Trinity Rep presents 'The Catastrophist'

The Cranston Herald ·

Trinity Rep is one of ten theaters throughout the country that will be presenting the new, highly acclaimed, cinematic digital theater production “The Catastrophist.”

Written by Lauren M. Gunderson and co-produced by Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre, the 80-minute, one-man play explores the life and work of Gunderson’s husband, virologist Nathan Wolfe, who was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work tracking viral pandemics.

“The Catastrophist” will stream through Trinity Rep from March 18 to May 31. Tickets cost $30 per household with discounts available for Trinity Rep subscribers. Tickets and more information can be found at trinityrep.com/catastrophist.

This presentation of “The Catastrophist” is one of several of Trinity Rep’s digital offerings as the organization prepares for a return to in-person performances. The organization produced a free streaming production of “A Christmas Carol Online” during the holidays and created 18 episodes of “Your Half Hour Call with Curt,” a Facebook Live talk-show style series between April and December.

This winter and spring, Trinity Rep is producing two free digital events – “The Writer’s Room,” a series of five online new play workshops, and “America Too: Reckoning and Resilience,” a co-production with Providence Public Library, which explores the impact of the events of the past year through conversation and performance over the course of four episodes and a culminating event in May.

More information about these projects can be found at trinityrep.com/theshowgoeson.

When the scale of the pandemic started to become clear in April 2020, Marin Theatre Company, like theaters around the world, realized that in-person productions wouldn’t be possible for some time and started considering alternatives. Marin, which is located in the San Francisco Bay area, commissioned Gunderson, their playwright-in-residence, to create a theatrical piece that would translate well to a virtual production.

Artistic director Jasson Minadakis, who also directs “The Catastrophist,” initially suggested a theatrical adaptation of Wolfe’s book “The Viral Storm.” Gunderson, who has been recognized as the most produced playwright in the country (aside from William Shakespeare) in two different years since 2015, responded with a variation to that prompt.

The resulting play is about her husband and his work, but also his relationship with his father and his son. About nine months after receiving the commission, the play premiered with William DeMeritt in the role of Nathan Wolfe as part of the virtual seasons of both Marin and Round House Theatre, which signed on early as a co-producer. Based on the success of the play, additional theaters including Trinity Rep have elected to present the play to their audiences.

Viewers of the 80-minute streaming play will get to know Nathan Wolfe through both a scientific and personal lens. His acclaimed work with viruses and pandemics has brought him from the jungles of Cameroon to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His work has been covered by major publications and been featured in his two TEDTalks.

In addition to his inclusion on TIME’s list of the hundred most influential people in the world, Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Agents of Change” in 2009, and Popular Science recognized him as one of their “Brilliant 10” in 2006.

The Economist says: “A subtle blend of film and live theatre … interesting and exotic yet entirely normal, filled, like all lives, with discovery and disappointment, joy and loss. In Ms. Gunderson’s hands, ‘The Catastrophist’ sheds compassionate light on the all-too-human tendency to ignore catastrophe until it is too late. There’s no risk, and plenty of reward, in watching this essential lesson.”

For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep’s website at www.TrinityRep.com.


Trinity, theater, entertainment