Actor and playwright Christopher Durang writes comedy — satire, dark comedy, parody and absurdist. The Idyllwild Actors Theatre next presents a full stage, al fresco celebration of 12 of Durang’s shorter pieces, called “Durang Durang, a Blissfully Silly Collection of Plays.”
Durang’s play titles often capture his particular fascination with the gothic and goofy, the giddy and glorious such as early cabaret pieces at Yale with co-author Albert Innaurato, “I Don’t Generally Like Poetry But Have You Read ‘Trees?’” and “The Life Story of Mitzi Gaynor” and, with Wendy Wasserstein, “When Dinah Shore Ruled the World.” At Yale, again with co-author Innaurato, Durang launched his first professional production, “The Idiots Karamazov,” starring then-student Meryl Streep.
In 1980, Durang’s one-act play “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” ran Off Broadway to rave reviews and earned him an Obie Award (the Off Broadway equivalent of a Tony) for best play. In the 1980s, Durang, again showing his delight for turning the familiar on end, wrote an original screenplay for Warner Brothers called “The Nun Who Shot Liberty Valence.” In 2013, Durang won a Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Play and Outstanding Play respectively, for his Chekhov riff “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”
By now you get the picture or the plays-on-words you are likely to experience by attending IAT’s “Durang Durang” on Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, under the stars in the garden of the Rainbow Inn.
Directed by American Film Institute grad Ken Luber, “Durang Durang” stars Michelle Marsh, Jeri Greene, Preston Sparks, Jeannette Rogers, Christina Lee Nordella, Jacob Teel, Mark Rogers, Barbara Rayliss and Suzanne Avalon. Luber, a recipient of the Inland Theatre League award for directing, promises the audience an evening of intelligent and enjoyable theater by a great contemporary comedic playwright.
IAT founder and producer Avalon touted having outdoor, summer theater evening productions as a welcome new addition to the Idyllwild entertainment scene. “I’m really excited to have this as a new venue, the Rainbow Inn stage and garden,” she said.
Curtain time on both Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25 is 8 p.m. There is a reception prior to each performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students and are available at the door and online at www.idyllwildactorstheatre.com. For other questions, call 951-692-9553.