Last year Washington D.C.'s Studio Theatre embarked on a two-year, "Millennium Project," with plans on producing ten plays in its subscription season -- with one play for every decade of the Twentieth Century. This season continues that project with Indian Ink, Blue Heart, Master Harold...and the Boys, Betrayal, and Sideman.
The East Coast premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink will kick off the 99-00 season, Sept. 8 - Oct. 10. Set between the backdrop of the British Raj in India and modern England & India, a young English poet, Flora Crewe, travels to colonial India on a quest for artistic and spiritual fulfillment. Years later a student attempts to re-construct her adventures there.
Stoppard recently won an Academy Award for his screenplay for "Shakespeare in Love" and is the author of several twentieth century classics: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Travesties, Arcadia, and The Real Thing.
Blue Heart, Nov. 3 - Dec. 5, is made up of Caryl Churchill's Heart's Desire and Blue Kettle. Each play is a exploration of 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. Churchill is one of Britain's top playwrights and the author of : The Skriker, Cloud 9, Vinegar Tom, and Top Girls.
Fugard's Master Harold...and the Boys takes up the next slot in the season, Jan. 5 - Feb. 6. Set in pre-apartheid South Africa, a young white man forms a new bond with his black servants, when they help him emotionally deal with his father's return home. Other plays by Fugard include: Captain's Tiger, Blood Knot, Boesman and Lena, and A Place for Pigs. Betrayal, Harold Pinter's most accessible play, takes the stage next, March 1-April 2. The play begins at the end of an adulterous affair and works its way backwards through time -- the loss of the new found passion, and telling how the affair began. Pinter's Ashes to Ashes is currently running at NY's Gramercy Theatre in a Roundabout production. Other plays include: Birthday Party, Homecoming, Mountain Language, The Dumbwaiter.
Broadway hit and Pulitzer prize nominee, Side Man by Warren Leight, rounds out the Millennium Project, May 10 - June 11. The drama, which has been described by the author as "highly personal and cathartic," takes its title from the nickname given to journeymen musicians who were back-up players for the "star" bandleaders of the era. "Side men" were known to be so desperate for work that they would play with virtually any band that needed them.
Last season's plays in The Project include: Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency, Alfred Uhry's Last Night of Ballyhoo, McDonagh's Beauty Queen of Leenane, and The Desk Set by William Marchant.
In addition to the regular season, The Studio Theater will present two other special events - Angelina Reaux sings through the life and time of composer Kurt Weill in Songs and Deadly Sins, (Nov. 26 - Dec. 19) and Comic Briefs (June 9 - 25) -- where Washington-area personalities will read some of America's best comic prose.
For tickets for any of the D.C. Studio's productions, call (202) 332 3300.
-- By Sean McGrath