By Leah O'Keefe
---- — September is fast approaching, which means that the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell soon will be unveiling its new season of theater, rich with seven diverse shows.
“I like to have an order of eclectic plays, so that the viewer is able to have a different experience with each of the seven,” said Artistic Director Charles Towers of the upcoming performances.
“They go from one end of the spectrum to the other,” he said. “From Yasmina Reza’s comic tragedy, all the way to the blues-incorporated stylings of Angelo Parra, and with everything in between.”
Here’s what’s on the playbill this season.
‘God of Carnage’
by Yasmina Reza
Sept. 19 to Oct. 13
Two high-strung sets of parents meet for the first time with the intention of settling their sons’ playground dispute like civilized adults. Their encounter frustrates everyone’s best intentions in this viciously funny Olivier Award-winner for Best Comedy and long-running Broadway hit. (Adult language.)
by Jeffrey Hatcher
Oct. 24 to Nov. 17
In this tart but charming comedy, it is the fall of 1967 and young Jeffrey has just enrolled in a manners class taught by the formidable Helen Anderson Kirk, otherwise known as Mrs. Mannerly. Although society is rapidly changing, Jeffrey and his rival classmates must decide how far they will go to become the first student to achieve a perfect score on Mrs. Mannerly’s legendary final exam. (Adult language.)
‘Stella and Lou’
by Bruce Graham”
Nov. 29 to Dec. 22
Lou is just about to close up his bar for the night when Stella, one of his regulars, walks in with a surprising proposal. Lou is a faithful widower and Stella a dedicated nurse. This romantic comedy asks if a second chance at love is really possible for two people with a lot of miles on them.
by Ronald Harwood
Jan. 9 to Feb. 2, 2014
Edith has taken care of her bitter, elderly mother and indulged the old woman’s antiquing habit for years. Now that mum has passed away, she just wants what she deserves, except her wealthy, eccentric, good-for-nothing sister Renata wants her half, too. A comedy about a woman in a moral quandary.
‘The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith’
by Angelo Parra
Feb. 13 to March 9, 2014
Ignoring a scheduled performance, Bessie Smith, The Empress of the Blues, finds herself in a “buffet flat” – a private lounge - hanging with her band and in a revealing mood, sings her story of a life filled with tumultuous romances, hard living, and, always, music. (Adult language.)
by Lanford Wilson
March 20 to April 13, 2014
One year after a brief, secret courtship, Matt Friedman surprises Sally Talley at her family’s home on the Fourth of July, 1944, with the hopes of rekindling their romance in Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning valentine to unlikely love.
‘The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)’
by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
April 24 to May 18, 2014
The Reduced Shakespeare Company returns with a brand new comedy about…comedy. As only they can, the RSC deconstruct the history of comedy, debate who is the funniest person ever to have lived, and ask if laughter is the best medicine, will it be covered by Obamacare?
If You Go What: The 2013-14 season at Merrimack Repertory Theater. Where: 50 E. Merrimack St., Lowell. When: Sept. 2013 to May 2014 How: Tickets may be purchased online at www.mrt.org, in person at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, or by calling 978-654-4678.