Carey Perloff, the American Conservatory Theatre artistic director who made her directorial debut 18 years ago at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT, now makes her playwriting bow there Aug. 3-5 with The Colossus of Rhodes, about Cecil Rhodes.
The new work focuses on the financier, statesman and empire builder Rhodes (1853-1902), Prime Minister of Cape Colony, South Africa, and one of the founders of the diamond mining industry in South Africa. The play asks whether the British Rhodes — known for his scholarships — was an adventurer or madman. The action takes place between 1873 and 1883 in Kimberly, South Africa.
Perloff, who has helmed ACT since 1992, made her directing debut at the White Barn Theatre in 1983 with Gunplay. She is known for directing fresh productions of classics (Mary Stuart, recently) and she also embraces new works. She has led her San Francisco troupe to new success in her term, including the reopening of the Geary Theater following its $28.2 million restoration. Before joining ACT, Perloff was artistic director of CSC Repertory (The Classic Stage Company) in New York. Under Perloff's leadership, CSC won the 1988 Obie Award for artistic excellence, as well as numerous Obies for acting, design, and direction.
The cast of The Colossus of Rhodes features David Adkins, Dennis Boutsikaris, Michel R. Gill, Reg Rogers as Cecil Rhodes and Sam Tsoutsouvas. Loy Arcenas directs. Original music is compiled by Catherine Reid. Musical direction is by Stephen Hinnenkamp. Designers are Leo B. Meyer (scenic and lighting), James Parks, Jr. (costumes) and Fabian Obispo (sound).
The four performances play 8 PM Fridays-Sundays and 4 PM Saturdays. The Sunday evening show includes a post performance reception. Tickets are $30-$35. Student Rush tickets are $10 (if available). Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre, Newtown Avenue, Westport, CT. For information, directions, and tickets, call (203) 227-3768 or visit the website at www.whitebarntheatre.org. *
The 54-year-old White Barn, founded by the late Lucille Lortel, dubbed the Queen of Off-broadway for embracing new, foreign or non-mainstream works in Manhattan and her converted barn, has a mix of revivals and new works this season, from unknown Tennessee Williams (The Day on Which a Man Died), to a production of Sheba, a musical version of Come Back, Little Sheba that flopped on the road and never made it to Broadway.
— By Kenneth Jones