San Diego County Arts Writer

The Old Globe Theatre's staging of Peter Parnell's "Romance Language," a co-production by the Globe and the Mark Taper Forum, will not be seen this season in San Diego, the Globe announced Monday.

The Globe will shift Jim Wann's musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes," scheduled to be seen on the Cassius Carter Centre Stage, to the larger Old Globe Theatre and import William Mastrosimone's "Cat's-Paw" from the Seattle Repertory Theatre. "Cat's-Paw," with its original Seattle cast, will go onto the Carter stage in the time slot scheduled for "Pump Boys."

Globe artistic director Jack O'Brien called "Romance Language" a play "in major transition. I've been in consultation with Peter Parnell and the Taper, and at this moment the play, especially the first act, needs more work.

"It's not my intention to afford the piece time to tidy itself into a nice little package. Rather, it needs time to breathe."

"Romance Language" opened at the Taper Jan. 22 and will close March 9.

O'Brien said that, in its Taper incarnation, the play lost some of the punch it had at Playwright's Horizons in New York. "It's the framework that needs reworking," he said of the fantasy about American literary figures making a journey across the Wild West. "Up close at Playwright's, the play assaulted the audience and didn't need a framework."

In the larger Mark Taper Forum, O'Brien said, the play required a frame to help the audience understand what it is about. He also said that in four years the playwright's conception of what the play is about has drastically changed.

"Cat's-Paw" will close a two-week run at Seattle this weekend.

Mastrosimone has written such plays as "Extremities" and "The Woolgatherer."

O'Brien called "Cat's-Paw" a psychological thriller about an urban guerrilla who takes a minor Environmental Protection Agency official hostage and allows a female television reporter to interview him. "Mastrosimone is brilliant at these intense, up-close confrontations," O'Brien said.

"Pump Boys and Dinettes," a rockabilly musical about good ol' boys in Frog Level, S.C., will run March 27 through May 4. "Cat's-Paw" will play March 22 through May 4.

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