The season’s third play, which opens in May 2013, also hinges on the aftermath of a tragedy. “Clementine in the Lower 9,” by Dan Dietz, follows a family’s efforts to reunite and rebuild nine months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and forced them apart.
The season closer, in August 2013, is a play to be written by Natsu Onoda Power, who has worked as a set designer at Forum before (for “bobrauschenbergamerica” and “Mad Forest”) and who recently created and directed “Astro Boy and the God of Comics” at Studio’s 2ndStage. “We’re getting to experiment a bit more,” said Dove, Forum’s artistic director. “We’ve given the reins over [to Power]. . . . I think she can do no wrong.”
‘Working’ at the Keegan
There’s something ironic about producing a show called “Working” at a time when the number of Americans out of work is the highest since the Great Depression. “It seemed like an interesting question,” said Shirley Serotsky, who is directing the musical at the Keegan Theatre. “How would a show all about defining yourself by your job, or being defined by other people by what you do, play at a time when more people in this country are dealing with what it means to lack that definition?”
The play, said Serotsky, “gives voice to the person whose story we don’t usually hear. . . . We don’t see a lot of plays about truck drivers [or] waitresses. These are the people we interact with everyday, but it’s not a cultural norm to deem those stories as important enough to be told on the stage.”
What “Working” does is pluck those characters out of the Bruce Springsteen songs where they’ve been hanging around since the ’80s and set them smack at center stage. When the economy is low, interest in those stories is high. With “the Occupy movement . . . it seems, in this country, that the tolerance for [these stories] has flipped over and we’ve said, ‘No, this story is important, too,’ ” said Serotsky.
The cast originally worked with the 1999 version of the show, which is based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews, and found it had “frustrating anachronisms,” said Serotsky. “You talk about a pay phone and immediately people are going to step out and say, ‘C’mon, a pay phone?” They negotiated to get the 2009 edition instead. “It was really important to me that it didn’t feel like a period piece.”
Through May 13, 1742 Church St. NW, keegantheatre.com, 703-892-0202.