University of Pittsburgh
January 18, 2006

Pitt Repertory Theatre Stages Regional Premiere of Tales of the Lost Formicans Feb. 8-19

Pitt Repertory Theatre Stages Regional Premiere of Tales of the Lost Formicans Feb. 8-19

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre's 2005-06 season of memory plays continues with the Pittsburgh premiere of Constance Congdon's Tales of the Lost Formicans. The production runs Feb. 8-19 in the Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, at Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland. The playwright will attend the opening night performance Feb. 8 and will take part in the Memory Speaks! Lecture Series

Feb. 9. Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, call 412-624-7529 or visit


Directed by visiting director Robert C.T. Steele, Tales of the Lost Formicans will shed comic light on the power of memory, this season's theme. According to Steele, "It was very difficult to find a memory play that was comedic. And that's easy to understand. This play manages both. It has serious issues-a dysfunctional family, Alzheimer's disease-but it also has these terribly humorous moments as well, moments where, if you're not laughing, you're crying."

The production is a dark comedy that combines realism, nonrealism, fantasy, and dream. Tales of the Lost Formicans follows three generations of the McKissick family as they deal with a collective, postmodern American nervous breakdown. This tale of loss and the human spirit is seen through the viewpoint of aliens who are objectively analyzing the human race but, just like humans, they usually get things wrong. The aliens are able to rewind, rearrange, and influence scenes in a very detached scientific way; however, they cannot objectively analyze the human spirit. The production will feature an eight-member ensemble cast of Pitt undergraduate and graduate students, who also will portray the visiting aliens.

In addition to directing and designing extensively throughout Pittsburgh, Steele has directing credits at Pitt Rep, including And Baby Makes Seven and Moby Dick Rehearsed. He designed the set and costumes for Pitt Rep's 2004 production of Twelfth Night.

Playwright Constance Congdon, along with Steven DeKosky, chair of Pitt's Department of Neurology and director of its Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, will deliver a free Memory Speaks! lecture titled "Alzheimer and Lost Moments," from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Charity Randall Theatre.

Congdon, a playwright in residence at Amherst College, has written more than 30 plays since 1976. They have been staged in England, Finland, Russia, and the United States. Casanova, Dog Opera, The Automata Pietá, No Mercy, So Far, and eight plays for children are among her accomplishments. Tales of the Lost Formicans and Other Plays, a collection of her major works, was published by Theatre Communications Group in 1994.