Far East, A.R. Gurney's Lincoln Center hit about a young naval officer falling in love in 1950's Japan, will get a Japanese influenced staging at Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre, July 4-22.
Director Victoria Holloway will accentuate the eastern theatre elements emphasized in Gurney's script including techniques from the Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki forms. Like Noh, there will be minimal scenery; like Bunraku, there is a Reader who acts as a narrator and the voices of some characters; like Kabuki, wooden clappers will be used to mark breaks between scenes and mood, underlining important moments in the play.
Far East, set during the United States still tentative relations with Japan after World War II, follows U.S. officer "Sparky" Watts as he vacillates between his commanding officer (Geoff Pierson), his commanding officer's wife (Zimbalist) and the Japanese woman he loves. The drama received its debut at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in 1998. Other plays by Gurney include Love Letters, Sylvia and The Cocktail Hour.
The cast features Constance Boardman (Reader), Jason Deppen (Stagehand), Alvon Griffin (Percussionist), Eliza Foss (Julia), Jason Kuykendall (Sparky), Scott Reeves (Bob), Doug Rugala (Stagehand) and Jeff Sugarman (Anderson).
Designing Far East are Eric Craft (sets), Jeffrey E. Salzberg (lighting) and Marcella Beckwith (costumes). Jennifer L. Boris is production stage manager. -- By Christine Ehren