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City Theatre to present time-bending journey: The Guard in March

 


Art, history, and humanity align in City Theatre’s upcoming production of The Guard by Jessica Dickey.

Directed by Artistic Director Tracy Brigden, the play will run March 11-April 2 on the Main Stage, continuing the 2016-17 season of new plays at City Theatre.

This is the third time Ms. Dickey’s work has been produced at City Theatre, following Charles Ives Take Me Home (2013) and The Amish Project (2011). The play features a cast of five tackling ten roles—including appearances by the legendary painter Rembrandt and the epic poet Homer—over three time periods.

In The Guard, dedicated museum guard Henry dares to connect with the paintings he proudly protects, he sets into motion a time-bending journey where art intersects with life. Inspired by Rembrandt’s “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,” The Guard embraces the idea of carpe diem in (and at) any age, for a spellbinding theatrical exploration of the power of human connection.

“The Guard was inspired by a trip I took to the National Gallery in London,” revealed Ms. Dickey. “I had an epiphany while looking at a painting—and I think I was quite emotional—when I looked beside me and discovered a museum guard. He was a small man with receding strawberry blond hair; he had an attentive face that belied a particular kindness… I was immediately struck that this was his job—all day, every day, he watched the art, which meant he also watched the people like me who had come to see the art and I wondered what that was like. So I asked him! Thus began The Guard.”

“I am so pleased to welcome Jessica Dickey back to City Theatre and to be at the helm of the second production of this spectacular play,” said director Brigden. “The Guard wraps its arms around many vital subjects—life, love, and legacy to name a few. In exploring the lives of these artists and poets, the play hones in on the dreams and fears of every one of us. Jessica’s characters are utterly loveable, her language is gorgeous—often hilarious—and the theatrical storytelling will leave you smiling with surprise.”

The Guard is directed by Ms. Brigden. The cast includes Andrew May as Henry/Rembrandt, Stephen James Anthony as Dodger/Titus, Melinda Helfrich as Madeline/Henny, Billy Hepfinger as Jonny/Martin, and Raphael Nash Thompson as Simon/Homer.

Narelle Sissons is scenic designer, Elizabeth Hope Clancy is costume designer, Andrew David Ostrowski is lighting designer, Zachary Beattie-Brown is sound designer, and Eric Shimelonis will compose an original score for the play.

City Connects UNITY: A conversation with The Thomas Merton Center will take place on Saturday, April 1, following the 1 p.m. matinee. City Connects is a program designed to connect City Theatre plays with relevant community organizations to stimulate conversation and activism through art.

The discussion with Antonio Lodico of the Thomas Merton Center will touch on the essential themes of the play through the lens of civil disobedience.

Other community engagement and special programming throughout the run of The Guard includes a partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Art and an off-site event with the Andy Warhol Museum. A photography exhibit featuring local museum guards at work will be on display in the lobby throughout the run, featuring photos by Point Park student Madison Turiczek.

Artists, including Breanna Martray and Rebecca Harmon from the local art-studio start-up Radiant Hall, will have “touchable” works on display as well. Following the Wednesday, March 15 performance, a conversation with the visual artists will take place in City Theatre’s Gordon Lounge.

Tickets are available at the City Theatre Box Office, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side); by calling 412-431-CITY (2489); or at citytheatrecompany.org.

For a complete listing of show times, visit CityTheatreCompany.org or call 412-431-2489.

 

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