by Rogelio Martinez
directed by Terrence J. Nolen
originally produced at Arden Theatre Company,
March 31, 2011
through May 9, 2011
Paris, 1911. A world on the brink of change. Young Nathan Wanamaker arrives in search of stock for the family department store and instead finds Paul Poiret and the first truly fabulous party of the 20th century. Surrounded by Poiret’s extravagances, Stravinsky’s music, and Picasso’s art, Nathan soon finds himself having to make the difficult choice of what he must bring back to Philadelphia and what he must leave behind.
From Amy L. Murphy, Managing Director
Our Edgerton grant for Wanamaker’s Pursuit is crucial to its development. We know from our talks with Rogelio and our experience with him at other theatres that he makes extensive use of early rehearsals to revise and clarify. Our mission is to tell great stories by great storytellers, so having the resources to facilitate this particular storyteller’s intense creative process is truly gratifying. Set in the art world of 1911 Paris, with fashion designer Paul Poiret as one of the major characters, Wanamaker's Pursuit also affords some remarkable opportunities for our design team. The extended development process will allow the designers more time to collaborate with Rogelio to create a world that captures this most remarkable time and place.
From Terrence J. Nolen, Producing Artistic Director:
I first got to know Rogelio Martinez and his work while directing a workshop of his play When Tang Met Laika at the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in 2008, which I ultimately saw through to production at the Denver Center Theatre in 2010. From the beginning of that process, I was convinced that the play signified the emergence of an important American playwright. We co-commissioned Wanamaker from Rogelio with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) -- an unprecedented cultural event in the history of our city that seeks to bring local, national and international attention to the work of this region's cultural organizations. When the Festival first approached the Arden about participating – and explained that the theme was Paris in the nineteen teens – Rogelio came instantly to mind as someone who could bring this bygone era to life with freshness and immediacy. The play he has offered us does not disappoint. A mixture of art, commerce, politics, romance and sibling rivalry - Wanamaker's Pursuit gives us the chance to introduce a remarkable voice to Philadelphia audiences; one that we are sure has a great deal more to share.
Director: Terrence J. Nolen
Set Design: James Kronzer
Lighting Design: F. Mitchell Dana
Sound Design: Jorge Cousineau
Costume Design: Richard St. Clair