Show Synopses and Spoilers
READ WITH CAUTION! The following are full descriptions of each of our Season 13 mainstage shows. We at BETC recognize that not everyone likes to be surprised, and we acknowledge that some may be negatively triggered by certain conversations, themes, or actions. Therefore, we are providing comprehensive synopses of each play.
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On an indoor soccer field somewhere in suburban America, nine high school girls in uniform stretch in a circle on the Astroturf. We know them by their numbers, not their names. As they warm up, their fast-moving, foul-mouthed conversations pull no punches. These young women cover ground from menstrual cycles to the Khmer Rouge, from abortions to inappropriate use of the word “retarded,” from Lord of the Rings to U.S. immigration policy. Bonding over orange slices and selfies gets them amped for their games, but a loss to the Fusion starts pulling the team apart. With each passing week, the pre-game drills get more intense, the penalties get bigger, and the college scouts lurking around their matches point toward an uncertain future. Through cold and Storm, injuries and deeply personal insults, these fierce young women persevere. But the sudden death of a player may mean the team has met its match at last. Please note: The Wolves contains mature language, profanities, and adult content; viewer discretion is advised.
It’s December 1815, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are preparing Pemberley for the Christmas holidays and the arrival of their families, even bringing a new holiday tradition of a Christmas tree into their drawing room.
As the sole remaining unmarried Bennet sister at home, Mary Bennet reads much, and travels little. Her letters to her sister Elizabeth betray her loneliness. So Elizabeth invites her to visit, and she makes plans to travel with their quite-pregnant sister Jane and her husband Mr. Bingley. On Mr. Darcy’s side of the family, his aunt Catherine de Bourgh has recently died, and so he invites his cousins, Arthur and Anne de Bourgh, to Pemberley for the holiday as well.
Jane, Bingley, and Mary arrive a few days before Christmas. Mary’s conversation with her sisters shows a great love of facts, but an occasional want of tact and empathy toward others. Her sister Lydia’s unhappy marriage is the subject of the sisters’ gossip, as Mary expresses her general dissatisfaction with the institution of marriage and her own despair at ever finding a man of merit to marry.
December 23 brings the arrival of Arthur de Bourgh, who exchanges maps and observations with Mary upon his arrival. Hot on his heels arrives Lydia, unhappy in her own marriage with the absent Mr. Wickham, who tries to monopolize Lord de Bourgh with flirtation and conversation. Arthur would rather converse with Mary, however, which brings about some awkward family moments.
Lydia leaves a note for Arthur in what she believes is his book, but is actually Mary’s. When Mary discovers the note, it emboldens her to continue conversing with Arthur about biology. Arthur, ever more smitten, turns to Bingley and Darcy for advice, then writes a letter to Mary on their advising. She writes to him as well, in response to what she believes to be his earlier note. Lydia discovers Arthur’s drafted note and confusion ensues about for whom it was intended, but before Arthur can clear it up, Anne de Bourgh arrives, revealing she is Arthur’s fiancé.
Arthur is too soft-spoken at first to deny he is engaged to Anne, although he never proposed to her. Darcy soon informs him that he is not obligated to marry Anne because of Lady Catherine’s wish, simply in order to keep the Rosings estate. He is Rosings’ true heir, and may marry as he wishes. While Lizzy and Jane intercede with Arthur, Darcy and Bingley summon Mary. Arthur expresses his true intentions toward Mary, and she returns his affection. Christmas Day arrives with the announcement of their engagement, and the arrival of the rest of the Bennet family to join in the celebration of their love.
It’s another day at work in the art museum for Jonny, but Henry never gets tired of looking at the Rembrandt on exhibit. The two guards get along well; Jonny asks Henry over for dinner, but Henry’s husband Simon has Stage Four cancer, and they’re not really up to socializing. As the museum opens to the public, Madeline, a copyist, arrives to study the Rembrandt on display—Aristotle with a Bust of Homer–for a class she’s taking. Jonny welcomes her to the museum a little overeagerly, and Henry learns she is grieving a loss. As Madeline settles in to copy, a new guard, Dodger, arrives on shift for his first day. Henry begins to train Dodger on his position duties, but as soon as Henry leaves the room, Madeline soon learns that Dodger’s techniques for Protecting the Art are more than a little unorthodox. She feels a little light-headed, and Henry comes to her assistance while Dodger goes for Jonny and the museum incident forms. On his return, the three of them all decide to touch the painting, in spite of Jonny’s warnings, and to see what happens when they become part of the Great Chain of Being.
