West Coast premieres of some of the most steller New York productions of the past two years highlight the 30th anniversary season of the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, starting Sept. 8.
The season includes Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney, Emily Mann's Having Our Say and Athol Fugard's Valley Song.
Titles have not yet been announced for the Taper's festival of new plays series.
Artistic Director Gordon Davidson said in a published statement, "One of the things of which I'm most proud is the home we've provided over the years for some of the great contemporary playwrights," continues Davidson. "Our 30th Anniversary Season, with its line-up of national and international plays, reflects the strength of these relationships. We're honored to welcome back old friends like Tom Stoppard, Brian Friel, Athol Fugard and Emily Mann, and greet new ones like Leslie Ayvazian, and the writers whom we will present in our 30th Anniversary Festival next spring with the proud return of our New Theatre For Now program. All these friends, old and new, best reflect our past and our future, and make our 30th season truly celebratory."
Here is the schedule: * Arcadia by Tom Stoppard (Sept. 8-Oct. 27). A mystery is solved as the play jumps back and forth from the 1800s to the present. Arcadia was first produced in 1994 at the Royal National Theatre in London and then moved to the West End. In March 1995 it had its American premiere at the Lincoln Center Theater.
* Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel (Nov. 3-Dec. 22). The tale of an intelligent and independent woman who, blind since the age of 10 months, regains her sight after an operation. But Molly's entry into a world of vision exiles her from the world she knows and the sensual experiences from which she derived so much pleasure and comfort. Winner of the 1995-96 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play, the 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play.
Molly Sweeney was first produced in Dublin in 1994 and had its American premiere off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company in early 1996.
* Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters; First 100 Years adapted by Emily Mann from the autobiography of Sadie and Bessie Delany. (Jan. 5-Feb. 23, 1997). Sadie, who was born in 1889, and Bessie, who was born two years later (and passed away in September 1995), were daughters of a minister born of slavery and a brilliant woman of mixed ancestry. The sisters' story begins in the post-Reconstruction South and progresses through the rise of Jim Crow laws, two world wars, the triumph of black culture during the Harlem Renaissance, the civil and women's rights movements, and finally to the 1990s where "things have kind of slid downhill as far as equality is concerned. "
Mann directed Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" in its world premiere at the Taper in 1993, and who wrote and directed "Still Life" in the Taper's 1981-82 New Theatre For Now festival.
Having Our Say premiered at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton in February 1995 and was subsequently produced by Camille O. Cosby and Judith Rutherford James on Broadway in April 1995.
* Valley Song by Athol Fugard (March 2-April 26, 1997). Set in the Karoo, the semi-desert region in the heart of South Africa, "Valley Song" follows the story of an old tenant farmer, Abraam Jonkers, and his beloved and restless 17-year-old granddaughter, Veronica.
Interweaving the personal with the political, Fugard describes an emerging generation gap as a new democratic nation takes root and change is happening everywhere. For Veronica, who dreams of leaving her village in order to pursue a career as a singer, the future is inviting. But for her grandfather, there's comfort in the old ways, even when the old existed under a racist law, and it's hard to face the uncertainty of the new, especially when the new means separation and loneliness.
"Valley Song" was first produced in Johannesburg in August 1995, had its American premiere at the McCarter Theatre in November 1995 and moved off-Broadway to the Manhattan Theatre Club in December 1995.
* 30th Anniversary Festival -- A festival of new plays, titles TBA. (April 27- June 29).
* Nine Armenians by Leslie Ayvazian (July 13-Aug. 31). Directed by Gordon Davidson. The story of three generations of an Armenian family who fled genocide and came to America to establish a new life.
Leslie Ayvazian was awarded in 1995 the Roger L. Stevens Award for Promising Playwrights. Nine Armenians had its world premiere at Intiman Theatre in Seattle in August 1995.
Tickets for the Taper's 30th Anniversary Season are available on subscription only: (213) 972-0700.