one from the moment the audience walks through our doors. Along with this freedom, however, comes a responsibility to maintain the quality and the artistic integrity that our supporters expect of us, and I have no doubt that this season fulfills that goal."
Here's more on the season:
On the Ceiling
Written by Nigel Planer
January 27 & 28, 2013
Lapo and Loti, two fresco plasterers, face another grueling day at work, performing menial labor and covering for their absent boss. In their case, however, the boss is Michelangelo, and the office is the Sistine Chapel. Certain that this work by the first-time painter is doomed to be a disaster, the two men endeavor to save the fresco, and as their world crumbles around them, they must confront the ties that bind them to the work in progress. This comedy by Nigel Planer blurs the line between master and assistant and asks what distinguishes a tradesman from an artist.
Written by Steven Dietz
Directed by Mary Kate Burke
February 21 – March 17, 2013
Main Stage Production
Best-selling authors Michael and Linda Waterman treasure their honest marriage, until a harsh twist of fate compels them to read each other's diaries. Between the lines, stretching deep into the past, a secret liaison with a mysterious stranger surfaces, forever altering married life's delicate balance of fact and fiction.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
Written by Mike Daisey
Starring Steven Young
April 25 – May 12, 2013
Main Stage Production
Mike Daisey, hailed as "the master storyteller" by The New York Times, turns his razor-sharp wit to America's most mysterious technology icon in this hilarious tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design. By examining the human price we pay for our high-tech toys, Daisey has sparked a revolution in the world of technology and production, demanding social responsibility in the corporate sector and inspiring his audiences to action.
Following the media storm generated by Mike Daisey's appearance on This American Life and its subsequent retraction, Daisey released the Version 2.0, which The New York Times calls "more powerful, funny, and engaging than the earlier production." This all-new version cuts the contested material and addresses the controversy head on, using the struggle over fact and fiction to confront the truths we choose to believe, and those we choose to ignore, about our devices.
The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)
Written by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor
Directed by Jay Duffer
July 11 – August 11, 2013
Main Stage Production
Prepare ye the way for an irreverent roller coaster ride through the Good Book, from fig leaves to final judgment, as three cultural guerrillas tackle the great theological questions. No one is safe, especially the first row, and everything you thought you knew about the most widely read book in history will be turned upside down. Bolts of lightning are headed this way.
Thom Pain (based on nothing)
Written by Will Eno
Directed by Corey Atkins
September 22 & 23, 2013
Dubbed "standup existentialism" by The New York Times, Thom Pain (based on nothing) is a oneman show, or an every-man show, something we can all relate to. He is trying to save his life and to save your life—in that order. In his quest for salvation, he'll stop at nothing, be distracted by nothing, except maybe a piece of lint, or the woman in the second row.
Written by Lucas Hnath
Directed by René Moreno
October 17 – November 10, 2013
Main Stage Production
It's 2010. December. Infirm Maxine thinks her daughter is paying nurse Tina to gently nudge her into the grave before the new year. Maxine thinks her daughter is doing this so she doesn't have to pay hefty estate taxes, taxes that take effect on January 1. Nurse Tina claims she is doing no such thing, but when Maxine offers Tina a portion of her sizable estate on the condition that she lives until the 1st, Tina changes her tune. But of course, nothing goes according to plan. Death Tax is a darkly comic play about death and taxes and how we live with both.
Written by Gina Gionfriddo
December 8 & 9, 2013
After Ashley is a blisteringly funny and deeply affecting story about a teenage boy navigating the joys and terrors of life—all through the distorting prism of a media firestorm. When a gruesome tragedy deals the Hammond family a dose of dubious celebrity, Justin finds himself paralyzed, unable to fully grieve or grow up. The only bright spot is a girl, but Justin can't decide if she's a saving angel or a self-interested groupie. In a world as weird as this one, she might just be both.
Tickets for the main stage season are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students. Tickets for staged readings are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students. Individual tickets and memberships for the 2013 season go on sale on December 5, 2012 and can be purchased at 817-923-3012 or www.amphibianproductions.org.