American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
The Shotover family is so devastatingly fascinating, their lives a veritable who’s who of the elite. They’re all so in love. Mostly with themselves. And all so much more damaged than they care to admit. Not that they’ll let that put a pin in their party. They’re a dramatic lot, and a few bombshells are sure to drop before the night is through. George Bernard Shaw had a remarkable skill for dressing up serious social issues in lively banter and sex appeal. It’s been a few years since he’s visited the Hill, but he’s more than worth the wait.
Opens August 11.
Featuring: Tracy Michelle Arnold, Sarah Day, Jim DeVita, Tim Gittings, Phoebe González, Colleen Madden, John Taylor Phillips, Jonathan Smoots
Sweet Ellie Dunn has been invited to a party along with her father and fiancé at the home of the eccentric Captain Shotover, where he lives with his bohemian daughter Hesione and her husband Hector. But it soon comes to light that Ellie has eyes for another man. Surprises hit one after the other, when it turns out Ellie’s “true love” is not who he appeared to be, Shotover’s other daughter, Ariadne, shows up at the party after a 23-year absence, and love triangles shift and overlap. A rich Shavian comedy about human folly and the charming and self-absorbed gentry.
It is a great privilege to work with a genius in the room.
That’s why I’ve spent much of life adapting and directing plays and novels
by Shakespeare, Chekhov, Potok, Kesey, Twain, Dostoevsky and, of course,
George Bernard Shaw.
I love Heartbreak House the play, and Heartbreak House, the place. I would
love to visit. It is chock-a-block with deeply flawed, very complicated,
really quite wonderful people, all bouncing off each other in curious and
unpredictable ways. It is a cousin to both Chekhov’s quirky country estates
and Shakespeare’s forest of Arden—an oddly magical place where love is lost
and found, secrets are revealed, truth is told, and Big Changes can happen.
I never cease to marvel at Shaw’s sweeping intellect and great humanity.
While the core of his plays is always its ideas, perspectives and philosophies,
he was also an acute and sympathetic observer of human nature. His best
plays, like Heartbreak House, skewer all of us petty mortals for all of our faults
and foibles in the most fun and fascinating ways.
Yes, his characters spout philosophy, but they are not simply philosophical
or polemical mouth-pieces. They have complexity, specificity and humanity.
While many of them have a passion for ideas, they have other passions as
well! Watching their passions and predilections war within themselves—and
their loved ones— is why I love Shaw’s plays so much.
To be clear: I don’t agree with all of Shaw’s ideas or philosophies, but I never
cease to find them challenging and worth careful consideration. I find ideas
in Heartbreak House still shockingly provocative almost exactly 100 years after
it was written! Any play that helps me examine and challenge my own idea
and beliefs in meaningful ways is always worthwhile. Any play that can do
that while also making me laugh, and maybe even cry, is even more so.
But Shaw is not the only extraordinary artist I am fortunate to work with on
this production. Not by a long shot. Our cast of mostly APT stalwarts is so
full of extraordinary talents, it is an honor to be working with them on this
rich and challenging material. I have learned a great deal every time I have
worked at APT from the exceptional artists that assemble here, and I fully
expect that this time will be no different.
Thank you for joining us!
— Aaron Posner