Forum, known increasingly for its appetite for lesser-known writers and adventurous works, will celebrate its 10th season by introducing two up-and-coming playwrights to area audiences: Aditi Brennan Kapil, with her “Agnes Under the Big Top” (Sept. 5-28) and Steve Yockey, with “Pluto” (Feb. 20-March 15, 2014). The company will also present the world premiere of local solo performer Anu Yadav’s “Meena’s Dream” (Jan. 8-19, 2014), as well as a new version of one its most popular past productions, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” (May 22-June 14, 2014). A fifth production remains to be determined.
Michael Dove, Forum’s artistic director, says “Pluto,” which he will direct, will be underwritten in part by a grant from the Washington-based National New Play Network, a group that fosters new work by arranging for companies across the country to stage productions of the same piece in so-called “rolling premieres.” “Pluto” will also be done by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Atlanta’s Actor’s Express Theatre.
Meanwhile, Rilette said he also will institute a streamlined box-office policy that will reduce Round House’s top ticket price by $18. The new system will offer the same prices every night — bucking the industry trend for dynamic pricing, a process by which theaters monitor sales every day and frequently adjust prices up and down as demand rises and falls.
Next season, he explained, the full single-ticket prices for center orchestra and center balcony seats for all performances will be $45, and $30 for seats on the sides. Patrons under 30, active-duty members of the military and veterans will pay $35 for center seats and $20 on the sides. (Currently, the top price for a center orchestra seat on a Saturday night at Round House is $63.)
“The more complicated you make it, the more difficult you make it for the consumer,” Rilette said. “I would like to keep pushing the prices lower until we get to free.” As organizations in the nonprofit sector, he added, “We should be closer to libraries than to commercial theaters.”
As for Montgomery County’s image as a theater-destination afterthought, he observed: “People will travel to the end of the earth if you have something that everyone is talking about.”