October 15, 2012
By Lawson Taitte
Just when you think you have Undermain Theatre all figured out, the amazing Dallas troupe turns around and surprises you all over again.
Undermain has been operating out of a cavernous Deep Ellum basement since Katherine Owens and Raphael Parry founded it in 1983. The group quickly established itself as the Southwest’s leading advocate of the theatrical avant-garde. After Parry departed in 1999 — he now runs Shakespeare Dallas — Owens and her husband, executive producer Bruce DuBose, transformed the organization. They’ve taken shows to New York, forged relationships with designers of national stature and established a healthy endowment.
The 2012-13 season Undermain announced at the end of the summer, though, once again turns expectations upside down.
First, this most shockingly contemporary of theaters is presenting four shows that look backward to the roots of world culture. And Owens, who usually stages most Undermain shows herself, is sharing the duties with three other superb directors. . .
Half of the four shows are based on Homer’s two surviving epics. Through the end of October, under Owens’ direction, DuBose is giving an astonishing performance in An Iliad. In January, Stan Wojewodski Jr., head of Southern Methodist University’s theater program and former dean of the Yale Drama School, will be directing Enda Walsh’s Penelope, a retelling of The Odyssey, at the City Performance Hall. (Irish playwright Walsh this year won both a Tony, for his book of the musical Once, and SMU’s Meadows Prize.)
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