Given the seeming omnipresence of ever-simmering political tension in the country today, it is not surprising that the first offerings of 2018 from the Dallas theater community skew toward political topics. Two plays, in fact, place historical political figures onstage, while others imagine the impact of war on family, regional culture on love and friendship, and the role of art in processing memory, loss, and suffering. It’s a strong kickoff to the new year. Here are five upcoming performances you won’t want to miss.
Hillary and Clinton
Second Thought Theatre
Jan. 10–Feb. 3 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater
Set in New Hampshire during the 2008 presidential election primaries, Lucas Hnath’s play takes liberties in imagining the characters of its eponymous political figures, turning out a drama that has been acclaimed for its wry wit and psychological sharpness, a nuanced examination of power, gender, marriage, and politics in American society.
Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue
Jan. 26–Feb. 18 at WaterTower Theatre, Addison
A finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this play by Quiara Alegría Hudes (who won a Pulitzer in 2012 for Water by the Spoonful) traces the impact of war on three generations of Puerto Ricans—fathers and sons who have each served in different wars, but who bear the lingering effects of similar psychological wounds and traumas. Cara Mía Theatre Co.’s David Lozano directs the WaterTower production, steering a play that has been lauded for its lyricism and inventive structure.
Soul Rep Theatre Company
Feb. 1–4 and 9–11 at the South Dallas Cultural Center
Set in the islands off the coast of South Carolina and steeped in the region’s Gullah culture, Dael Orlandersmith’s Pulitzer Prize finalist traces the history of a friendship that is battered by the effects of time, distance, love, history, and self-hatred. Ed Smith—the multiple award-winning TCU professor and former Jubilee Theatre artistic director—will direct.
18th International Theater Festival
Feb. 8–10, Teatro Dallas
Teatro Dallas’ annual International Theater Festival will bring two acclaimed experimental theater performers to Dallas during one weekend in February. Denmark’s Odin Teatret will present Memoria, a musical chamber performance that draws stories from Yaffa Eliach’s book Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust. Mime and Cirque du Soleil vet Mai Rojas will perform two works: The Legend of the Faun, about a painter whose work comes alive, and The Journey, another blend of fantasy and reality.
The Great Society
Dallas Theater Center
Mar. 9–Apr. 1 at the Wyly Theatre
Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to his acclaimed Lyndon B. Johnson bio-drama, All the Way, picks up with the embattled president as he attempts to launch some of the most ambitious social programs in U.S. history, all while the Vietnam War rages out of control. As with his first LBJ drama, which the DTC produced to much acclaim in 2016, The Great Society is simultaneously a penetrating historical dramatization and a relevant examination of the power and the politics of personality.