Plays by Steven Banks and A.R. Gurney Will Premiere at Off-Off-Broadway's Flea Theater

News   Plays by Steven Banks and A.R. Gurney Will Premiere at Off-Off-Broadway's Flea Theater
Downtown Manhattan's Flea Theater will stage the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's Office Hours in the 2010-11 season, artistic director Jim Simpson and producing director Carol Ostrow announced on July 22.

A.R. Gurney
A.R. Gurney Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Simpson will direct the new comedy, to play Sept. 21-Nov. 7. Opening is Sept. 30. The play was written specifically for the Flea's young company, The Bats.

Office Hours is set on a university campus in 1974, "when administrations began to doubt the value of a Great Books course," according to Flea notes. "The play offers striking parallels to our contemporary political climate and raises significant questions surrounding the teaching of the classics in our modern world.

Gurney's The Grand Manner is currently enjoying a world premiere at Lincoln Center. He's known for his many plays, including The Dining Room, Buffalo Gal, The Cocktail Hour, What I Did Last Summer, Sylvia and Love Letters.

Another world premiere — Looking at Christmas — will follow, Nov. 20-Dec. 31. It's billed as a 21st-century New York City holiday tale — "the story of a young, recently fired writer who stumbles upon young, newly arrived actress on Christmas Eve while taking in the famed holiday window displays along Fifth Avenue. From Tiny Tim toting a ray gun to an eager elf with an eye for Mrs. Claus, the familiar characters behind the windows come to life in the most unexpected ways as the pair passes by each display in this quirky love story."

Looking for Christmas is created by returning Flea artist Steven Banks, aka Billy The Mime, who is also the head writer of TV's "SpongeBob Squarepants." The work is also created with the Flea young company in mind. Banks recently co-created a full evening piece, Shadowland, for the dance company Pilobolus. The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal. Additional information including casting and production schedules will be announced on The Flea's website at


The Flea Theater, one of New York's leading Off-Off-Broadway companies, is the winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theatre. The Flea has presented nearly 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson's The Guys; five plays by A.R. Gurney (Post Mortem, O Jerusalem, Screenplay, Mrs. Farnsworth and A Light Lunch); Mac Wellman's Cellophane and Two September; Roger Rosenblatt's Ashley Montana Goes Ashore... and The Oldsmobiles; Elizabeth Swados' JABU and Kaspar Hauser; Karen Finley's Return of the Chocolate Smeared Woman; Adam Rapp's Bingo with the Indians; Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations; Jonathan Reynolds' Girls in Trouble; and most recently Bathsheba Doran's Parents' Evening.

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