Capital Stage co-founder Stephanie Gularte will temporarily return to the theater company she helped create during the 2017-18 season. The company’s original artistic director will be a guest director just about a year from now, staging Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.”
Gularte is now producing artistic director at American Stage Theatre Company in St. Petersburg., Fla., where she will also direct “Marjorie Prime.” Sacramento-based actors Jamie Jones and Janis Stevens will lead the co-production, which opens March 9 for a five-week run at American Stage in Florida and then comes to Capital Stage, opening May 5, 2018, for another five weeks.
News of Gularte’s return to Sacramento to direct the drama was part of the announcement this week by Cap Stage producing artistic director Michael Stevenson of his company’s new season.
In addition to “Marjorie Prime,” Cap Stage will mount “An Octoroon” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; “Luna Gale” by Rebecca Gilman; “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon; “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley; “The Arsonists” by Jacqueline Goldfinger; and “The Thanksgiving Play” by Larissa FastHorse.
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“The Arsonists” is a National New Play Network rolling world premiere.
Stevenson said the season’s titles came together for him as last summer churned with the political campaign season. As he read plays, he said, certain ones seemed to speak to the times and what he thought the season should reflect.
“Technology, social change and political change is all kind of coming together and it’s super concentrated,” Stevenson said. “There are so many huge questions which are unanswered and daily technology is changing our lives dramatically.
“What does it mean to be us right now? What does it mean to be alive right now?” he said.
The season opener, “An Octoroon” by 2016 MacArthur Fellow Jacobs-Jenkins, reframes a 19th-century melodrama about interracial love for a modern audience.
“It’s a reinvention. It contains pretty much the whole play – not word for word but the plots, and (Jacobs-Jenkins) has brought it forward in this extraordinary, really funny hairpin ride that plays on racial stereotypes,” Stevenson said.
“My jaw dropped,” he continued. “I was laughing so hard, and then it turns a corner and takes you all kinds of places.”
Another auspicious title in the season is “Luna Gale,” Gilman’s 2014 play about child custody issues involving an overcaring social worker and the seriously flawed divided family of the baby named in the title.
The highlight for Stevenson, though, is bringing Gularte back to Sacramento to direct a drama that deals with memory, family and artificial intelligence.
“She brought me ‘Marjorie Prime,’ which fit into what I had been thinking about, technology and the future,” Stevenson said. The two other co-founders, Peter Mohrmann and Jonathan Williams, have worked regularly at Cap Stage since Gularte left, but this will be Gularte’s first time back since leaving three years ago.
“I really wanted her back directing in this space again,” Stevenson said. “I’ve been fortunate to have Jon and Peter around, but it felt like that was the shoe that still needed to drop.”
Capital Stage 2017-18 season
What: The new season comprises seven productions to be mounted at Capital Stage, 2215 J St., Sacramento.
- “An Octoroon,” Aug. 30-Oct.1
- “Luna Gale,” Oct. 18-Nov. 19
- “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” Dec. 6-31
- “The Nether,” Jan. 24-Feb. 25
- “The Arsonists,” March 14-April 15, 2018
- “Marjorie Prime,” May 2-June 3, 2018
- “The Thanksgiving Play,” June 20-July 22, 2018
Tickets: Subscriptions sales are underway; single-ticket sales begin Tuesday, Aug. 1
Cost: $120-$204 subscriptions; $22-$45 single tickets