Jean Cocteau Repertory planned their 2001-02 season with no knowledge of the turmoil Sept. 11 would bring to the city and country, but the Off- Broadway company ended up making a prescient choice. George Bernard Shaw's evergreen Arms and the Man will begin performances on Dec. 7. Official opening is Dec. 16. Arms is Shaw's buoyant skewering on the hypocrisy and absurdity surrounding warfare and love. The play's central figure is Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary who, in the opening scene, flees the battle by entering the bedroom of Raina, an excitable young lady. The girl happens to be the daughter of one Serbian officer and the fiancee of another—a problem, since Bluntschli, with who she quickly becomes infatuated, is supposed to be fighting the Serbs. Ernest Johns directs.
Arms and the Man was given a major revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company a couple seasons ago. Roger Rees directed the production, which starred Katie Finneran, now collecting laurels in Noises Off.
—By Robert Simonson