When: Wed., April 6, 6 p.m. 2011
Thirteen years ago, Burning Coal Theatre Company closed out an audacious first season with David Edgar's Pentecost. Their edgy production of the gripping geopolitical art history thriller—how often do you see those words grouped together?—set to a soundtrack that included Rage Against the Machine proved an unlikely hit for the company, which revived the work during its 10th-anniversary season. In 2008, regional audiences savored the American premiere of The Prisoner's Dilemma, the last work in what Edgar now calls his Iron CurtainTrilogy—a trio of plays focusing on how different cultures in Eastern Europe negotiate a series of transitions in political power, economics and ideology, and how people who do not particularly consider themselves Western or modern are forced to come to grips with modernity and the West.
This week, Burning Coal completes the series with another American premiere—this time, of the first play in the trilogy. Edgar's drama The Shape of the Table, which was written within a year after Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Revolution" and the rise of Solidarity in Poland, gives audiences a seat at the bargaining table in a Communist state where massive demonstrations are under way.
Will political power transfer from the country's old regime leaders to its dissidents? If so, how?
The night before the production opens, Edgar will discuss his trilogy with readers and provide a preview of The Shape of the Table at 6 p.m. —Byron Woods