English playwright Helen Edmundson's The Clearing, which received its New York debut on Sept. 24, courtesy of the Blue Light Theater Company, will end its run Off-Broadway Oct. 31. Official opening for the show, which received widely mixed reviews, was Oct. 9.
The Clearing was staged last season at Connecticut's Hartford Stage, and the play arrives in New York with much of the Hartford creative team intact, including director Tracy Brigden and all but one member of the cast.
Blue Light's first show of the new season, The Clearing is a drama of love, greed and betrayal between an English aristocrat and his Irish wife during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In an interview with Playbill On Line, Edmundson said inspiration for the work came from several fronts, including the civil war in Bosnia, reaction to the conflict in England and the never-ending struggle between Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Clearing received an initial staging from New York Stage and Film on the Vassar College grounds in Poughkeepsie, NY, before going on to a full production at Hartford. Edmundson professed herself happy with the Hartford staging, though "it was a very different experience. In London, it was done in a small space and was very intimate. In contrast, Hartford Stage was so big. I was interested to see if it would hold up. It had to played out, approached almost as Shakespeare would be. Now were back in an intimate space," -- at the McGinn/Cazale Theater above the Promenade, at 76th and Broadway -- "I think this is a play that plays well in a small space."
The Clearing is only Edmundson's second original play, though she has penned several adaptations, including The Mill on the Floss, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which was presented at BAM in 1998 as part of the Next Wave Festival. So, she has been to New York before this. Does she like the town? "I like it a lot. It's a good excuse to writing plays if I keep getting flown across the Atlantic."
The fifth full season of Off-Broadway's Blue Light Theater Company will play in the 150-seat McGinn/Cazale Theater, and will include two world premieres.
Artistic director Peter Manning and producing manager Mandy Greenfield will offer the world premieres of Daniel Goldfarb's Adam Baum and the Jew Movie (Nov. 8-Dec. 5), which had a reading in 1998 at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, and Jessica Goldberg's The Hologram Theory (starting previews Feb. 8, 2000).
Joe Mantello (Corpus Christi, The Mineola Twins) will direct Ron Liebman (Angels in America) in Adam Baum, about self directed anti-Semitism in early Hollywood, in February 2000.
The Hologram Theory, beginning previews Feb. 8, 2000 and opening Feb 17, is Jessica Goldberg's thriller about a woman who travels from her home in Trinidad to New York City to find and bury her brother. Pulled into a world of rich folk, club kids and the media in Manhattan, she uncovers the mysteries of her brother's world.
Blue Light's fourth presentation is expected to be a large-cast classic in the tradition of the troupe's revivals of The Seagull, Waiting for Lefty and Golden Boy.
For tickets or information, call (212) 279-4200.