Injured Simon Jones Sidelined From Off-Broadway's Memorandum

News   Injured Simon Jones Sidelined From Off-Broadway's Memorandum
Simon Jones, co-artistic director of Off-Broadway's TACT/The Actors Company Theatre, has withdrawn from the company's production of Václav Havel's The Memorandum due to injuries sustained after being hit by a car.

Simon Jones
Simon Jones Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Jones is expected to fully recover. Stepping into the role of Joseph Gross in the comedy will be TACT company member James Prendergast.

Jones and his son were knocked down by a car on Oct. 8 while walking home from seeing the Broadway play Brief Encounter. "We had a second 'brief encounter' but this time with several tons of metal," Jones said in a statement. No bones were broken, but they suffered extensive bruising and abrasions. Jones added, "I had hoped that I could return to the play after a week's recuperation, but recovery is going to take longer, and [rehearsal] time is running out."

The Memorandum, directed by Jenn Thompson, begins previews as scheduled at The Beckett Theatre (410 West 42nd Street) on Oct. 25 and opens Nov. 4, playing to Nov. 27.

Prendergast being a company member makes for a smooth transition. Jones said, "I couldn't be more relieved and delighted. He's the ideal person to take the role, make it his own, and have a great success with it. It's also proof that TACT, having a standing repertory company of actors, can rely on its members to step up to the plate when an emergency like this arises. Because we've all worked together before so often we can work in a sort of shorthand, and he'll be able very quickly to make up for lost time, in a way a guest performer would find hard to do."

* The Memorandum is an absurdist-tinged look at "bureaucracy gone mad," written by the playwright and social activist who would become the president of the Czech Republic. TACT is staging the play's first major Off-Broadway revival in over 40 years.

In The Memorandum, a the managing director of an organization discovers that all office communications are suddenly being written in "Ptydepe," a new and impossibly complicated language. He seeks to get a memo translated, taking him through a maddening riot of red tape. The play is said to be inspired by the absurdities of life in communist Eastern Europe.

Havel began writing The Memorandum as early as 1960. It was rewritten many times over, and became the second of Havel's plays produced at Prague's Theatre of the Balustrade, where he was then literary manager. The play had its American premiere in 1968 as part of Joseph Papp's inaugural season at The Public Theater winning an Obie Award for Best Foreign Play. First produced in London in 1977 (and revived in 1995), The Memorandum has been presented regularly around the world. TACT is dedicated to presenting "neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit."

The cast of The Memorandum now includes TACT members Mark Alhadeff (The Cocktail Party, Incident at Vichy), Jeffrey C. Hawkins (Incident at Vichy, The Confidential Clerk), John Plumpis (The Lion King, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), James Prendergast (Incident at Vichy, The Late Christopher Bean), Lynn Wright (The Elephant Man, As Bees in Honey Drown) and guest artists Nilanjana Bose (TACT debut, 2010 Juilliard graduate), Trent Dawson (TACT debut, "As the World Turns"), Joel Leffert (Freudian Slips) and Kate Levy (On Golden Pond, Well).

The creative team includes Adrian W. Jones (sets), David Toser (costumes), Philip S. Rosenberg (lights), Stephen Kunken (sound), Joseph Trapanese (original music) and Lily Fairbanks (properties). Meredith Dixon is production stage manager.

The Memorandum will have the following performance schedule: Monday, Wednesday–Friday at 7:30 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $36.25-$56.25 and are available through or at (212) 239-6200 or at the Theatre Row box office (410 W. 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues) between noon and 8 PM daily.

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