The American premiere of Irish dramatist Marina Carr's By The Bog Of Cats features in the San Jose Repertory sneak-peek look at its 2000 01 season. Also up for the Bay area theatre are the local premiere of Warren Leight's Side Man, David Hare's Amy's View, the musical adaptation of Enter the Guardsman, and Sandra Tsing Loh's Aliens in America. The sixth play for the season is yet to be announced.
Side Man, Leight's 1999 Tony Award winner for Best Play, makes its Bay Area premiere at the Rep. Set in the 1950's when Jazz and horn players were in their heyday and in the 1980s when most of the world has forgotten those days, Side Man traces the disintegration of a musician's family as seen through the eyes of his son.
Amy's View, which starred 1999 Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench in its Broadway incarnation, examines the relationship between stage legend Esme Allen and her daughter Amy. The play begins in 1979 and follows the two women through to the present day. Hare's other plays include The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, The Judas Kiss and Skylight.
Enter the Guardsman, the musical adaptation of Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman, takes a backstage marriage souring and spices it up with a mysterious soldier who begins to court the leading actress with red roses. With this supposed stage-door johnny in pursuit, her co-star husband and she herself discover the truths of their marriage. Guardsman, with music by Craig Bohmler and lyrics by Marion Adler, made its American premiere Sept. 11, 1999 in New Jersey.
Sandra Tsing Loh's one woman show, Aliens in America, dissects the so-called "traditional American family" in three separate comic vignettes about growing up middle-class Chinese-German in southern California. Satirist Loh is well known as an author and radio personality (her show "The Loh Life" is heard on KCRW), whose other theatre piece was Bad Sex With Bud Kemp. Marina Carr's By the Bog Of Cats made its 1998 debut at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Loosely based on the Medea legend, Cats follows gypsy Hester Sunne on the tragic day when her true love marries another and she, seeking refuge in the bog, finds herself strengthened by the marsh's inhabitants Auld Black Swan and the prophetic, mice-eating Cat Woman. San Francisco's Magic Theatre recently read this play in its Irish Women's Playwrights Festival, but the San Jose production will be the first fully staged version in America.
The company's current season, the theatre's 20th, began Sept. 11 with Tom Dudzick's Over the Tavern and has included Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms and Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker. Currently running is Sons of Don Juan with the American premiere and Abbey co-production- of Hugh Leonard's Love in the Title (March 11-April 9) and Having Our Say (May 12 - June 11) to follow.
-- By Christine Ehren