Rep Stage, the professional Equity theatre in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), continues its 17th season with "Hysteria," a farcical re-imagining of an actual 1938 meeting between Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dali - a year before Freud's death. Steven Carpenter ("Mrs. Farnsworth," "Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted") returns to Rep Stage to direct two-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Bruce Nelson as Salvador Dali and Jeff Baker as Sigmund Freud. Also featured in the cast are Conrad Feininger and Marni Penning. "Hysteria" opens October 7 and runs through November 1, 2009 in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center (HVPA) on the campus of HCC.
A post-show reception follows the Sunday, October 11 matinee performance and free post-show discussions follow the October 16 and 23 performances.
Written by British playwright Terry Johnson, "Hysteria" won the 1994 Olivier Award for best new comedy. Its title is taken from the once-common and now defunct medical disorder - made exclusively to women - that listed faintness, nervousness, irritability and "a tendency to cause trouble" as symptoms. Tackling themes like death, sexual abuse and trauma, "Hysteria" explores the harsh realities of life with dark comedy, farcical situations and a morphine dream reminiscent of a Salvador Dali painting come to life. "Hysteria" contains nudity and mature themes. Parental discretion is advised.
"Steven Carpenter and I have been looking forward to sharing ‘Hysteria' with Rep Stage audiences for quite some time," says Michael Stebbins, Rep Stage's producing artistic director. "‘Hysteria' mixes the real with the imagined, entertains in a highly farcical manner yet still makes time to educate its audience, and features a cast of seasoned pros that have all graced Rep's stages in the past. Steven's direction of ‘Mrs. Farnsworth' and ‘Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted' have been audience favorites and Terry Johnson has written a gem of a piece."
Steven Carpenter returns to Rep Stage in his third production as director. He has also appeared onstage as an actor in Rep Stage's "Lonesome West," "Translations" and "Ambrosio." Carpenter is a company member at the Washington Stage Guild, where his directing credits include "Opus," "The Underpants," "Incorruptible," "The Unexpected Man" and "A Skull in Connemara." Carpenter was a Helen Hayes Award nominee for Outstanding Director for his production of "Thief River" at Theatre Alliance.
Playwright Terry Johnson's work has been performed all over Great Britain and worldwide. He is the recipient of nine major British Theatre awards, including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 1994 and 1999, Playwright of the Year in 1995, two Evening Standard Theatre Awards and many more. In recent years he has had eight productions: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Hitchcock Blonde," "Entertaining Mr. Sloan," "The Graduate," "Dead Funny," "Hysteria," "Elton John's Glasses," and "The Memory of Water" running in London's West End. He has written and directed television drama that has been broadcast worldwide. He is Literary Associate at The Royal Court Theatre.
Throughout the 2009-10 season, The Rep Stage Film Series, presented by HCC's Film Program, will offer free movie screenings in the Smith Theatre to complement the themes of the plays appearing onstage. Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound," which features a sequence art- directed by Salvador Dali, will be shown on October 27 at 7 p.m. and October 31 at 10 a.m.
Also complementing "Hysteria" will be a pre-show lecture exploring Freud and his world on October 24 at, 12:30 p.m. The Rep Stage Reading Series will feature Terry Johnson's "Hitchcock Blonde," November 2 at 7 p.m. Both events are free and will take place in the Monteabaro RecitAl Hall.
Jeff Baker (Sigmund Freud) has appeared at Rep Stage in "Ambrosio," "Judas Kiss," "Philadelphia Story" and "Hamlet." Other regional credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Wayside Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, and American Century Theatre. Television appearances include "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and "America's Most Wanted." Film appearances include "Syriana," "The Swimmer," and "Death Without Consent."