Arís!, the 4-year-old theater company devoted to all things Celtic, plans a 2018 season featuring two mainstage productions, two readings and special events that include an evening of World War I poetry and music, and a showing of the Welsh-language film Hedd Wyn, a 1992 anti-war biopic.
The season begins Jan. 25 with the company’s annual Burns Night Celebration, a tribute to Robert Burns (1759-1796), the bard of Scotland, its national poet and folk hero (venue to be announced).
The rest of the season, in chronological order:
Lazybed | APRIL 26-MAY 13. This 1997 comedy by Scottish playwright Iain Crichton Smith is described as “a meditation on life, death, love and the meaningfulness of the things we all hold dear.” A man named Murdo is in the midst of a metaphysical crisis. He’s taken to his bed, and his mother doesn’t know what to do with him. While he malingers, he’s visited by his brother, his attractive neighbor, an insurance salesman, a minister, a medical specialist, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Death — who keeps stopping by to chat. At 7 Stages Back Stage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E.
Woman and Scarecrow | MAY 7. A 2006 drama by Irish playwright Marina Carr. A woman is dying. While on her deathbed, her alter ego (called “Scarecrow”) holds the mirror up to her life. Together they face the hardest questions about love, life and leaving it. Arís! calls this play, perhaps Carr’s finest, “a laceration to the soul.” Consider this line: “This world’s job is to take everything from you. Yours is not to let it.” At 7 Stages Back Stage Theatre.
Not About Heroes | FALL 2018. A 1983 drama by British playwright Stephen MacDonald. In June 1917, a young English soldier named Wilfred Owen was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital with shell shock. There he met the poet and writer Siegfried Sassoon, a fellow soldier. Their friendship inspired Owen to write what’s considered the finest poetry from World War I. This drama about finding joy and art in the midst of war will be staged as Aris! commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI. The piece had an off-Broadway run in 1985 with Edward Herrmann as Sassoon. Note: Rights pending; dates and venue TBA.
Home and Beauty | FALL 2018. A comedy by English writer W. Somerset Maugham (probably best known for the novel Of Human Bondage). It’s 1919 in London, and Victoria’s husband has just returned from the Great War. The only trouble is, her other husband is already home. Dates and venue TBA.