Thunder River Theatre Company is opening their 2022-2023 season on Sept. 30, with Pulitzer prize finalist Madeleine George’s original comedy “Hurricane Diane.” The show, directed by Tony nominated actress, Beth Malone, centers on a titular character, Diane — a permaculturalist, who is also the incarnation of the Greek God of wine, agriculture and theatre himself: Dionysus.
Diane (Dionysus) appears in modern times, intent on returning the world to its natural state.
TRTC’s artistic director, Missy Moore, sat down with The Sopris Sun to discuss the production; which she actually wanted to open with last season, but was unable to due to a scheduling issue. The production is described by Moore as a “stylized” dark comedy with many Greek influenced thespian themes and references.
“They might not be leaving the theater saying, ‘Oh my God, that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,’ but they’ll certainly laugh at particular moments,” Moore stated. “Madeleine George as a playwright, however, does not shy from a message … which is that we’ve got one Earth and we’ve got to take care of it. We’re really not right now.”
“I really hope that the moral of the story resonates with how people consume in this modern day and age,” she stated. Audiences can expect to see “powerhouse” performances from all the women on stage, she assured.
Susannah Mcleod is playing the role of Diane (Dionysus), Traci Bair is portraying Carol and Moore is stepping back into her acting shoes as Pam. Jennifer Johnson, the executive director of Sol Theatre Company plays Renee and Julia Whalen is making her TRTC debut as Beth.
“I’m really thrilled about all the shows I’m putting on my acting shoes for,” said Moore. “I haven’t been on stage for about a year, so it is fun to just stretch those muscles again.”
She also told The Sopris Sun that when choosing the season TRTC looked at more lighthearted performances and stories.
“Two of the three shows we did last year were, what I would consider to be, epic pieces of theater. Scenically, they were very large … and I just wanted to pull it back and get a little bit more into the art of the stories,” she explained. “I wanted to lean a bit more into the comedic ground — except for “Proof,” which is a rather dramatic show.”
Coming out of the pandemic, she felt that audiences would like to be entertained in a fun and upbeat way. “I could be completely wrong … but the cool thing about our craft is that it ebbs and flows — never really, truly perfected,” she added.
TRTC is proud to announce that all the shows this season will be directed by women. David Auburn’s Pulitzer prize winning play, “Proof,” will be directed by Sue Lavin and is to run Nov. 18 through Dec. 4. Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s “You Can’t Take it With You” will be directed by Moore and run Feb. 17 through March 5, 2023. And, Jeremy Karken, David Murrell and George Farrell’s “Lifespan of a Fact” will be directed by Renee Prince and run June 9 through June 25, 2023.
The executive director of TRTC, Sean Jeffries, said that the audiences can expect some really fantastic shows this season. “There’s a lot of humor, human stories, some supernatural flares and they will all be really fun shows,” he stated.
When asked which show he was most excited to see brought to life in the space, he said that that was like asking him to “pick his favorite child.”
“They all present fantastic challenges; with “Hurricane Diane” holding the wrath of two demigods and “Proof” questioning if you’re safe in your own head. Each show has such a fun flavor and feel — it is impossible to pick just one,” he said.
For more information regarding the season, performance dates and to purchase tickets, visit www.thunderrivertheatre.com