The races and the sexes will get an intense look during Rep Stage's 2011-2012 season, the company's 19th.
Michael Stebbins, producing artistic director of the Equity theater in residence at Howard Community College, will guide the season-opening production of "Or," by Liz Duffy Adams.
This work, which enjoyed a success Off Broadway in 2009, fuses 1960s sensibilities to a 1660s story about real-life playwright Aphra Behn and the Restoration in England, when theaters were re-opened and restrictions on female actors were removed.
The cast will include Jason Odell Williams and Christine Demuth. The production opens Aug. 31.
Rep Stage will close the season with another look at historic times. "Las Meninas," by Pulitzer Prize-winning Lynn Nottage, borrows the name of a famous Velázquez painting depicting the Spanish infanta, her ladies-in-waiting and some dwarves.
The play involves a curious tale at the court of King Louis XIV, where the Spanish-born Queen Marie-Therese receives the "gift" of a diminutive African man. An unusual relationship ensues.
The production, opening in April 2012, will be directed by Eve Muson, who directed the exceptional staging of "Speech & Debate" this season.
In October, Rep Stage will examine a more recent figure from history, the great actor John Barrymore.
William Luce's fictional play, "Barrymore" (it was a vehicle for Christopher Plummer in 1996), imagines the troubled thespian shortly before his death in 1942, attempting a comeback in a rented theater.
Nigel Reed will star in the production, directed by Steven Carpenter — the pair collaborated on the company's 2008 staging of "Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted."
Rounding out the season in February will be "Yellowman," by Dael Orlandersmith. The play, a finalist for a Pulitzer in 2002, is a tense drama that looks at a subject not often treated in the theater — intra-racial prejudice.
At the center of the story are a fair-skinned black man and dark-skinned black woman who grow up along the South Carolina coast and develop a complicated relationship that leads to intimacy and tragedy. Kasi Campbell will direct.
In addition to the main subscription series, Rep Stage will offer a "Salon Series."
Anne Nelson's "The Guys," a fact-based work about firemen lost in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, will be presented during the 10th anniversary weekend of that national tragedy. The popular "Poe Show" featuring actor/director Tony Tsendeas will be performed in October. And Stebbins will deliver "Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris in December.
For more information on the 2011-12 Rep Stage season, call 443-518-1500 or go to repstage.org. Tickets go on sale July 1.