Joan van Ark, Jean LeClerc and Victor Love are among the dreamers, lovers and drifters in The Shakespeare Theatre's revival of Tennessee Williams' surreal play, Camino Real, beginning previews May 30 in Washington DC.
Challenging, poetic and thick with images, Camino Real (1953) mixes literary and cultural types -- Casanova, Don Quixote, Byron, Shelley, Kilroy -- in Williams' strange world of Mexican plazas and hotels at the edge of the world, a place he said was pronounced "cammino reel."
Michael Kahn directs Love as Kilroy, Tess Auberjonois as virginal Esmerelda (from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"), TV's van Ark ("Knots Landing") as Marguerite Gautier, who falls for Casanova (soap star LeClerc).
Van Ark, though known for her TV soaps, is a Broadway vet from Barefoot in the Park, The Rules of the Game and The School For Wives (which earned her a Tony Award nomination).
LeClerc is known for TV's "All My Children" and "Loving" and succeeded Frank Langella in Broadway's 1979 revival of Dracula. Official opening of Camino Real is June 4.
The company includes Philip Godwin (Don Quixoite and Lord Byron), Franchelle Stewart Dorn (Gypsy Mother), David Sabin (Gutman), Sheila Allen (patron saint of lost souls), Floyd King (Baron de Charlus), Ralph Cosham and Catherine Flye (Lord and Lady Mulligan), Eric Hoffman (Sancho Panza), Todd Bailey, Ann Ducati, Helen Hedman, Naomi Jacobson, Marty Lodge and Lawrence Redmond.
Designers of the carnival-like world (a plaza flanked by two hotels, the Ritz Men Only and the Siete Mares) are Derek McLane (set), Russell Champa (lighting) and Murell Horton (costumes).
Tickets are $14-$58. The Shakespeare Theatre is at 450 7th Street NW. For information, call (202) 547-1122 or try the web site at www.shakespearedc.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones