TimeLine Announces 2019-20 Season

TimeLine Announces 2019-20 Season

Pictured: James Ijames | Beowulf Sheehan

TimeLine Theatre Company has announced the plays that make up its 2019-20 subscription season.

Following the previously announced Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers’ OSLO is Githa Sowerby’s RUTHERFORD AND SON, a rarely produced family drama written in 1912. Though it was named one of the top plays of the century by the Royal National Theatre, it virtually disappeared from the stage for nearly 70 years. It’s the industrial north of England in 1912, and the patriarch of the Rutherford family has spent decades building a respected company to pass on to his children, who struggle to break free from their oppressive and narrow-minded father. Mechelle Moe directs.

KILL MOVE PARADISE by James Ijames is next; inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women. It’s another Chicago premiere, directed for TimeLine by Wardell Julius Clark.

The season closes with RELENTLESS by Tyla Abercrumbie, a new play developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, directed by Ron OJ Parson. After the death of their mother, two sisters return home to Philadelphia in 1918 to settle her estate. Upon discovering a series of diaries, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the past.

“As TimeLine furthers its mission of exploring today’s social and political issues through the lens of the past, we will take audiences on a journey through different centuries and continents while exploring topics that dominate contemporary headlines and conversations,” said Artistic Director PJ Powers.

The season will be performed at TimeLine’s 615 W. Wellington home, except Nick Bowling’s production of OSLO (a political thriller about the negotiations that brought about the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the PLO), which will be presented at the Broadway Playhouse as a part of Broadway In Chicago’s subscription season.


TimeLine Theatre’s 2019-20 Season:

Chicago Premiere
OSLO
by J.T. Rogers
directed by Nick Bowling
September 18 – October 20, 2019 (previews 9/10 – 9/17)
presented at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St.

When the Israeli prime minister and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993, the world had no idea what it took to orchestrate that momentous occasion. Behind the scenes, a Norwegian diplomat and her social scientist husband hatched an intricate, top secret, and sometimes comical scheme to gather an unexpected assortment of players at an idyllic estate just outside Oslo. Far from any international glare, mortal enemies were able to face each other not as adversaries, but as fellow human beings.

OSLO received the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Obie awards—a sweep of the 2016-17 New York awards season—and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard awards.

Chicago Premiere
RUTHERFORD AND SON
by Githa Sowerby
directed by Mechelle Moe
November 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020 (previews 11/6 – 11/13)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

In the industrial north of England in 1912, the patriarch of the Rutherford family has spent decades building a respected glass works company to pass on to his children, without any say from them. Caught between passion, purpose, and expectation, John, Richard, and Janet struggle to break free from an oppressive and narrow-minded father dead set on writing their stories himself. Less entangled by these family expectations and with ambitions to give her son the life he deserves, John’s young wife Mary is determined to upend the cycle, whatever it takes.

Originally produced under the pen name K.G. Sowerby, RUTHERFORD AND SON premiered in 1912 at London’s Court Theatre with four performances. It soon re-opened at London’s Little Theatre, where it became a massive, critical success.

It was only later revealed that the author of the hit play was a woman, which may have been a factor in its fall into obscurity until the 1980s. It has since had successful productions including at the National Theatre in 1994 and New York’s Mint Theatre in 2001, among others, and will be revived at the National Theatre again in May 2019. TimeLine’s production will be the play’s Chicago premiere and among only a handful of productions ever presented in the United States.

Chicago Premiere
KILL MOVE PARADISE
by James Ijames
directed by Wardell Julius Clark
February 20 – April 5, 2020 (previews 2/12 – 2/19)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

Torn from the world they know without warning, Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny discover themselves stuck in a nebulous waiting room in the afterlife. While balancing the reality of their past and the uncertainty of their future, their souls try to find peace from senseless action and hope in the life they left behind.

Playwright James Ijames has described his play as “an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that ‘all lives matter.’” KILL MOVE PARADISE has been seen at National Black Theatre in Harlem, The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, and Know Theatre of Cincinnati, among others.

World Premiere
RELENTLESS
by Tyla Abercrumbie
directed by Ron OJ Parson
May 14 – June 27, 2020 (previews 5/6 – 5/13)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

After the death of their mother, two sisters return home to Philadelphia in 1918 to settle her estate. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to return to the safe illusion of a perfect life with her husband in Boston. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel black women to a place of prominence and respect. Upon discovering a series of diaries left by their late mother, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the pasts that are chillingly, explosively Relentless.

This world premiere play was developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues. RELENTLESS is the second play developed through the Collective to receive a full production, following Brett Neveu’s TO CATCH A FISH, which was presented at TimeLine in 2018. RELENTLESS received its first public reading as part of TimeLine’s inaugural First Draft Playwrights Collective Festival in December 2018.

For more information, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com.

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue

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