Drama Desk nominee Paul Sparks of Coyote on a Fence is contemplating another kind of mammal in the New York premiere of Circumference of a Squirrel, playing Feb. 12-March 17 at Urban Stages. Stages producing director T. L. Reilly directs.
Chester, the protagonist of Circumference of a Squirrel, is a self proclaimed rodentophobe with an unhealthy fear of squirrels. That fear, born of hatred passed down by his father who was bit by a rabid one, is surrounded — literally — by an obsession with circles. These include a donut, an inner tube, a holiday wreath, a tire-swing and a figurative cycle of abuse and hate. Circumference had its world premiere at Austin's Zachary Scott Theatre Center in April 2001, followed quickly by a second production at Los Angeles' Actors Gang Theatre via the Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too program in June.
Walch was inspired to write Circumference while watching a squirrel with a bagel struggle up a tree on the University of Texas campus where Walch teaches playwriting. His play, The Dinosaur Within, recently won a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays grant.
Designing Squirrel are Cobb's Jeff Nellis (lighting), Michael Fagen (sets) and Drama Desk nominee Marc Gwinn (sound).
Tickets are $35. Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. For reservations, call (877) 737-3285. Urban Stages is on the web at http://www.urbanstages.org. *
Circumference of a Squirrel will be the first production in Urban Stages' renovated space on 30th Street. Improvements include a new stage, lobby and rehearsal studios for the 18 seasons old company. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be celebrated on Feb. 12. The company's spring show will be Sweepers, by John C. Picardi, directed by Frances W. Hill, March 26-May 5.
— by Christine Ehren