On the heels of a blockbuster 2022-23 season, Marin Theatre Company heads into its 2023-23 season with gusto, starting with the world premiere of “Odyssey” (Aug. 31-Sept. 24), adapted and directed by internationally-renowned writer and director Lisa Peterson, a former associate director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she has mounted a one-man “An Iliad.”
Like that show, “Odyssey” refracts one of the Western canon’s most foundational texts from an unconventional angle: the perspective of contemporary female refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Whereas in the original stranded wife Penelope struggles with the duties of hosting unwanted guests, now the women are those scorned strangers.
Peterson returns to the Bay Area for her MTC debut to adapt and direct Odyssey, based on Emily Wilson’s 2018 translation of the ancient poem The Odyssey – the first English translation published by a woman. Set in a present-day relocation center for refugees on the Isle of Lesbos, four young women fleeing conflict in Middle Eastern, North African, and Eastern European countries await the next step of their quest for home and family. Through the extraordinary characters of this epic tale, the women explore what it is to host a stranger, follow (or not) the rules of generosity, question what it means to belong without a “place” to call home, and discover the thrill of adventure at the heart of it all. Odyssey promises to bring bold theatricality, humor, and grace to a story we all think we know.
This world premiere adaptation by New York’s The Acting Company is created in association with MTC. The production dates at MTC are the first stop on a nationwide tour.
As we head into late November comes “Dragon Lady” (Nov. 24-Dec. 17), a solo cabaret that’s the first part of a trilogy by Sara Porkalob, all about the women in her family. In this installment, she does a take on her Filipina grandmother’s life that draws equally on karaoke, gangsters and a trailer park, suggesting her grit is genetic.
Next year brings “Bees and Honey” (Feb. 14-March 10) by Guadalís Del Carmen, co-founder of the Latinx Playwrights Circle. The West Coast premiere follows a Dominican couple who seem to be on the up-and-up — he with his auto shop, she poised to make partner at her law firm — till a sick parent must suddenly move in. If your love requires prosperity, the show asks, is it still love?
“Torch Song” (May 9-June 2, 2024), Harvey Fierstein’s two-act condensation of his 1982 “Torch Song Trilogy,” wraps up the season. MTC mounts the show, about a drag queen on the prowl for love and respect and trying futilely to escape the nagging voice of his mother, at a timely moment.
The 2022-23 productions come on the heels of MTC’s groundbreaking musical “Justice: A New Musical” with MTC’s National Playwright in Residence Lauren M. Gunderson and award-winning composer/lyricist duo, Bree Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan behind the production.