You may've seen him in The Princess Bride and Clueless and watched him argue with Andre Gregory in My Dinner With Andre, but Wallace Shawn is nearly as prolific a playwright as he is an actor. His oft-staged Marie And Bruce, as well as A Thought In Three Parts and translation of Machiavelli's The Mandrake all played at NY's Public Theatre, and his The Hotel Play was staged at La MaMa in 1981.
Now Shawn's latest, mounted by David Hare in 1996 at England's Royal National Theatre as a tour de force return to acting for Mike Nichols, and recently staged at Chicago's Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, will come to the big screen. According to film spokesperson Jacey Irwin, The Designated Mourner has been "re-conceived with greater intimacy for the screen with the same cast that took London by storm: Oscar-nominated actress Miranda Richardson, noted stage performer David de Keyser and, in his first-ever performance on film, legendary stage and film director Mike Nichols."
The Designated Mourner, about a future where all the ideals of art and culture are destroyed, was staged Brian Friel-style, as a series of monologues.
Other works by Shawn include Aunt Dan And Lemon, staged at London's Royal Court, Steppenwolf and the Public Theatre; and the Obie winning The Fever.
For more information on The Designated Mourner film, check out the website http://www.flp.com/designated.html or call (800) 778-9475. The film opens in New York May 2. The text of Mourner has just been published in the United States by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. --By David Lefkowitz