When a theater company announces a new season, chances are it's dotted with plays that have been staged once or twice locally. Which is why South Coast Repertory's 2012-13 lineup is truly special.
You won't find a familiar title among the nine productions announced for the first full season under the aegis of Marc Masterson, SCR's new artistic director. You may have heard of one or two, but you haven't seen them at the Costa Mesa theater complex.
An example is "Absurd Person Singular," the farcical English comedy which leads off the season on the Segerstrom Stage from Sept. 7 to Oct. 7. The playwright is one of SCR's favorites — Alan Ayckbourn — and the director certainly is no stranger: David Emmes, co-founder of the 47-year-old company.
Masterson will be in the director's chair for "Eurydice," Sarah Ruhl's new play based on the classic myth of Orpheus and the title character, who goes AWOL on their wedding day. The production runs from Sept. 23 through Oct. 14 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.
"How to Write a New Book for the Bible" is the topic of SCR's third show Bill Cain's comedic drama to be directed by Kent Nicholson. It's a family reminiscence told in flashbacks and will be on the Segerstrom Stage from Oct. 19 to Nov. 18.
Censors are at work on the title of the next offering, "The Motherf**ker With the Hat" by Stephen Adly Guirgis. It's a modern suspenseful comedy set in New York's mean streets and centers on drug addiction. Michael John Carceds will direct the Jan. 6 to 27, 2013, production on the Argyros Stage.
Another quirky title is "Ch'ing-lish," David Henry Hwang's romantic comedy about a Chinese-English translator. This one will play from Jan. 25 to Feb. 24, 2013, on the Segerstrom Stage.
Martin Benson, SCR's co-founder, will stage Samuel D. Hunter's "The Whale," in which the leading character weighs a whopping 600 pounds and seeks to re-connect with his estranged daughter. It's ticketed for May 10 to 31, 2013, on the Argyros Stage.
Three generations of an eccentric Midwestern family faced with major changes provide the centerpiece for "Smokefall," a new drama by Noah Haidle to be directed by Anne Kauffman. It'll kick off the 2013 Pacific Playwrights Festival as a world premiere on the Segerstrom Stage from March 29 through April 28, 2013.
Another world premiere — yet to be announced — will be presented from April 14 to May 5, 2013, on the Argyros Stage. It's also part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival.
Finally, Shakespeare gets rewritten, sort of, in "The Verona Project," a new play with words and music by Amanda Dehnert, who also will direct. It's part theater and part rock concert and will occupy the Segerstrom Stage from May 10 to June 9, 2013.
Various subscription packages are being offered by SCR, and prospective playgoers may learn more by calling the theater's box office at (714) 708-5555 or by going online to http://www.scr.org.