The Barbican Centre in London has announced plans for its third consecutive season of international dance, drama and music theatre, BITE:00, to take place in the Barbican Theatre and Pit in the summer of the year 2000.
The season, begun two years ago as a response to the fact that the resident Royal Shakespeare Company had decided not to appear in London during the summer months, runs from May to October.
The international drama season is set to include appearances by the legendary Comedie-Francaise from France, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
Steppenwolf, who last appeared in London in 1998 as part of the first BITE with their production of The Man Who Came to Dinner starring Frasier's John Mahoney, are bringing a new staging of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dale Wasserman's stage adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel. Steppenwolf co-founder Gary Sinise, star of such films as "Forrest Gump" (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), will lead the cast as Randle McMurphy, the con who is transferred from prison to a state mental hospital for "diagnosis and treatment." Sinise also starred in Steppenwolf's production of The Grapes of Wrath that was also seen at London's National Theatre and subsequently on Broadway, where he was Tony nominated. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is also, coincidentally, currently being produced on a national tour of the UK, starring Mike McShane, that may be West End bound. Steppenwolf's production, directed by Terry Kinney and premiering in Chicago in April 2000, will play in London during July and August.
The Comedie-Francaise are bringing their production of Moliere's Les Fourberies de Scapin, directed by Jean-Louis Benoit, to London in June. The play will be performed in French with English surtitles. Dublin's Abbey Theatre will stage Thomas Kilroy's The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, first seen in Dublin in 1997 and subsequently seen at the 1998 Melbourne Festival, in September-October. Patrick Mason directs the play which tells the story of the passionate marriage of opposites between Oscar Wilde and Constance Holland-Lloyd.
Among the highlights of the dance program, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company are returning to BITE with a new piece, co-commissioned by the Barbican, called Biped, a 45-minute piece set to a score by Gavin Bryars which uses "virtual" dancers -- elaborate, state-of-the-art, three-dimensional moving outlines and video projections created by digital artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar -- alongside 15 live dancers. It will be performed as part of a triple bill with two classic Cunningham works, Summerspace (1958) and Sounddance (1975).
-- Mark Shenton,
What's On Stage, London