“There is nothing more gorgeous than being in a room with a play or watching someone on a stage delineate the human condition.” ― Dael Orlandersmith
Synopsis: After the death of her mother, a woman takes a trip to Paris and visits the Père Lachaise cemetery. There, among the graves of her idols, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, she unpacks demons, wrestles with the family we are born into and the one we create, and explores the ties that bind a mother and daughter, even from beyond the grave.
Production History: Forever was commissioned by the Center Theatre Group and ran at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in October of 2014. It then opened Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in April 2015. Forever continued its regional theater success and ran at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven in January 2015. About Dael, Jim Nicola from New York Theatre Workshop said, “She doesn’t ever tell a tale just to tell you the wounds and arrows of fate that have befallen her characters. There’s a sense of redemption and healing, a journey from darkness to some kind of transcendence. She takes us out of our fears and transforms them.” In February of 2016, Dael took Forever to Portland Center Stage, and is now here, at the Weston Playhouse.
Our Weston Production: Weston audiences will remember Dael Orlandersmith’s powerful performance in Stoop Stories during our 2014 season. Dael first came to Weston in 2009 as part of our annual Artists Retreat to develop Stoop Stories. While performing here in 2014, Dael also began exploring ideas for what would become Forever.
“What a joy it has been to spend some time in the rehearsal room with Dael Orlandersmith. I’ve had the privilege of following Forever from an early reading at Dartmouth through its premiere last spring at New York Theatre Workshop and now in Weston where she wrote some of it back in 2014. When her original director, Neel Keller, became unavailable to direct the show at Weston, Dael was generous enough to agree that I could work with her to ‘find’ the play in our space, the most intimate in which she has performed the piece to date. The costume and sound design are from the original production, and the set and lighting are our own.
I’ve watched in admiration as Dael continues to deepen and fine-tune her performance, and I am proud to bring Forever to our audience. At the opening of the play, she invites us to ‘take a ride’ with her, and what a ride it has been!” Producing Artistic Director, Steve Stettler
Dael Orlandersmith was born Donna Brown, in Harlem, 1959. She grew up in public housing with an alcoholic single mother; her father had passed away. Orlandersmith studied at Hunter College and the Actors Studio and, struggling with the scarcity of roles available to her, she began writing her own. The theatre world is thankful she did. In 1995 Dael won an Obie Award for her play Beauty’s Daughter. In 2002 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Yellowman, for which she also earned Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play. She has also won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a playwright in mid-career, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her plays have been performed at the American Place Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf, Wilma, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Rep, and The Goodman.
Up Next for Dael: Until the Flood, commissioned by The Repertory Theatre of St Louis, will premiere this fall. An exploration of the recent events in Ferguson, Until the Flood delivers what we have come to expect from Dael Orlandersmith: a moving and complex portrayal of the human experience, exploring an event that placed St. Louis in a national spotlight it did not anticipate or enjoy.
“I came to hear Colette tell me, You’re a writer, where’s your pen?” – Dael Orlandersmith, Forever
Hear Dael speak with Steve here, about what, and who, inspired Forever.
For curtain times, a peek at Forever‘s creative team, or to purchase tickets for the show, visit our production page. Preview on July 14, Opening Night July 15.