A modern love triangle about "the fantasies and fallacies attached to the concept of monogamy," Heart Of Man opens Feb. 16 at Off Broadway's Theatre Off Park. Written by Elizabeth Christman, author of 1994's Post Mortem, the production is being "mentored" by Pulitzer winning dramatist Marsha Norman (Night Mother, Getting Out and the book for The Secret Garden).
Directed by Abby Epstein, Christman's comedy/drama celebrates the process of creating one's own identity. Epstein, associate director of Roadworks Productions, established her own identity by winning a Jeff Award for Ecstasy in Chicago.
Cast members for Heart Of Man are Atlantic Theatre Company regular Jordan Lage, Barrow Group member Elizabeth Hanly Rice, and Kathryn Hahn, who starred in Epstein's Chicago staging of Bogosian's subUrbia. Van Santvoord designed the sets, Chad McArver the lighting, Dana Bauer the costumes.
According to Rattlestick Productions spokesperson Hugh Hayes, the mentor program has been exceptionally successful: Rattlestick's previous show, Tim Pinckney's Message To Michael, is gearing up for a commercial run in Washington DC, while Two Boys In A Bed On A Cold Winter's Night had a run on London's West End. "They've been getting real tangible results on what they're trying to do," said Hayes. Previous mentors have included Terrence McNally, Joe Mantello (on Michael) and producer Robert Whitehead. Later this season, Rattlestick will take on a series of plays by George Walker.
"The idea of the a mentor," Hayes explained, "is to steer and guide the production. She oversees all aspects of the show, from casting, revisions, script doctoring and staging. That said, the director is still in charge of the actual production." For tickets ($15) and information on Heart Of Man, which runs Feb.12-March 9, call (212) 627-2556.
--By David Lefkowitz