BAG LADY press release

For Immediate Release Contact: Michael Oliver
Telephone: (202) 529-3143
Cell Phone: (202) 841-7181

The Sanctuary Theatre Revives van Itallie’s BAG LADY

The Sanctuary Theatre, Inc. is proud to announce the revival of its hit one-woman show, “Bag Lady” by Jean-Claude van Itallie. The production runs as part of the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival, with veteran Washington actress Elizabeth Bruce reprising the role of Clara that the Washington Post called “startlingly convincing” and that the Hill Rag raved: “”Phenomenal … a captivating breathless fury.” The show opens on Sunday, July 12, 2009, at 4:30 at The Bedroom at Fort Fringe at 612 L St., NW. Ms. Bruce will be repeating her fury on four other occasions at times as random as Clara’s dinner breaks—July15 @ 5 pm, July 17 @ 6pm, July 23 @ 9pm, and July 26 @noon. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased through the Festival Box Office at 866.811.4111. Check the website at for more information.

When Sanctuary Theatre first produced van Itallie’s “Bag Lady” in 1986, Washington, DC, was a city in decay. The downtown was uninhabited after dark: murder and crack cocaine formed everyday vignettes on the evening news. The play, with its prophetic, apocalyptic Clara, seemed oddly right for a metropolis stuck in neutral, headed toward the infamous title of “Murder Capital of the World” and an arrest of its Mayor on drug charges. And indeed, the production, which included on its bill an equally edgy “The Orgy” by Columbian playwright Enrique Buenaventura, received rave reviews and garnered full houses.

In reviving the show, Director Michael Oliver says: “Washington looks a lot fancier these days, and the downtown literally teems with consumers every night. The reality of a dirty bomb, however, and an astronomical national deficit puts new meaning into Clara’s prophecies that the city will be over. Though seemingly delusional, Clara’s truth is frequently not what it seems.”

Van Itallie’s Clara demonstrates a wonderful mixture of humor and belligerence as she navigates through the world of New York City, using nothing but her wits and her fantastic memories. Van Itallie has called her “the quintessential urbanite.”

Constructing the sound design for “Bag Lady,” an integral part of Clara’s world, is Media Artist/DJ Francisco Rosario, whose credits include PBS Frontline, Bill Moyers Specials, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, The Anacostia Museum, the Associated Press, Levine School of Music, CentroNía and U Street’s State of the Union, as well as Sanctuary Theatre’s 2007 production of “The Fate of a Cockroach” by Egyptian playwright Tewfik al-Hakim. The production also features the original composition created for Sanctuary’s first production by the late Rajan Bery, a promising young composer tragically murdered in Washington, DC, in 1991.