Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner opened its Florida premiere Jan. 11 at the Gorilla Theatre in Tampa. David Shapiro, who starred in the American premiere of the show at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, directs and performs in this production, which is set to close Jan. 27.
Wallace Shawn, known for his film work in "The Princess Bride," "Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street" and "Clueless," as well as his voice work in as Rex in "Toy Story," penned this play set in a fictitious future where art and culture are being destroyed and intellectuals are rounded up for execution. Shawn's other plays include Aunt Dan and Lemon and The Fever. He also penned the screenplay and starred in "My Dinner with Andre."
The play premiered at England's Royal National Theatre in 1996 starring Mike Nichols and Miranda Richardson. It then opened in Chicago in 1997. And just last summer, it enjoyed an Off-Off-Broadway run at South William Street, with Shawn and Larry Pine starring under Andre Gregory's direction.
Shapiro reprised his role of Jack for the Gorilla Theatre production. He also directed his cast members Claude Dorge and Martine Frieson.
For tickets to Mourner at the Gorilla, 4419 N. Hubert Ave. in Drew Park, call (813) 879-2914. For more information on this and other shows at Gorilla, visit www.gorilla theatre.com. — by Ernio Hernandez