Rembrandt receives a commission from his patron Ruffo to paint a philosopher. He’s far from thrilled by the commission, but his partner Henny gently convinces him to return to the canvas, so they can earn the fee to care for their two children. She’s sent his son Titus on an errand, and he returns with the charcoal Rembrandt needs to work. Titus mixes pigments for Rembrandt while the artist tells him a bit about Homer, since he’s painting a bust of the great poet. Unimpressed, Titus comes to see his father’s work in progress, touching the canvas, angry that his aging father is going to die. Rembrandt soothes him by reminding him of the beautiful things that surround them in life, and that such things—like his paintings, like Asian pottery, like Homer’s poetry—outlast the length of a human lifespan.
Homer, arguing with an unseen crowd, demands that his poetry not be written down, as it was meant to be heard. He reflects on the difficulties of truly seeing other human beings as they are, and just as we seem to be getting good at it, we die. He’s excited by the idea of death, though—all the things we will finally get to FIND OUT—and imagines himself climbing a long golden chain into Heaven, to meet the gods at last. . .
Back at Henry’s apartment, as he arrives to find his partner Simon sleeping, Henry checks in with the hospice nurse Martin on his way off shift for the day. Simon’s not well, but hasn’t let go of his love for pistachio pudding. Henry knows this, and surprises him by remembering. As Simon eats, Henry tells him about touching the painting, and getting fired, and the feeling of touching something that would only be made once, in all of time. As Simon slips away into sleep, Henry caresses his head, ready to be present for the inevitable.
When Christopher discovers Mrs. Shears’ dog Wellington lying dead with a pitchfork in his side, he decides to pursue inquiries into Wellington’s murder, although his father expressly forbids him to do so. Christopher’s mother is dead, so he doesn’t have to ask her permission, but he does tell his teacher Siobhan that he plans to investigate the crime. She suggests it might not be a good idea, but he begins to interview the neighbors anyway.
Mrs. Shears warns him she’ll call the police, Mr. Thompson warns him about asking too many questions, and Mrs. Alexander invites him in for tea and cake, which he politely refuses. After his initial inquiries, he decides to make Mr. Shears “Prime Suspect” since it is clear he does not get along with Mrs. Shears. Then his father, Ed, finds out that he’s investigating and makes Christopher promise to stop bothering the neighbors.
Christopher can still have tea, though, and in conversation with Mrs. Alexander he learns that his father has good reason not to like Mr. Shears: He and Christopher’s mother once had an affair. When he reveals this to Siobhan, she asks him about his mother, and he finds in his notebook a distant memory of a conversation with his mother where she asked him to join her in a new life. He’s confused by this, and he and his father get into an argument that ends with Ed hitting him, then taking away his detective notebook and storming away to cool down.
While his father is gone the next day, Christopher searches for his notebook and finds it in a box of letters from his mother. She isn’t dead after all; she moved away to London to start a new life with Mr. Shears. This devastates Christopher, and Ed can’t explain to his satisfaction, so he decides to use the address on the letters to track down his mother in London.
Christopher runs away from his father’s house with an ATM card for which he’s memorized the PIN, and buys a ticket for London at the train station. He is accosted by a policeman, who tells him his father is at the police station looking for him, but he manages to slip away from him and hide until reaching Paddington Station. After rescuing his pet rat Toby from almost certain death, the other passengers help him to board the next train to the stop near his mother’s house. Eventually, his mother Judy discovers him outside her flat, and comforts him.
When Ed arrives to take Christopher back home, a furious argument ensues, and a policeman escorts Ed from Judy’s house. But Mr. Shears—Roger–doesn’t want Christopher to stay with them either, and Christopher wants to sit for his A level math exams as planned, which means he has to return to Swindon. When an angry Roger grabs at Christopher, Judy takes him and returns to Swindon. She begins to make plans for her and Christopher to get their own flat together, and Christopher successfully completes his A-level exams. Ed and Christopher gradually make peace, and he gets a new dog of his own.