Performance Network, the only professional theatre company in Ann Arbor, MI, the university town where Arthur Miller cut his playwriting teeth, will present a six-show season -- including two world premieres -- in 2000-2001.
And it will all take place in a new home.
As previously reported by Playbill On-Line, construction is underway to convert the first floor of the former Ann Arbor Inn into a new 150-seat theatre for the troupe, which for many years presented in 106-seat space (with a pole in the middle of the room) in a building that was a part of an arts-district cluster of old factories and warehouses. About $750,000 of the $1 million needed to complete the move has been raised, according to publicist David Wolber.
The 2000-2001 season begins Sept. 22-Oct. 15 with Nicky Silver's brutally-comic relationships play, The Maiden's Prayer.
Also on the season are Wit by Margaret Edson (Oct. 27 Nov. 19), the world premiere of Michigan playwright Kim Carney's Maggie Rose (Dec. 1-24), Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire (Feb. 2-25, 2001), Peter Mellencamp's Brechtian world premiere, Struggling Truths (March 16 April 8, 2001) and Yasmina Reza's Art (April 20-May 20, 2001). Carney's Maggie Rose is called a new comedy about faith and destiny, celebrity and God, concerning a woman named Maggie Rose, who apparently comes back to life after dying from an electric shock (she was cleaning a socket in the funeral home where she worked).
Carney is a Metro Detroit playwright whose comic plays (Labor Day, Lib, Detroit Stories, Only Me and You, Nooner) enjoyed success in area Equity theatres.
According to the season announcement, "Opportunism and speculation abound as everyone wonders why Maggie has returned and how they can sell the publishing rights."
The Network season's other lesser-known title is Struggling Truths, an "epic" play in the style of Brecht, about the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The work had a previous staging in Los Angeles, but this marks the Equity premiere. The story centers on Sang-Sang, a charming Buddhist monk with an unusual outlook on history, art and the nature of political struggle. As he guides us through the story of a Tibetan brother and sister -- one of whom becomes a Buddhist Monk, the other a Communist -- he narrates the story and plays numerous roles.
It "takes a unique, humorous and challenging outlook at the Medieval Theocracy of Tibet and its resistance to change, conflicting with the stridency of the Communist invasion," according to the season announcement.
In the summer months, Performance Network presents the Tree Town Theatre Festival, a showcase for various independent performance groups. Jo Broughton is the Network's executive director, Dan Walker is artistic director.
For information, call (734) 663-0696 or (734) 663-0681 or try the web site at http://comnet.org/PNetwork/
-- By Kenneth Jones