The Brooklyn Academy of Music will begin its spring season Jan. 5, 1999 with the New York debut of the critically acclaimed Almeida productions of Racine's Phedre and Britannicus in repertory - both starring Diana Rigg (Medea) and Toby Stephens.
Also being imported from London, is the latest work from playwright Caryl Churchill, a collection of two one-acts entitled, Blue Heart, going to BAM's Majestic Theatre, Jan. 29 - Feb. 20, 1999. Blue Heart is made up of Churchill's Heart's Desire and Blue Kettle. Each explores language, loss and the breakdown of family life.
In Heart's Desire, a mother, father and aunt await the return of the daughter from years abroad. In Blue Kettle, a 40-year-old man cons a series of women into believing he's the son they gave up for adoption. Frequent Churchill collaborator Max Stafford-Clark will direct both pieces.
Churchill achieved international attention in the late seventies with fellow Brit playwrights Edward Bond, Howard Barker and Peter Hedges. Churchill became known for her radical Marxist-based plays including: Cloud 9 and Top Girls. Churchill's The Skriker made its New York debut at The Public in 1996 and marked a change in Churchill's work -- foregoing social theory to create a language-based, Beckett-esque play about British folk tales haunting denizens of the present.
Thrown into this years' BAM mix is a series of "BAMdialogues" with experimental playwright Mac Wellman, who will conduct discussions with other experimental playwrights, dramaturgs and actors. The series started last year during a three-month celebration of the thirty years of Wellman and featured playwrights Erik Ehn, Suzan-Lori Parks, Octavio Solis and David Greenspan. This year's series boasts special guests Oana Hock Cajal (The Almond Seller) and Shawn-Marie Garrett (editorial staff for Yale's "Theater" journal) on Jan. 11, 1999.
Playwright/librettist Ruth Margraff (Electra Fugues, Cry Pitch Carrolls, Wallpaper Psalm) and poet/photographer Tim Davis arrive Jan. 25. Feb. 8, 1999 Wellman sits down with playwright David Hancock (Race of the Arc Tattoo), former literary manager of the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis Elissa Adams, and theatre critic Elinor Fuchs.
A BAM favorite, director Declan Donnellan, will return with the New York debut of his production of Pierre Cornielle's Le Cid, April 6 -11, 1999. Donnellan's actor-driven staging of Much Ado About Nothing received critical acclaim last season.
Film legend Ingmar Bergman will bring his latest production, The Image Makers by Per Olov Enquist, to BAM's Majestic Theatre, June 2 - 6, 1999. Though primarily known for such legendary films "The Seventh Seal," "Smiles of a Summer Night," and "Fanny and Alexander" - Bergman has been directing theatre for more than 60 years.
For tickets or more information for the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Spring season, call (718) 636-4100.
-- By Sean McGrath