Mind your language. Playwright David Mamet, famous for his characters' foul mouths, has gone Victorian in his latest play, Boston Marriage, which begins its New York premiere at The Public Theater's Martinson Hall space on Nov. 5. Karen Kohlhaas directs the work, which opens on Nov. 20 for a run through Dec. 8.
Kate Burton and Martha Plimpton—two of the many Hedda Gablers that dotted America last season— will star.
Kate Burton replaced "Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall, who was announced in ads and then withdrew from the project. Burton, who plays Anna, won two Tony nominations last spring, for The Elephant Man and Hedda Gabler. Her other credits include Give Me Your Answer, Do!, Jake's Women and Some Americans Abroad.
Martha Plimpton, who takes the role of Claire, earned solid reviews in last season's Atlantic Theatre Company production of Hobson's Choice. Much of her stage work has been seen in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble member, and where she acted in Hedda Gabler. That performance was favorably compared by some to Kate Burton's Huntington-to-Broadway turn.
Arden Myrin takes the third and final role of Catherine, the maid. Myrin acted at the Public a decade ago in Pericles, a Michael Greif staging that also featured Plimpton. Myrin and Plimpton also worked together on Hobson's Choice and Playboy of the Western World. Boston Marriage, which had its 1999 U.S. debut in Boston (appropriately), is an odd departure for man's man Mamet. The play is about the prickly and arch relationship between two Victorian era women, Clare and Anna, who live together in the early 1900s. "Boston Marriage" was a Victorian euphemism for a lesbian relationship.
Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, starred in the Boston staging.
The London cast of the play featured Zoë Wanamaker, Anna Chancellor and Lyndsey Marshal.
The design team includes Walt Spangler (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes) and Robert Perry (lighting).
The Public is located at 425 Lafayette Street (on Astor Place). For information, call (212) 239-6200.
—By Robert Simonson