Times Theater Writer

Six workshop productions and a week of new “micro-operas” will constitute the Mark Taper Forum’s New Theatre for Now “In the Works 1985" series Oct. 22 to Nov. 24.

The California scene is scrutinized in the first two plays to be mounted in the monthlong event. “Dream Coast,” a piece about California dreams and realities by John Steppling (who wrote “The Shaper” and will also direct) runs Oct. 22-27 with Doris Baizley’s “Mrs. California,” to be directed by Warner Shook. (Baizley is the author of earlier Taper productions of “Bugs/Guns” and adapter of its perennial “A Christmas Carol.”)

Thomas Babe’s “Planet Fires” and Neal Bell’s “Sleeping Dogs” follow Oct. 29 through Nov. 3. John Henry Davis directs the Babe play, about a young black runaway who discovers post-Civil War freedom in a carnival sideshow. Jody McAuliffe will stage Bell’s expose of American business.

The micro-operas take center stage Nov. 8-14, in conjunction with the citywide New Music America ’85 celebration. These mini-pieces, 15 to 25 minutes long, condense the elements of full-length operas and will be presented as a single performance. They range from jazz and classical to rock and experimental and include the work of Carla Bley and Paul Dresher.


The final week (Nov. 19-24) features Kendrew Lascelles’ “Legends” and Philip Kan Gotanda’s “The Wash.” Taper resident director Robert Egan will stage Lascelles’ play of bargaining and confrontation in famine-stricken Africa; Barbara Damashek takes on the turmoil created in a Japanese-American family in “The Wash,” when the elderly husband and wife decide to get a divorce.

A bonus workshop presentation in the Taper, Too will be Mimi Seton’s “Sea Below Middle C,” to be included in the series Oct. 25-27, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The entire package is available by subscription only ($50). Information: (213) 972-7373.