Guthrie announces 2012-2013 season

The Guthrie Theater has announced its 50th season. The 2012-2013 line-up features a Pulitzer-Prize winning work, two Shakespeare productions by an all-male British company, and three newly-commissioned plays.

It also includes the Guthrie’s first-ever staging of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

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Playwright Christopher Hampton

Image courtesy Guthrie Theater

This September, the Guthrie will launch a several weeks-long celebration of the work of British playwright, screenwriter and director, Christopher Hampton. Hampton is author of such plays as “The Talking Cure,” and was more recently nominated for a best screenplay Oscar for “Atonement.”

Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling says part of the celebration will feature Hampton’s play “Tales from Hollywood,” and “Appomattox,” which looks at America from the Civil War to the Civil Rights period.

Here’s an outsider, looking at American history and American culture in different ways, and I think it’ll be very interesting for our audience to compare and contrast what Christopher has done. So we like the idea of using all three theaters to celebrate a particular writer, and in this instance it’s a major international writer, Christopher Hampton.

Dowling says in its 50th season, the theater continues its mission of enlivening the classics, providing relevant modern plays and commissioning new work.

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Mark Rylance, quoting Duluth poet Louis Jenkins in his Tony acceptance speech

The upcoming Guthrie season will also include re-staging a 2010 Yale Repertory Theatre production of “The Servant of Two Masters,” starring Minneapolis actor Steven Epp, and a play about ice fishing co-written by Tony Award winning actor Mark Rylance and Minnesota poet Louis Jenkins.

This is an example of the wonderful relationships that happen here when somebody like Mark Rylance comes. He came to do “Peer Gynt” some years ago and when he was here he became interested in the work of Louis Jenkins, the Minnesota poet. And since he was here, Mark has won two Tony awards for work he’s done in New York city. On both occasions instead of thanking everybody all and sundry the way that people do at these award ceremonies, he has recited a prose poem by Louis Jenkins, causing dismay among the audience generally because they don’t know what the hell is going on. So, he’s become quite friendly with Louis Jenkins and they together have developed this piece.

Dowling says the play, which is called “Nice Fish,” is set on a lake on the last day of the ice fishing season.

They muse on life and on all kinds of things that people who are out on an iced over lake would muse on, and all kinds of strange and bizarre things happen during the course of this play. It’s a delightful, offbeat, wry kind of comic piece. And to have Mark Rylance back and on our stage and to also have Louis Jenkins here, it’ll be a lot of fun.

The Guthrie will celebrate its 50th anniversary in May, 2013.

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