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Lookingglass Theatre's next season: Posner on 'Vanya' and more 'Moby Dick'

Kareem Bandealy and Christopher Donahue in Moby Dick at Lookingglass Theatre Company
Photograph: Liz Lauren Kareem Bandealy and Christopher Donahue in Moby Dick at Lookingglass Theatre Company

Lookingglass Theatre Company has revealed the four-play slate for its 2016–17 season, to be concluded by a return engagement of David Catlin's hit Herman Melville adaptation. But first up, there's the Chicago premiere of playwright Aaron Posner's satirical return to the works of Anton Chekhov.

Posner, whose Stupid Fucking Bird—a very loose adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull—has been well received across the country, including in Sideshow Theatre Company's two runs, now visits in on the characters of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya with Life Sucks, which premiered in early 2015 in Posner's home base of Washington, D.C. Lookingglass ensemble member Andrew White will direct a cast to include ensemble members Joey Slotnick as Vanya and Philip R. Smith as Dr. Aster (September 9–November 6).

A fairy-tale meta story about a pair of traveling storytellers scrambling to save their mysteriously dying subjects, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is written and directed by ensemble member Doug Hara. The production will feature shadow puppetry by Manual Cinema and 3D puppetry by Blair Thomas; the only casting as yet announced is Lookingglass artistic associate Lindsey Noel Whiting as Mrs. Pennyworth (December 7–February 19).

Beyond Caring, a theatrical look at those on the lowest rungs of the economy, performing without a safety net, comes from the U.K.'s National Theatre, where our colleagues at Time Out London called it "devastating." The play concerns what are known in Britain as "zero-hours contract workers." It comes to Lookingglass at the behest of ensemble member David Schwimmer, bearing the mark of his own production company Dark Harbor Stories; writer-director Alexander Zeldin will reimagine the piece for the U.S. (March 22–May 14, 2017).

Finally, adapter-director Catlin's acrobatic adaptation of Moby Dick, first seen in the summer of 2015, returns for an encore run in the summer of 2017. Original cast members Anthony Fleming III (Queequeg), Raymond Fox (Stubb) and Kareem Bandealy (Starbuck) have all signed on to reprise their roles (June 7–September 3, 2017).


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