Continuing a season of restoring lost classics and presenting contemporary theatre innovators, The American Repertory Theatre production of Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo continues through Nov. 8.
Durang's rarely-performed dark comedy, Bette and Boo, tells the story of a couple who should have never gotten married. Boo is an alcoholic, and Bette can't handle her new role in life, never mind the fact that she keeps giving birth to dead babies. To make matters worse, their in-laws are gibbering sociopaths, and their priest gets into such an ecclesiastical frenzy he starts sizzling like a piece of fried bacon. Post modern director and A.R.T. Resident, Marcus Stern (The Public's Chang Fragments) helms the comedy classic.
Other shows in the 20th Anniversary Repertory Season of this Massachusetts company include:
€ Phedre by Jean Racine, Nov. 27 - Jan. 12
Phedre, Jean Racine's telling of the Greek tragedy, wherein the queen falls for her stepson, with cataclysmic results. Adapted by Paul Schmidt, Phedre will be directed by frequent Suzan Lori Parks collaborator, Liz Diamond (The America Play, Imperceptible Mutabilities).
€ Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Dec. 11 - Jan. 22, 1999
Director Andrei Serban tackles a playwright he's had a lot of experience with - Shakespeare. In the last nine months, Serban's directed Cymbeline for The Public's NYSF, Taming of the Shrew for A.R.T. and NY's La MaMa.
€ Valparaiso by Don DeLillo, Jan 29 - March 17, 1999
Valparaiso is a world premiere play by best selling novelist, Don DeLillo ("White Noise", "Libra", and "Underworld"). His first play, The Dayroom, premiered at the A.R.T. in 1986. In Valparaiso, a man who took the wrong plane to a mysterious destination now finds himself the obsessive focus of interviews and talkshows. A.R.T. Resident Director David Wheeler will direct. € Ibsen's The Master Builder, Feb. 12-March 21, 1999
Ibsen's modernist classic about an aging architect filled with new inspiration when a young girl comes down from the mountains. A.R.T. artistic director Robert Brustein co directs with Kate Whoriskey.
€ Robert Coover's Charlie in the House of Rue, April 1-25, 1999
A world premiere collaboration between author Robert Coover and The Ridge Theatre Company (director Bob McGrath) arrives in April 1999. A multi-media tribute to the art and cultural legacy of Charlie Chaplin, Charlie in the House of Rue will employ film, slides, voice samplings and music. McGrath's Ridge Theatre recently performed the Michael Gordon/Matthew Maguire opera Chaos at NY's Kitchen in October of 1998.
€ Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, May 14-June 13, 1999
Scott Zigler will direct McDonagh's play centering on Billy, a disabled youth living on a barren Aran island off the Irish coast in the 1930's. Billy's parents died at sea when he was a baby, and he has been raised by two soft-hearted foster-aunts. Their neighbors include Johnnypateenmike, a gossip-beggar who trades news for handouts; Johnny's aged mother, who has flourished into her nineties breakfasting on whiskey and lunching on porter; Bartley, a teenager with an obsessive sweet tooth; his ferocious and promiscuous sister Helen; and Babbybobby, an alternately kind and vicious boatman. Relentlessly ridiculed by the other islanders, "Cripple Billy" (as he is known) seizes a chance to escape his confined life on Inishmaan when an American film crew arrives to make a documentary on a nearby island.
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Rep, Brustein has supervised more than 200 productions. He serves as director of the Loeb Drama Center, Professor of English at Harvard, and drama critic for The New Republic. These days, he's most celebrated for his public arguments with playwright August Wilson about multi-cultural casting.
For tickets and information on Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo atthe American Repertory Theatre season, (through Nov. 8) call their Info-Line at (617) 547-8300 or check out their website at http://www.amrep.org.
-- By Sean McGrath