Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Public Theater Will Stage Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner And Premiere His Newest Play (FINALLY): Gothamist:

One of the most unforgettable experiences we've ever had was going to see Wallace Shawn's haunting play The Designated Mourner when it was presented in 2000 in a decaying old gentleman's club down on Wall Street. Shawn's prescient and bracing play, performed by Shawn, Larry Pine, and Shawn's longtime companion and brilliant writer Deborah Eisenberg, was spellbinding and, well, inconceivably intimate. It was staged for a laughably small audience of twenty, and as you climbed the old staircase to the second floor, Shawn himself was waiting at the top to greet you before the performance—more of an incantation, really—began.

The play, which concerns a dwindling group of liberal intellectuals struggling to endure under a brutal new regime, is widely considered Shawn's masterpiece. It's rarely performed in NYC, so we we're thrilled to report that The Public Theater, along with Theater for a New Audience, will finally revive it next June, with the original cast, under the direction of Shawn's longtime collaborator Andre Gregory. And the news gets better: the two theaters will also finally produce the NYC premiere of Shawn's first new play since The Designated Mourner, called Grasses of a Thousand Colors.