After dwelling in Stately Mansions and taking Five Lesbian Brothers to the Moon, New York Theatre Workshop will go Shopping And Fucking.
That's the title, folks. It's Mark Ravenhill's hit London play, coming to NYTW Jan. 14 for an official opening Feb. 2. Shopping And Fucking, which reopens this month in the West End, was first co-produced by Out Of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre. The NYTW production is co-directed by Max Stafford Clark and Gemma Bodinetz.
The play's synopsis reads thusly: "A look at the disposable disconnected and dysfunctional world in which three post-generation X'ers come of age, where all human activities are reduced to transactions."
Author Ravenhill, literary director of the Paines Plough theatre company, recently saw his second play, Faust (Faust Is Dead), staged by the Actors Touring Company. Meanwhile, Shopping And Fucking goes back up in the UK at the Queens Theatre after a summer run at the Gielgud.
Starring in Shopping And Fucking are American actors Torquil Campbell, Jennifer Dundas Lowe (Arcadia), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew Sussman and Justin Theroux. Julian McGowan is the designer. Director Stafford-Clark served as the Royal Court's artistic director from 1979-93 and then founded the Out of Joint touring Company. He staged The Steward Of Christendom, which eventually came to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Co-director Bodinetz recently assisted Stafford-Clark on a mounting of Top Girls. Shopping And Fucking is scheduled to run through March 1, with a possible extension.
The NYTW season opened with Ivo Van Hove's controversial staging of O'Neill's More State Mansions, followed by The Five Lesbian Brothers' farce, Brides Of The Moon. The fourth NYTW play has yet to be announced (as of Jan. 5). Plays still under consideration are Paula Vogel's The Mineola Twins, which the theatre has been eyeing for over two years, and Band In Berlin, about the German vocal group The Harmonists. (If the Harmonists sound familiar, they're the same group examined in Barry Manilow's upcoming musical, Harmony.) Band In Berlin, which was workshopped at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, takes a more multi-media, documentary approach. Both plays are also under consideration for 1998 99.
The closer this season will most likely be Tillers (formerly titled "Soul Let Fly"). Fanni V. Green's play uses poetry, story and song to tell the tale Shelby, a black woman, returning to the South. Now a college educated adult, Shelby tries to balance the expectations of her when she was young with her life experience -- and deal with family members and people in her church and their own, sometimes limited views.
As for the following season, Bone Songs, a play with music by Andre Gregory and the Alloy Orchestra, could make itself heard. Gregory was the "Andre" in Wallace Shawn's My Dinner With Andre.
Asked about New York Magazine's report that the theatre was considering a musical based on Jay McInerney's 1984 novel, Bright Lights, Big City, scripted by McInerney with a score by Paul Scott Goodman, Lichtenwalner said, "We had an excellent reading, and everyone's very excited about it. The only thing keeping us from moving ahead is that we have so many other projects we're already committed to. Certainly we won't see this in the next twelve months, but we're trying to help the author bring develop it for either here or another theatre."
One obstacle NYTW must overcome is the September resignation of longtime managing director Nancy Kassak Diekmann. Carla Forbes-Kelly has been named interim managing director while the search goes on for a permanent candidate for the post.
For information on the 1997-98 New York Theatre Workshop season, call (212) 460-5475. Memberships start at $100 and include one admission to every production, free coffee, ticket exchange privileges and other perks. New York Theatre Workshop is, of course, the springboard of Broadway's Rent, as well as David Rabe's acclaimed A Question Of Mercy in early 1997.
-- By David Lefkowitz