PlayMakers’ PRC2 season opens with ‘An Iliad’

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s innovative, intimate PRC 2 second-stage series returns this fall with “An Illiad” opening Sept. 5-9.

This is the sixth season for PRC2, where each presentation combines an intriguing, topical production coupled with engaging post-show discussions with the creative artists.

Playwrights Lisa Peterson and Tony Award-winner Denis O’Hare (known for his role in HBO’s “True Blood”) were honored with a special citation from the 2012 Obie Awards for bringing a modern sensibility to Homer’s epic tale of mighty warriors, gods and goddesses, and the face that launched a thousand ships, without losing the grit, glory, bloodlust and poetry that have held audiences enthralled through the ages.

“This contemporary take on ‘The Iliad’ is the perfect complement to last season’s PRC2 finale ‘Penelope,’ which was a fresh look at ‘The Odyssey,’” said Joseph Haj, PlayMakers producing artistic director.

The Chicago Sun-Times called the play “explosive, altogether breathtaking … brilliantly meshes past and present calamity, with touches of the most caustic dark humor suddenly shifting into unimaginable pathos.” The New York Times said “An Iliad” is “spellbinding … smartly conceived and impressively executed … an age-old story that resonates with tragic meaning today.”

Ray Dooley (photo by Rachel Garrison)

PlayMakers’ production will feature longtime acting company member and audience favorite Ray Dooley in a solo performance portraying a variety of characters. Dooley was featured in last season’s productions of “A Number” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

At 6 p.m. on Aug. 27, Dooley and Haj will appear at McIntyre’s Books at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro. In addition to discussing “An Iliad,” Haj will give an overview of the new season.

Jesse Berger, founding artistic director of New York’s Red Bull Theater, will direct. Under his leadership, Red Bull produces In-The-Raw play development workshops and the Obie Award-winning Revelation Reading Series. Berger also directs extensively at other New York theaters and across the country, working with actors such as Patrick Stewart, Elizabeth Ashley, Michael Learned and among others.

“An Iliad” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. nightly and 2 p.m. on Sept 9. Open captioning will be available at the 7:30 p.m., Sept. 7 performance. Tickets are $15-$40 or may be purchased as part of the theater’s 2012-2013 season packages. For more information, call the PlayMakers box office at (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit PRC² shows are presented in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road.

Also in this season’s PRC2 lineup are Obie Award-winner “And God Created Great Whales,” composed and performed by Rinde Eckert (Jan. 9-13, 2013)  and the world premiere of “Spring Training” by spoken word ensemble Universes (April 24-28, 2013). PlayMakers’ main-stage season opens Sept. 19 with 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best Play “Red.”

PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Drama League of New York has named PlayMakers one of the best regional theaters in America.