"Borne" in a Trunk: Bill Irwin's Expanded Regard of Flight Soars Into Signature, Off-Bway | Playbill

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News "Borne" in a Trunk: Bill Irwin's Expanded Regard of Flight Soars Into Signature, Off-Bway Bill Irwin's The Regard Evening — an expansion of his acclaimed The Regard of Flight — takes wing in a staging by Signature Theatre Company, opening Dec. 15 at Off-Broadway's Peter Norton Space.

This new collaboration with Doug Skinner, Michael O'Connor and Nancy Harrington, is both a revival of the acclaimed The Regard of Flight, seen at a American Place Theatre and Lincoln Center Theater, plus a sequel that flashes forward 20 years to today to reunite the original performers. Previews began Dec. 3.

Irwin, the American clown know for Fool Moon and other works, "plays an Everyman, an actor armed only with a trunk full of quick changes, whose worst nightmare comes to life as he awakens to find himself onstage," according to production notes from Signature, the troupe devoting its entire 2003-04 season to Irwin's imaginative works. "This world premiere production celebrates the craft of theatre, while poking fun at theatrical conventions."

Rejoining Irwin 20 years after first working with him on The Regard of Flight are Doug Skinner as Musical Director, and Michael O'Connor as the questioning, challenging Critic and Director. Irwin directs the production.

Set design is by Douglas Stein, costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Nancy Schertler, sound design by Brett R. Jarvis and video design by Dennis Diamond. Nancy Harrington is production stage manager.

Performances continue to Jan. 25, 2004. The 2003-04 Signature season will also include the world premiere of Mr. Fox: A Rumination, "a reflection on the life and work of America's first celebrity clown, George L. Fox (1825-1877). Fox "delighted audiences from the Bowery to Broadway with his raucous and ribald performances, but he could not escape his greatest success, the white-face role of 'Humpty Dumpty.'"

The work is billed as "one clown's rumination on another, on the life of a performer, and on the act of performance itself." It plays March 24-May 16, 2004, with an official opening on April 13.

Signature Theatre Company is under the direction of founding artistic director James Houghton and executive director Kathryn M. Lipuma. This is the company's 13th season, following season devoted to Lanford Wilson, Arthur Miller, John Guare, Lee Blessing, Maria Irene Fornes, Horton Foote and others.

Playwright, clown, actor, director, Bill Irwin began his clowning with San Francisco's famed Pickle Family Circus, and Irwin's comic antics and physical feats are now well known through his many original works including the Broadway productions of the Tony Award-winning Fool Moon, The Regard of Flight and Largely/New York. He is also known for Texts for Nothing (Classic Stage Company and New York Shakespeare Festival) and Scapin for the Roundabout Theater Company.

His appearances as an actor range from Edward Albee's The Goat on Broadway and Waiting for Godot for Lincoln Center Theater to Mr. Noodle on "Sesame Street."

Signature operates in the Peter Norton Space, 555 W. 42nd Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. The performance schedule is Wednesday through Sunday at 8 PM; Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM. There will be no performances on Wednesday Dec. 24; Thursday Dec. 25 and Thursday Jan. 1, 2004. There will be two added performances on Tuesday Dec. 23 and Tuesday Dec. 30. Single tickets are $55.

For subscription and ticket information, call (212) 244-PLAY (7529). For additional information, visit www.signaturetheatre.org.

Michael O'Connor (left) and Bill Irwin in <i>The Regard Evening</i>
Michael O'Connor (left) and Bill Irwin in The Regard Evening Photo by Carol Rosegg

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