When Pridamant, hopes to discover the whereabouts of his long-lost son, he visits Alcandre the magician, who shows him more than he ever wanted to know. That's the premise of Pierre Corneille's 1636 classic, L'Illusion Comique, which has become quite popular on regional stages (Off Broadway as well) because it was adapted in 1988 by Tony Kushner.
Kushner's version, The Illusion, recently ran at the Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, and is now playing at the Arizona Theatre Company, opening March 7 and running to March 22 at the Temple of Music & Art on Scott Avenue.
"The Illusion is one of the finest contemporary versions of a classic imaginable. It is a delicious feast of language, idea and image," says production director and artistic director David Ira Goldstein. "It is also a true centerpiece to our 30th season, as all the actors and designers...have played a party in ATC's history.
Appearing in The Illusion at ATC are Suzanne Bouchard, Raymond Chapman, David Ellenstein, Francis Jue, James. J. Lawless, Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran Terri McMahon, Robert Nadir and Ken Ruta. Jeff Thomson, head of theatre design at Arizona State Univesrity, has created the set. This will be the 29th ATC production for costumer David Kay Mickelsen, while lighting designer Rick Paulsen returns to ATC for his sixth season. Incidental music will be provided by Hiram Titus.
17th century author Corneille is best known for his 1637 The Cid. Twentieth century author Kushner is best known for Angels In America: Millennium Approaches and Angels In America: Perestroika. For tickets ($18-$27) and information on Arizona Theatre Company's The Illusion, which begins previews March 1, call (520) 622-2823. Post-performance discussions with cast and staff members will be held March 11, 12 & 19.
Like all ATC shows, The Illusion will also come to Phoenix's Herberger Theatre Center on East Monroe St. It will preview March 28, open March 29 and run to April 12.
--By David Lefkowitz