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Take a step back in time when director Cameron Watson (Top Girls) returns to Antaeus at the helm of a fully partner-cast revival of Picnic.
Powerful, moving and ripe for revival, Inge’s drama is not simply a breezy summer romance. Set in small town Kansas, this is a sexy world, dangerous and cruel, where residents keep each other in their place while longing to break free. At once sensual, passionate and delightfully funny, Picnic probes the sometimes tenuous line between restraint and desire.
It’s a balmy Labor Day in the American Heartland, and a group of women are preparing for a picnic. When a handsome young drifter named Hal arrives, his combination of uncouth manners and titillating charm sends the women reeling, especially the beautiful Madge. When Hal is forced out of town, Madge must decide whether their fleeting encounter is worth changing the course of her life.
“Inge has tremendous respect for these characters,” says Watson. “There are no bad people. It’s bigger than that. Even though it is Kansas in 1952, the longings and desires and fears these people are experiencing on this particular Labor Day are no different from what we all experience today. It’s all about trying to find a way to exist in a place where everybody knows everybody and you can lose everything.”
In the Antaeus tradition best known as “partner casting,” two actors share every role, working together throughout the rehearsal process to enrich the creative experience for both cast and audience. Audiences, who never see an understudy,” frequently return to see the same play in the hands of an equally excellent but very different set of actors.
Performances of Picnic take place June 25 through Aug. 16 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no matinee performance on Saturday, June 27; dark July 4). Talk back Thursdays begin on July 2: stay after the performance and discuss the play with the cast. Tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays (except June 25 and June 26 which are $34 and include a reception with the actors), and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays. The Antaeus Theatre Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood, CA 91601. Parking is available for $8 in the lot at 5125 Lankershim Blvd. (west side of the street), just south of Magnolia. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.