Kathryn Meisle and Bruce Norris head the five-person cast of Humpty Dumpty, the new Eric Bogosian play which will premiere at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre this spring. Running dates are March 26 through April 14. Jo Bonney directs.
Both Meisle and Norris were most recently seen at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre. Meisle co-starred in the premiere of Wendy Wasserstein’s Old Money, while Norris appeared in the New York debut of John Guare’s Chaucer in Rome.
Humpty Dumpty concerns a quartet of urban hot-shots who retreat to a remote country house and, as the nursery rhyme goes, have a great fall (existentially speaking) when an unknown calamity cuts off the electricity and phone lines. Robbed of the treasured technical means of survival, and with not enough gas to drive away from the cabin, they find themselves increasingly at the mercy of a local man who looks after the property.
Bogosian told Playbill On-Line that he, at one time, urged the McCarter to remove the play from its roster. Though Humpty was written long before the Sept. 11 disasters, the script included eerily prescient dialogue — particularly the characters’ suppositions about what sort of catastrophe might have caused the blackout. Emily Mann, artistic director of the McCarter, instead urged Bogosian to make a few critical alterations to the text, which he did.
Bogosian, who made his name starring in fiery one-man shows penned by himself, made an impressive debut as a conventional playwright with subUrbia, which eventually played Lincoln Center Theater and was later made into a movie. Other works include Griller and one of the one-acts in the omnibus Public Theater evening Love's Fire. His first novel, “Mall,” was recently released in paperback. *
It will be a three-Albee winter for theatregoers in the tri-state area. In addition to Broadway's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Off Broadway's The Occupant, the McCarter will present a revival of All Over, Feb. 12-March 3, 2002. Rosemary Harris, Michael Learned, Myra Carter, John Christopher Jones and John Carter will star, said the McCarter.
All Over was given a fairly well-received Off-Broadway staging roughly a year ago, at Theatre 22 in Chelsea, starring Jacqueline Brooks and directed by Teresa Hayden. The run ended on Oct. 22, 2000.
The original 1971 staging of All Over starred Jessica Tandy and Colleen Dewhurst under John Gielgud's direction.
The cast is steeped in the playwright's work. Harris last starred in Waiting in the Wings on Broadway. She acted, alongside John Carter, in Albee's A Delicate Balance on Broadway in the 1996. Myra Carter gave the performance of a lifetime in Albee's Three Tall Women. Learned, meanwhile, was seen in The Best Man on Broadway last season.
--By Robert Simonson