The Drama Desk and Obie Award-wining Mint Theater Company will kick off their 2008-2009 season with the American Premiere of J. B. Priestley’s The Glass Cage, opening September 21st. Performances will continue through November 2nd.
Lou Jacob directs a cast that includes Gerry Bamman (Nixon’s Nixon), Chet Carlin, Chad Hoeppner, Aaron Krohn (The Farnsworth Invention), Robin Moseley, Saxon Palmer, Jeanine Serralles (The Misanthrope, NYTW), Sandra Struthers-Clerc, Fiana Toibin (Long Day’s Journey..., Broadway), and Jack Wetherall (The Elephant Man, “Queer as Folk”).
The Glass Cage will have set design by Roger Hanna, costume design by Camille Assaf, lighting design by Marcus Doshi and sound design by Lindsay Jones.
“J.B. Priestley keeps being rediscovered,” writes the London Times, because “he’s never really gone away.” In the mid-1990s, New York audiences thrilled to Priestley’s prescient modernity in An Inspector Calls on Broadway and Dangerous Corner (adapted by David Mamet for the Atlantic Theater).
Now Mint Theater Company presents the American premiere of his 1957 masterwork, The Glass Cage. Priestley’s drama of “fears, prejudices, hypocrisies and lies” was first brought to light in 2001 when his son Thomas recommended it for a reading as part of a Priestley Festival. A full production followed in 2007 at the Royal Theatre, Northampton—the first in fifty years—where it was hailed as a “not-to-be-missed revival” by the Oxford Times. “This is what real theatre is all about,” declared The Stage. “Not all theatrical rarities are worth unearthing,” wrote Paul Taylor in The Independent, “This one resoundingly is.”
The Glass Cage is a taut drama about the danger old family wounds left unattended. David McBane is an upstanding, god-fearing, businessman living in Toronto with his bachelor brother and the widow of a third brother. A fourth brother had been exiled from the family business many years earlier after marrying an uneducated, ill-bred native woman from the north; they had three children who are now in their 20's. The play begins when the siblings come to Toronto with a plan to wreak havoc on the pious McBane household as revenge for a lifetime of hypocrisy and neglect. Priestley slowly ratchets up the tension in his suspenseful tale before surprising us with his true purpose.
“Just as it seems that this play is going firmly in one direction,” the Oxford Times writes admiringly, “the old stage magician Priestley swiftly conjures it somewhere quite different.” “It's hard to believe one would think of Pinter when watching J B Priestley,” observes The Telegraph, “but The Glass Cage—unseen for 50 years—carries much of the calculated menace that the former was beginning to unleash on the London stage.”
Thomas Priestley will be speaking after performances on Wednesday September 24th and Sunday, September 28th. On September 25th at 8:00, Mr. Priestley will be showing a documentary that he made about his father in the last year of his life. Entitled Time and the Priestleys, the film will be shown at Tribeca Cinemas.
For more information call the Mint box office at 212-315-0231.
All performances will take place on the Third Floor of 311 West 43rd Street. For more information, you can also visit www.minttheater.org