The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) artistic director, Carey Perloff, has announced six of the seven subscription productions for A.C.T.'s 34th season, which runs Aug. 2000–July 2001. Highlights of the season include Martha Clarke's musical fantasy, Hans Christian Andersen. Hans Christian Andersen starts previews Aug. 31 and opens the season Sept. 6. This music-theatre production chronicles the remarkable life and work of Denmark’ famed storyteller. Flying actors and special puppets comprise the theatrical magic of Hans Christian Andersen, which marks director Clarke's A.C.T. debut. Written by Irish playwright Sebastian Barry (The Steward of Christendom), Hans also features the score by Frank Loesser that was written for the 1952 film musical starring Danny Kaye. The music has been adapted for the stage by Richard Peasley. Some of the songs used in the show include “Thumbelina,” “Ugly Duckling,” “Wonderful Copenhagen,” and “No Two People Have Ever Been So in Love.”
Known for staging such classics such as Hecuba, Mary Stuart, The Threepenny Opera, and The Tempest, A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff will direct two plays, including a new production of Molière’s comic masterpiece, The Misanthrope, and A.C.T.’s first production of Luigi Pirandello’s Enrico IV. The Misanthrope starts previews Oct. 19 and opens Oct. 25. In Molière’s "sexiest and most alluring play," Perloff will explore the love affair between the titular Alceste, who despises the world and rejects social dictates, and his beloved Célimène, who is enchanted with the power of her youth and beauty.
In Pirandello's Enrico IV , which begins previews March 29 and opens April 4, 2001, A.C.T. associate artist Marco Barricelli stars as a passionate and despairing 20th-century man who imagines himself to be an 11th-century king. The production is A.C.T.’s first presentation of a Pirandello play since the Nobel Prize winner's Six Characters in Search of an Author was staged by Bill Ball in 1967.
Playwright Richard Nelson, in addition to contributing the translation of Enrico IV, will recreate his staging of his 1999 Olivier Award winning play, Goodnight Children, Everywhere, for its West Coast premiere. Goodnight Children starts previews Feb. 16 and opens Feb. 21, 2001. Nelson, author and director of the Broadway musical James Joyce’s The Dead, tells the heartbreaking story of children separated from their parents during the London Blitz, when more than 900,000 children were sent out of London often to live with complete strangers.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning David Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross, begins previews Jan. 4 and opens Jan. 10. Les Waters directs Glengarry in his A.C.T. debut, which marks the company's first staging of a Mamet work since 1994’s Oleanna. In the play, cutthroat real estate salesmen scramble for their share of the America dream in a darkly humorous Darwinian struggle. A.C.T. veteran Laird Williamson will return to the company to direct Athol Fugard’s Master Harold ....and the Boys which starts previews May 4 and opens May 9, 2001. Master Harold stars A.C.T. associate artists Steven Anthony Jones and Gregory Wallace, who’ve appeared together in Tartuffe and Insurrection: Holding History. Focusing on the relationship between two black servants and the young white boy left in their care, Master Harold was written during the height of South African apartheid in 1950.
A final production of the season will be announced in the near future.
A.C.T.'s Perloff described the 2000-01 season as an "exciting mixture of classic literature, modern masterpieces, and lyrical, inventive new works" which dealt with childhood, coming of age, the struggles within families, and the "search to find a place in the world for individuality or eccentricity."
Full-season subscriptions are now available. All performances will be presented at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco. For more information call (415) 749-2250. Patrons may visit or write to A.C.T. at 30 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108.
-- By Murdoch McBride