The Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO, the city's major professional voice for Off-Broadway-style work, will start its 2000-2001 season with steam heat, offering Paul Vogel's Hot 'n' Throbbing, about the porn industry.
The SPT 5 Equity troupe, known for its less mainstream work, will stage the world premiere of Ron Simonian's Slight Defect, one of seven works in the upcoming subscription. David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries is also on the season, but not part of the subscription.
In Hot 'n' Throbbing, by the author of How I Learned to Drive, a woman who writes scripts for adult films has successfully rationalized her unusual career choice, but begins to recognize the influence of sex and power on domestic abuse when her estranged husband returns to reclaim his family. The staging opens Sept. 1.
Yasmina Reza's Art (opening Oct. 20) offers Kansas City audiences the international hit about a trio of friends undone by an argument over the purchase of a controversial artwork. The translation from the French is by Christopher Hampton.
The rock musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, opens Dec. 1. The hit Off-Broadway tuner by John Cameron Mitchell (book) and songs by Stephen Trask, concerns Berlin diva Hedwig, who shares her music (with her band, The Angry Inch) and story (including the botched sex change operation). Also in December, Unicorn brings back the series, "Off Colors, Off Hours at the Unicorn," presenting David Sedaris' dark and wicked look at the Macy's holiday tradition, The Santaland Diaries, opening Dec. 8, on the Hedwig dark nights. Ron Megee stars.
On January 19, 2001, Unicorn presents the world premiere of Slight Defect, a new play by Ron Simonian (Zone 3, Thanos). The "warped" drama examines a man traumatized by the many fiascos in his pursuit of companionship. "Delving deeply into society's psyche and mining our undeniable desire to belong, Simonian presents the most delicate subject matter in the most explosive possible way," according the season announcement.
Patrick Marber's London and New York hit, Closer, opens March 2, 2001, showing a dark view of relationships, lust and isolation in the cyber age.
Lynn Nottage's Mud, River, Stone, opens April 20, 2001. In the play, an African-American couple from New York City journey to Africa to find relaxation, romance and a deeper connection to their heritage. Their adventure turns comically bizarre, however, when they find themselves, first, lost in the jungle together with a misfit group of international travelers, and then taken hostage by a native African.
The 2000-2001 Unicorn season ends with Christi Stewart Brown's The Gene Pool, opening June 8, 2001. The "raucous comedy" tells the fast, furious tale of a family in chaos. Two women have spent most of their twenty-year partnership raising their teenage son. Already facing one mid-life crisis, one career crisis, and a double dose of "relationship rut," they are now forced to deal with their son's need to meet his biological father.
Subscriptions are available for the Unicorn's 27th season, ranging from $85 to $130.
For information, call (816) 531-PLAY.
-- By Kenneth Jones