Though John Malkovich was scheduled to direct an (unchosen) play to cap Steppenwolf's 1996-97 season this summer, film commitments forced the actor to relinquish that opportunity. Instead, Scott Zigler will direct Jon Robin Baitz's drama, A Fair Country.
The drama, which premiered at NY's Lincoln Center - Mitzi Newhouse space Feb. 1996 shows the pressures on Harry Burgess, a cultural attache' stationed with his family in Durban, South Africa. To protect his wife and two sons, Harry makes a deal that allows them to leave the country but also destroys their trust in his judgment.
"A Fair Country, like all of Baitz's plays," said Steppenwolf artistic director Martha Lavey, "engages political and social issues of real moment and places them within the context of the emotional life of a family. Baitz's writing provides wonderful opportunities for actors through...complexity and feeling."
Previous Baitz works include The Substance Of Fire (recently filmed with original star Ron Rifkin), The Film Society, The End Of The Day and Three Hotels. He is a recipient of Rockefeller, Revson, NEA and American Academy of Arts & Letters fellowships.
Zigler has a 13-year directing relationship with dramatist David Mamet, and he staged The Cryptogram at Steppenwolf Studio and Houston's Alley Theatre. Former artistic director of NY's Atlantic Theatre company, Zigler is now artistic coordinator for the New Stages Series at Cambridge's American Repertory Theatre (headed by Robert Brustein) and associate director of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. He will stage the world premiere of Mamet's The Old Neighborhood at ART, spring 1997. No casting/designers have yet been announced for A Fair Country, which begins previews July 9, opens July 20, and runs to Aug. 24. For tickets and information call the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 North Halsted St., at (312) 335-1650.
--By David Lefkowitz