The Washington Stage Guild will open their 14th season with The Confidential Clerk by T.S. Eliot, Oct. 14-Nov. 14, with press night Oct. 16.
According to Executive Director Ann Norton, the Guild is deeming this their "Phoenix Season." After producing for 13 years in a building on G Street owned by the Archdiocese of Washington, the Guild lost their home when church leaders decided to convert the space into a headquarters for Catholic Charities. While seeking a permanent venue, they are renting space in the recently-renovated Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. "Each of our shows this season will offer a view into the process of moving past difficulty and carrying on with one's life," said Norton.
In Eliot's farce, Bill Largess will direct John Dow as Sir Claude Mulhammer who hopes that his eccentric wife, Lady Elizabeth (Barbara Rappaport) will adopt the grown son she never knew he had. He hires young Colby Simpkins (Jason Gilbert) as his confidential clerk, without taking into consideration Colby's musical aspirations. Eliot's graceful verse and wit give Sir Claude's plans an effervescent twist, as the characters struggle to find their identities and fulfill their desires. Tricia McCauley appears as Lucasta Angel, who can't hold down a job, Brian McMonagle as her fiancee, B. Kaghan, Vincent Clark as Eggerson, the older and wiser confidential clerk, and Laura Giannarelli as Mrs. Guzzard, who has the answers.
Sets are designed by David Ghatan, lighting by Resident Designer Marianne Meadows, sound by Brian D. Keating, and costumes by Helen Hayes Award winner, William Pucilowsky.
The Stage Guild, whose mission includes producing lesser-known plays by major playwrights and revivals of neglected classics, previously produced Eliot's The Cocktail Party and Murder in the Cathedral. The Confidential Clerk was first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in 1953. For ticket information, call (202) 529-2084.
The 1999-2000 season will also include:
Too True to Be Good by George Bernard Shaw (March 23-April 23, 2000), directed by producing artistic director John MacDonald. The 20th century gets a rousing send-off in this loony work that starts out with a monologue by "The Monster," alias the German Measles virus.
In addition to the abbreviated Main Stage season, the Washington Stage Guild will join Source Theatre Company in producing two "Off-Night" plays. Up first: St. Nicholas by Conor McPherson (Dec. 11, 1999-Jan. 4, 2000), directed by MacDonald, featuring Bill Largess, who understudied Athol Fugard in The Captain's Tiger at the Kennedy Center and the Manhattan Theater Club. A jaded theatre critic encounters a vampiric nightlife in this one-man show by the author of The Weir, who directed the off-Broadway production of St. Nicholas at Primary Stages.
Arriving Feb. 12-March 7, 2000 is Hughie by Eugene O'Neill, directed by MacDonald. The two-character drama concerns a wisecracking, self styled "Broadway swell" (a character partially based on his brother, Jamie), more alive in his stories and memories than in his real world.
For further information, call (202) 529-2084.
-- by Barbara Gross