Far East, A.R. Gurney's Lincoln Center hit about a young naval officer falling in love in 1950s Japan, finishes its scheduled run at Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre, July 22.
Director Victoria Holloway has accentuated the eastern theatre elements emphasized in Gurney's script by including techniques from the Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki forms. Like Noh, there is minimal scenery; like Bunraku, there is a Reader who acts as a narrator and the voices of some characters; like Kabuki, wooden clappers are used to mark breaks between scenes and mood, underlining important moments in the play.
Far East, set during the United States still tentative relations with Japan after World War II, follows U.S. officer "Sparky" Watts as he vacillates between his commanding officer (Geoff Pierson), his commanding officer's wife (Zimbalist) and the Japanese woman he loves. The drama received its debut at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in 1998. Other plays by Gurney include Love Letters, Sylvia and The Cocktail Hour.
The cast features Constance Boardman (Reader), Jason Deppen (Stagehand), Alvon Griffin (Percussionist), Eliza Foss (Julia), Jason Kuykendall (Sparky), Scott Reeves (Bob), Doug Rugala (Stagehand) and Jeff Sugarman (Anderson).
Designing Far East are Eric Craft (sets), Jeffrey E. Salzberg (lighting) and Marcella Beckwith (costumes). Jennifer L. Boris is production stage manager. Tickets ($18-$26) are still available for all remaining performances. For information call (941) 366-9000.
Following Far East at FST will be Smoke and Mirrors, a mystery thriller by Will Osborne and Anthony Herrera. Directed by Michael Lasswell, Smoke will billow July 25-Aug. 12, officially opening July 27.
-- By Christine Ehren
and David Lefkowitz