Essentially sold out before it even opened, The Designated Mourner ends its scheduled two-and-a-half month run July 15 in lower Manhattan. The well-received Wallace Shawn drama, which began performances May 1, plays in a 30-seat theatre -- a former men's club -- on South William Street.
Occasional rumors have popped up that the show might find another life, but those are currently "unsubstantiated," according to a press representative at the Barlow-Hartman office (reached July 14). Shawn, who was featured in the films "The Princess Bride" and "Clueless" and argued so memorably with Andre Gregory in "My Dinner With Andre," is nearly as prolific a playwright as he is an actor. His oft-staged Marie And Bruce, as well as A Thought In Three Parts, Aunt Dan and Lemon and translation of Machiavelli's The Mandrake all played at NYC's Public Theatre, and his The Hotel Play was staged at La MaMa in 1981.
The aforementioned Gregory directed Mourner, which stars Shawn, Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg.
The piece was produced in 1996 at England's Royal National Theatre as a tour de force return to acting for Mike Nichols. Mourner had its American premiere in 1997 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Studio Theatre. David Hare directed the 1997 film version, starring Nichols and Miranda Richardson.
The Designated Mourner, about a future where all the ideals of art and culture are destroyed, is staged Brian Friel-style, as a series of monologues. The piece is set in a fictional future in which intellectuals are rounded up and executed. Those include Jack, his wife Judy, and father-in-law Howard. Designing Mourner are Eugene Lee (set), Donna Granata (costumes) and Jennifer Tipton (lighting).
For information on The Designated Mourner call (212) 532-8887.
--By David Lefkowitz