The American premiere of Tom Stoppard's The Invention Of Love at American Conservatory Theatre's (A.C.T.) Geary Theatre in San Francisco opens Jan. 14. James Cromwell stars in the production. Preview performances began Jan. 6 and the show runs through Feb. 13.
A.C.T.'s artistic director, Carey Perloff, who has developed a close professional relationship with playwright Stoppard and has produced many of his works, directs the A.C.T.production of The Invention of Love. Production sources describe Stoppard as being quite familiar with the A.C.T. audience. The playwright will be in residence for the next few days but is expected to leave soon after the opening.
Stoppard's story deals with the conflict between "passions of the mind and desires of the heart" in a dream play portrayal of the life of English poet A. E. Housman. The story involves Housman's unrequited love for his Oxford classmate Moses Jackson.
On Jan. 11, Stoppard and Perloff participated in a 45-minute discussion and question-answer session with the theatre audience prior to that evening's preview performance. Topics of conversation included why Stoppard choose to write about Houseman, the issue of homosexuality and its focus in the piece and the arc of maturation in the playwright's body of work.
Actor James Cromwell stars in the show. Cromwell is familiar to audiences through his work in the film "L.A. Confidential," based on the novel by James Ellroy, as well as numerous stage roles in regional theatre productions of Hamlet, The Iceman Cometh, The Devil's Disciple, All's Well That Ends Well and Beckett, to name a few. His other films include “Babe” and the current “The Green Mile” and "Snow Falling on Cedars." Also featured in the cast are Jason Butler Harner, Marco Barricelli, Steven Anthony Jones, Ken Ruta, Garret Dillahunt, Gord Rand, Matthew Boston, Charles Dean, W. Francis Walters, Michael Santo, Lorri Holt and Brian Keith Russell.
No plans have been announced in connection with moving the A.C.T. play to New York, but next month, coincidentally, Philadelphia's Wilma Theatre will present the "east coast premiere" of The Invention of Love beginning Feb. 16. The Philadelphia run goes through March 12. San Francisco sources said the A.C.T. Production is locked into its closing date of Feb. 13 in order to make way for the next show there.
A.C.T. staged another American premiere of a Stoppard play, Indian Ink, last season.
The production team for The Invention of Love includes set designer Loy Arcenas, costume designer Deborah Dryden, lighting designer James F. Ingalls, original music by Michael Roth and sound design by Garth Hemphill.
Tickets for the show are available through the Geary box office at 405 Geary Street, San Francisco. Call (415) 749-2228 or visit www.act sfbay.org. Special discounts are available.