Lydie Breeze Trilogy Part I: Cold Harbor, photo by Dave Sarrafian.
Philadelphia audiences can experience the world premiere of the first full presentation of Tony Award-winning playwright John Guare's Lydie Breeze Trilogy, April 25–May 6. Presented by EgoPo Classic Theater as the playwright originally intended, the trilogy’s three parts will be performed successively at Christ Church Neighborhood House, over the course of three days or in a one-day marathon experience.
In development for over 30 years, the trilogy travels from the age of Nantucket whaling, through the Civil War, the creation of a utopian community, and the birth of 20th-century industrialism. “Lydie Breeze has one of the most expansive arcs in American drama,” explains Lane Savadove, EgoPo’s artistic director.
In describing his impetus for beginning work on the play in the 1970s, Guare recalls: “I had been writing plays about New York City, but lots of writers were writing New York. I wanted a world that belonged only to me. I wanted people who spoke differently, who knew different things from the ones I know, who didn’t live now.” The trilogy structure, however, developed rather organically: “I didn’t begin Lydie Breeze as a trilogy but took heart from The Ring Cycle whose librettos [Richard] Wagner wrote in reverse order,” Guare explains. “I wrote what is now the story in Part III first, I wrote Part II to explain to the cast the back story of Part III. I wrote Part I to explain the back story of Part II. In modern times, film has taken over as the medium where most trilogies are found.”
Guare initially collaborated with Savadove in the late 1990s to stage the playwright’s Lake Hollywood in Minneapolis. “We talked a lot about his trilogy over the years, and I directed Part I when I was working in New Orleans,” Savadove recounts in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Almost from the first, John was ready to offer me the rights to the whole thing. It’s taken this long just to set it up.”
“For me to re-examine these plays tracing the lives of a group of young dreamers from 1864 to 1895 in the light of today is a playwright’s dream,” Guare says.
Tickets are available for both one-day marathons featuring all three parts performed back-to-back (April 28, 29 and May 5, 6), or for three-day marathons of each part performed over the course of three consecutive evenings (April 25–27 or May 2–4). To purchase tickets, visit EgoPo’s website.