After starring in Off-Broadway's The Director since the beginning of the year, John Shea left the show June 17. Two days later, Phillip Clark takes over the lead role of an experimental theatre director whose exercises and games begin crossing the line into psychic warfare.
The show remains in an open run at the ArcLight Theatre on the Upper West Side. The producers had been considering moving to a larger commercial house Off Broadway, but for the moment, they're staying where they are. "A move doesn't make sense to even think about until the fall," Director director Evan Bergman told Playbill On-Line (May 26). "Nothing is available that's suitable to us."
Bergman added that although star John Shea would exit the production June 17, the rest of the cast would stay put. Shea is also likely to return for any commercial move of the show.
Clark's regional credits include performing at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Mark Taper Forum. He starred in the original workshop of The Director.
Nancy Hasty's play -- which asks, When do intense, psychological theatre techniques become dangerous mind games? -- opened to mostly good reviews on Feb. 1. The show's plot has a forgotten experimental director - one trained by Grotowski himself -- working as a janitor by day because his reputation as a theatre maniac has driven off nearly everyone who ever worked with him. Still, a young woman brings him an intensely autobiographical drama, and he can't resist taking on the project. The theatre games begin almost immediately, with issues of trust, fear and humiliation overshadowing rehearsals of the play itself. Shea was last seen Off Broadway in How I Learned to Drive. Co starring in The Director are Tasha Lawrence, Todd Simmons, Shula Van Buren, Tanya Clarke and Warren Press. Laine Valentino is producing the drama, which features sets by John Farrell, lighting by Steve Rust and costumes by Jill Kliber.
For tickets ($35) and information on The Director at the Arclight Theatre, 152 West 71st Street, call (212) 279-4200.
--By David Lefkowitz