The Washington Stage Guild will finish the run of its season opener, The Confidential Clerk by T.S. Eliot, Nov. 14. The farcical comedy began performances Oct. 14 and officially opened Oct. 16.
Bill Largess directs John Dow as Sir Claude Mulhammer who hopes that his eccentric wife, Lady Elizabeth (Barbara Rappaport) will adopt the grown son she never knew he had. He hires young Colby Simpkins (Jason Gilbert) as his confidential clerk, without taking into consideration Colby's musical aspirations. Eliot's graceful verse and wit give Sir Claude's plans an effervescent twist, as the characters struggle to find their identities and fulfill their desires. Tricia McCauley appears as Lucasta Angel, who can't hold down a job, Brian McMonagle as her fiancee, B. Kaghan, Vincent Clark as Eggerson, the older and wiser confidential clerk, and Laura Giannarelli as Mrs. Guzzard, who has the answers.
Sets are designed by David Ghatan, lighting by Resident Designer Marianne Meadows, sound by Brian D. Keating, and costumes by Helen Hayes Award winner, William Pucilowsky.
Director Largess moves to the other side of the curtain for the Guild's next show, Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas. Largess stars in the solo as a theatre critic who begins to enjoy a vampiric nightlife. Performances begin Dec. 11 for the comedy-drama, staged by producing artistic director John MacDonald. A two-hander will then follow at the Guild, Feb. 12-March 7, 2000: Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, which has yet to be cast. The two-character drama concerns a wisecracking, self styled "Broadway swell" (a character partially based on his brother, Jamie), more alive in his stories and memories than in his real world.
The 1999-2000 season will also include Too True to Be Good by George Bernard Shaw (March 23-April 23, 2000), directed by producing artistic director MacDonald. The 20th century gets a rousing send-off in this loony work that starts out with a monologue by "The Monster," alias the German Measles virus. According to Executive Director Ann Norton, the Guild is deeming this their "Phoenix Season." After producing for 13 years in a building on G Street owned by the Archdiocese of Washington, the Guild lost their home when church leaders decided to convert the space into a headquarters for Catholic Charities. While seeking a permanent venue, they are renting space in the recently-renovated Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. "Each of our shows this season will offer a view into the process of moving past difficulty and carrying on with one's life," said Norton.
The Stage Guild, whose mission includes producing lesser-known plays by major playwrights and revivals of neglected classics, previously produced Eliot's The Cocktail Party and Murder in the Cathedral. The Confidential Clerk was first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in 1953.
For ticket information, call (202) 529-2084.
-- by Barbara Gross & David Lefkowitz