Playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie, a former icon of the 60's experimental theatre scene, will star in his latest, War, Sex & Dreams, being presented March 18-April 3, at his longtime New York home, La MaMa. In the autobiographical solo show, van Itallie recalls how he was awakened in the middle of the night by the German invasion of Brussels two weeks before his fourth birthday. A coat was hastily thrown over his pajamas, and he was bundled into the family car, which sped off for the coast with his mother at the wheel. At the same time, van Itallie's father, who was in the Belgian army, escaped by swimming out to the British ships at Dunkirk. The family reunited in France, then fled from Spain to Portugal to the United States.
Van Itallie began improvising War, Sex, and Dreams about two years ago, around the time of his father's death. The production debuted at Los Angeles' center for solo performance, Highways, where it played a sold-out run in January.
One of the original members of La Mama's playwriting group (which also included Sam Shepard and Lanford Wilson), van Itallie became known for his trilogy of one-act plays, America Hurrah. The production was one of the first for Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, where van Itallie became principal playwright. In the 70's, van Itallie became known for his adaptations of Chekhov classics, The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters.
For tickets or more information on War, Sex & Dreams written by and starring Jean-Claude van Itallie, call(212) 475-7710.
-- By Sean McGrath