Among the New York City theatres hardest hit by Sept. 11 was The Bat Theatre Company, located on White Street in Tribeca, just blocks from Ground Zero. When the city closed off Manhattan south of 14th Street for several days, audiences were kept from the Bat. And since reopening, the theatre, run by artistic director Jim Simpson, has found it tough mustering the full houses to which it is accustomed.
Well, the Bat should have no trouble attracted ticket-buyers for its next offering: a new play called The Guys starring Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray. The production, still being pieced together, will begin on an unspecified date in mid-December. Simpson will direct.
The Guys will address a topic well known to Simpson, Weaver (Simpson's wife) and the staff at the Bat: the events of and following Sept. 11. The identity of the playwright is, for now, a mystery. A spokesperson for the Bat would not name the scribe, saying only that the writer is a woman Simpson and Weaver encountered after the terrorist attacks and that the play was written in the weeks that followed.
Weaver has stepped forward in recent weeks as a spokesperson of sorts for the Bat. She last appeared on stage in Christopher Durang's short-lived Sex and Longing on Broadway. Murray is the world famous comic star of such films as "Meatballs," "Stripes," "Scrooged," and "Tootsie." In recent years, he has been applauded as a serious actor for his character work in "Hamlet," "Groundhog Day" and "Rushmore." Weaver and Murray worked together in "Ghostbusters."
Simpson has directed such plays as Demonology, Him, Baal and a goodly number of Mac Wellman plays, including the recent Cleveland. He founded the Bat in the mid-80s with Wellman and a few others. Past Bat productions include Benten Kozo, Bedfellows, Karen Finley's The Return of the Chocolate-Smeared Woman and Sincerity Forever. The Bat has two spaces: a flexible ground floor theatre, and a recently opened, smaller basement space, which typically houses edgy, late night fare. The Guys will be staged in the larger venue.
Ticket information and specific dates and times were not available at press time.
—By Robert Simonson