Plays by Mamet, Shepard and Brunstetter Will Spike Atlantic Theater's Season

By Kenneth Jones
June 24, 2009

Atlantic Theater Company announced three of its 2009-2010 season productions, including a double-bill of the New York City premiere of Atlantic co-founder David Mamet's Keep Your Pantheon and the world premiere of his School. The plays will be seen at the Off-Broadway company's mainstage, the Linda Gross Theater on West 20th Street.

Mamet's fellow Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard will make his Atlantic debut with the U.S. premiere of the Abbey Theatre's production of Ages of the Moon following its acclaimed March 2009 world premiere engagement in Ireland, directed by Jimmy Fay. A third new play will be announced for the Linda Gross Theater main stage.

In September, Atlantic Stage 2, the company's second stage, will feature the world premiere limited engagement of the comedy Oohrah!, by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Evan Cabnet. A second new play will be announced for Atlantic Stage 2.

Here are details about the ATC season:

  • Keep Your Pantheon and School by David Mamet, directed by Neil Pepe, Sept. 9-Nov. 1 at the Linda Gross Theater.
    "Keep Your Pantheon is a rousing farce that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of an acting troupe in ancient Rome. An impoverished acting company on the edge of eviction is offered a lucrative engagement. But through a series of riotous mishaps, the troupe finds its problems have actually multiplied, and that they are about to learn a new meaning for the term 'dying on stage.' School is a brief comic discourse on recycling, poster design and the transmission of information."

  • Ages of the Moon by Sam Shepard, directed by Jimmy Fay, Jan. 9-March 7, 2010, at the Linda Gross Theater.
    "Ages of the Moon is a gruffly poignant and darkly funny play. Byron and Ames are old friends, re-united by mutual desperation. Over bourbon on ice, they sit, reflect and bicker until 50 years of love, friendship and rivalry are put to the test at the barrel of a gun."

  • Oohrah! by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Evan Cabnet, Sept. 1-27 at Atlantic Stage 2. "Young playwright Bekah Brunstetter makes her Off-Broadway debut with the world premiere of Oohrah! In Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to one of the South's largest military bases, practically everybody has somebody 'Over There.' Sara is relieved when her husband Ron returns home from an uneventful tour in Iraq, but he's finding it difficult to settle back into the domestic bliss that is 'home improvement' and 'Rachel Ray's 30-minute meals.' Sara's sister Abby has set herself up for an uneventful life with a civilian fiancé who's more interested in PlayStation than the battlefield. But when a hot, mysterious Marine walks into their lives, all bets on stability are off."

    Mamet's plays include Romance (world premiere Atlantic 2005, Mark Taper Forum), November, Boston Marriage, Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Award), American Buffalo, The Old Neighborhood, A Life In The Theater, Speed-the-Plow, Edmond, Lakeboat, The Water Engine, The Woods, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Reunion and The Cryptogram (1995 Obie Award), among others. His new play, Race, opens on Broadway this fall.

    Shepard was first produced in New York in 1963 at Theatre Genesis and many times at La MaMa and Café Cino. Eleven of his plays have won Obie Awards including The Tooth of Crime (1972) and Curse of the Starving Class (1976). He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child (1979). The critically acclaimed production of True West, starring Jon Malkovich and Gary Sinise opened Off-Broadway in 1982. Fool For Love (1982) starring Ed Harris received Obie Awards for Best Play and Direction. A Lie of the Mind (1985) won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Outer Critic's Circle Award for Outstanding New Play. Simpatico opened at The Royal Court Theatre after its New York premiere at The Public Theater in 1994 and was made into a feature film by Matthew Warchus starring Nick Nolte and Sharon Stone. A revised Buried Child, under the direction of Gary Sinise, opened on Broadway in 1996 and was nominated for a Tony Award. Several new plays opened over the next decade in the United States and in London, most notably The Late Henry Moss and The God of Hell. Shepard recently began a fruitful collaboration with The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland where Ages of the Moon had its world premiere in March, and where Kicking a Dead Horse starring his friend Stephen Rea also premiered.

    Brunstetter's plays include Be a Good Little Widow (commissioned by Ars Nova, 2009), Oohrah! (Ars Nova Outloud reading series, directed by Leigh Silverman; developed in London at the Finborough Theater), To Nineveh (NY Innovative Theater Award for Best New Full Length Play, 2006) Sick (winner, Sam French short play festival 2006), Green (finalist, Alliance Theater's Kendeda Competition; national finalist, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival) Space (semi-finalist, Princess Grace Award 2007), I Used to Write On Walls (published and licensed by Samuel French), Fat Kids On Fire (published and licensed by Playscripts, Inc), You May Go Now: A Marriage Play (Winner, 2008 NYIT Award for Best New Full Length Play), and more. Visit www.bekahbrunstetter.com.

    For ticket or membership information, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (ticketcentral.com) or for general inquiries and/or group sales for both theaters call (212) 645-1242 or visit www.atlantictheater.org.