Not only has she had to contend with some rather torrid audience participation in her Julia Stiles-led production of David Mamet’s Oleanna, she’s also arranging for another Hollywood star to play the West End, Oscar-winning actress Dianne Wiest. Stiles was heckled during the first and the third preview performances of Oleanna. At the play’s end, when she is threatened by the teacher she has accused of sexual harassment, there is a pause where the teacher (played by Aaron Eckhart) stands over Stiles’ body brandishing a chair. As he contemplated smashing the chair down onto her head, a voice in the audience (on both occasions) shouted, “Do it!” One night the heckler was a man, the other a woman. Stiles, in an interview for Time Magazine, called the experience “just the most traumatic, frightening thing.”
Meanwhile, Wiest is set to appear in Kathleen Tolan’s The Memory House. “It’s about a mother and a daughter and their relationship and ideas about American identity,” Waterhouse told Playbill On-Line. “It’s a two hander, as of course is Oleanna.” The producer, who runs Out Of The Blue Productions with fellow producer Clare Lawrence, saw Wiest in the play at an invitation-only reading at New York’s Lincoln Center. “Dianne was just staggeringly good,” recalls Waterhouse. “I phoned London and said, ‘We’ve got to do this!’”
Wiest, who won Oscars for her roles in two Woody Allen films, “Hannah and her Sisters” and “Bullets Over Broadway," originally wanted to spend her career on the stage, as a ballet dancer. She has, however, regularly acted in the theatre—her last Broadway appearance was in 2003’s Salome alongside Al Pacino and Marisa Tomei.
The Memory House is scheduled for a mid-July opening. No theatre or other casting has yet been named.