New Rep Presents the Boston Premiere
of Doug Wright's Scandalous “Quills”

New Rep continues its season of controversial, thought-provoking theatre with the Boston premiere of “Quills.” Written by Doug Wright who recently received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Quills” explores the life of one of France's most infamous historical figures, the Marquis de Sade.

Rick Lombardo directs the production starring Austin Pendleton as the Marquis; Mr.Pendleton returns to New Rep's stage after his critically acclaimed performance in “Waiting for Godot.” Quills begins performances on January 5, 2005.

Written in Doug Wright's sensuous and extravagant style, “Quills” explodes the debate over freedom of speech and the artist's role in society.

Set in 1807, “Quills” chronicles the Marquis de Sade's final days in the Charenton Asylum, where he is imprisoned for the authorship of pornographic novels. Charged with the task of censoring the Marquis's increasingly titillating writing, the Abbe de Coulmier (Benjamin Evett) deprives the Marquis of pen and paper, instigating a struggle that leads both men to the brink of madness.

As the Marquis perseveres in his writing - despite the increasingly violent punishments devised by his keepers - the play calls into question many of our accepted values: the right of the artist to speak freely, the distinction between art and pornography, and the very definition of sanity.

"This is a play that is so scandalous, and so edgy," explains Lombardo, "that there was a time when it would have been banned in Boston. It's hilariously funny, yet it's performed in such a heightened, visceral manner that it forces us to confront the central conflict of the play: do we support unfettered artistic expression, even when it makes us uncomfortable?"

Doug Wright conceived “Quills” in the style of Grand Guignol theatre, and to re-create that theatrical world, New Rep has assembled a powerhouse team of actors and designers.

Joining Austin Pendleton and Benjamin Evett will be Steven Barkhimer and Rachel Harker, along with Marianna Bassham and Kevin Landis.

For information and tickets, call 617-332-1646 or visit

-- OnStage Boston



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