Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright
THE STORY: In this thrilling and imaginative new play about the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, audiences get an in-depth look at the master builder at three distinct phases of his life and career: in Act One, as a young man in a hurry to change the way people live and finding inspiration in Mamah Cheney, a unconventional (married) woman who becomes the great love of his life and leads to his greatest tragedy; in Act Two, as a doubting genius at the crossroads, fending off creditors and reeling in clients before he salvages himself by coming up with one of his greatest creations, the house called “Fallingwater"; and in Act Three, as an old showman at twilight, visiting a house from his past and taking stock of his sacrifices and successes in his quest to build the perfect dwelling. Each part of the play has its own style: a multi-scene “epic” style covering three decades for part one; a compressed “country weekend” comedy à la Chekhov for part two; and a single setting for part three’s final encounter between Wright and a young couple living in one of his earliest houses built half a century before, played out in real time. The play also allows for a development in the play’s design that mirrors the architectural ideas of Wright himself. WORK SONG is about Wright’s ideas, his passions, his love affairs and his tragedies. It’s a play about a man who wanted to create the perfect home for the American family but could never build one for himself.
“Perhaps the most complex new play I’ve seen this season is WORK SONG, a triptych of interlocking one acts by Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher about the life of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright…Its three parts, each with a different narrative strategy and tone, take the form of a conventional stage bio. One part presents an acid view of Wright in manipulative, pathetically regal celebrityhood at Taliesin, his monument to himself in rural Wisconsin, and the finale is an exquisite vignette about a visit by the ninety-year-old Wright to one of his first houses in Oak Park, Ill.…I hope it will be remounted soon and often.” —NY Times. “As emotionally engrossing as Frank Lloyd Wright himself.” —Variety. “Elegant…vigorous…breathtaking…” —Chicago Tribune.