Manhattan Theatre Club's 2001-2002 season is slowly taking shape, with a new announcement of a play under consideration and further confirmation that Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden will be seen in New York City.
Possible titles were announced to prospective subscribers in April and previously reported. MTC now says that Ayckbourn's linked plays (which run simultaneously, with actors hopping from one theatre to another) will be presented at the end of the 2001-2002 season. The comedies became a sold-out theatrical event in Chicago. Daniel Sullivan (Proof) was previously mentioned to direct in New York.
Bryon Lavery's A Wedding Story is a possible entry in the season. In the "offbeat comedy," Sally's life gets turned upside down by an unexpected love and her mother's quick descent into Alzheimer's. "Sally and her brother Robin must return to the nest and sort out their new roles as caretakers of a fractured family," according to a statement.
Previously mentioned as under consider are Tina Howe's translations of the absurdist classics, The Bald Soprano and The Lesson, by Eugene Ionesco, and Zinnie Harris' Further Than the Furthest Thing, about a remote island visited by an outside culture. Further was previously seen at London's Royal National Theatre. The nonprofit company is expected to offer eight productions. One play in the coming season will be presented at an outside theatre, which is an MTC tradition (King Hedley II is this year's off-site show). No dates or creative teams have been announced yet.
House and Garden was a huge hit earlier this season at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where the stagings became a sold-out theatrical "event." One play is performed in one venue, and, in a maddening timing and logistics feat, the second play is performed simultaneously in another venue. The actors move from one theatre to the next, but the audience stays put and must attend both plays separately. MTC's stage I is 300 seats and Stage II is 150 seats.
In House, according to MTC, "Teddy Platt is a wealthy industrialist who's in line to become a Member of Parliament. His wife Trish isn't speaking to him because of his multiple infidelities. When Lucille, a French film star, arrives to open the town garden fete — which the Platts are hosting — comic mayhem erupts."
In Garden, according to MTC, "At the town garden fete, Gilles and Joanne Mace — the Platts' neighbors — find their marriage dissolving while two bumbling caterers wreak havoc, a backyard tent collapses and Lucille imbibes a bit too much alcohol."
MTC operates two theatres, Stage I and Stage II at City Center, 131 W. 55th Street in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 399-3030 or visit the website at www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
— By Kenneth Jones