You've seen him in The Princess Bride and Clueless and watched him argue with Andre Gregory in My Dinner With Andre, but Wallace Shawn 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 NY's Public Theatre, and his The Hotel Play was staged at La MaMa in 1981.
Now Shawn's latest, The Designated Mourner, is gearing up for a downtown New York City mounting, according to Variety (April 13). It will be presented at 21 South William Street, in a former men's club. Each performance will accommodate only 30 people, according to The New York Times. Shawn, Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg will star. Andre Gregory directs.
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.
Variety reports that the show will start May 1. Shawn’s agent, Howard Rosenstone, was traveling and could not yet be reached for comment.
--By David Lefkowitz