Downtown NY theatre staple David Greenspan took a trip Uptown this winter to star in Primary Stages' latest offering, High Life , a play by Canadian Lee MacDougall, which began performances Jan. 12, opened Jan. 27 and ends its scheduled run Feb. 14.
Reviews have been generally strong for the piece and for Greenspan, so although the run wasn't extended (Primary Stages has a set season, with Turn of the Screw due to start March 10), apparently there are talks to give High Life a second life in New York. A Primary Stages box office spokesperson (reached Feb. 12) mentioned there have been preliminary discussions but could give no specific details; a spokesperson for the show itself at the Tony Origlio office (also reached Feb. 12), had not heard of any plans for a re-mount.
High Life has been called "the `Reservoir Dogs' of Canadian theatre." In it, three ex-cons and one new recruit plot to knock over a series of bank ATM machines. Of course, when you're dealing with a hypochondriac, a psychotic and a hustler, no fail-safe plan goes unfoiled.
David Greenspan leads a cast which features John Bedford Lloyd, Matthew Mabe and Isiah Whitlock. An actor, director and playwright, Greenspan won an Obie Award for his performances in the Off-Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band . He also appeared in Richard Foreman's recent Benita Canova . Casey Childs directs High Life.
* Upcoming at Primary Stages:
The Turn of the Screw, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the eerie and ambiguous Henry James novella and directed by Melia Bensussen, fills the next Primary Stages slot, (Mar. 10-Apr. 16, 1999). James' story tells of a young governess haunted by demons -- who may just be in her own head.
Conor McPherson, whose St. Nicholas put Brian Cox in award competition last season, will return to Primary Stages in late spring with a new work, This Lime Tree Bower (May 5-June 6, 1999). in which three young men give conflicting accounts of an unlikely weekend in a small, tawdry Irish seaside resort.
A new play by David Ives, whose Mere Mortals and All in the Timing went into open-ended runs from their Primary Stages debuts, is also under consideration, as is a solo show "in the tradition of" St. Nicholas and Virgins & Other Myths.
Now in its 14th season, Primary Stages is headed by artistic director Casey Childs. The company recently received three major grants -- from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and New American Writers Group -- to help nurture new playwrights.
For tickets ($30-$35) and information on shows at Primary Stages, call (212) 333-7471.
-- By Robert Simonson