Is This the Trinity Rep or the Taper?

<i> Don Shirley is a Times staff writer</i>

Although Oskar Eustis left his job as associate artistic director of the Taper recently to become artistic director of Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I., he certainly hasn’t forgotten his L.A. friends. The next Trinity season looks like the Trinity has become the Taper-on-the-Narragansett.

In fact, Eustis will spend more time in Los Angeles than in Providence during the next few months, as he directs Eduardo Machado’s “Floating Islands” at the Taper--a job he insisted on being able to complete before he signed on at Providence.

While Eustis is busy in L.A., the first Trinity production under his tenure will be Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” directed by L.A.'s own Dakin Matthews, manager of the Taper-based Antaeus Company, which recently staged Chekhov’s “The Wood Demon” on the Taper mainstage. But it won’t be an Antaeus production--the Trinity company will make up the cast.

The next Trinity production will be an import of David Schweizer’s staging of Lisa Loomer’s “The Waiting Room,” now on stage at the Taper. Again, the cast will be Trinity-based, although June Kyoko Lu will repeat her Taper role.


Elsewhere on the season will be L.A.-based Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s “From the Mississippi Delta,” which was given a staged reading in the Taper’s old Itchey Foot series, and “Slavs!,” by Tony Kushner, with whom Eustis collaborated on the Taper’s “Angels in America.”

Three other offerings--"A Christmas Carol,” a new adaptation of “Moby Dick” and “God’s Heart"--have no Taper connection. But Trinity is taking up the shepherding of Craig Lucas’ “God’s Heart” from South Coast Repertory, where it previously had been slated for a winter production. Trinity will present it in the spring--which at least theoretically won’t conflict with the wintertime production schedule for the film version of Lucas’ “Reckless.” South Coast cited the filming schedule and its own inability to shift its season when it canceled its own production of “God’s Heart,” and Eustis snapped it up.


NOISES WITHOUT: A Noise Within, the Glendale classical company, isn’t waiting until its home base is expanded into a larger facility. It’s launching an ambitious touring program that will take it to at least five larger theaters next year--complete with Actors’ Equity contracts for the casts.


A revival of last season’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” will go out to the Norris in Palos Verdes (Jan. 11-13), Campbell Hall at UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 19) and the Annenberg Center in Palm Springs (Jan. 21), interrupted by a Jan. 14-15 return engagement at home in Glendale. Then, in May, “Earnest” will play the Poway Center (May 4-14), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will play the Norris ((May 24-26), and both shows will be in rep at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (May 31-June 4), the group’s first out-of-state gig.

The company has received a $2.5-million allocation of Glendale redevelopment money to move up to larger quarters within Glendale. But the tours “allow us to pay the actors while our facility is being planned,” said artistic co-director Art Manke.

Meanwhile, those of us who had been delighted to hear that A Noise Within was finally replacing its old, hard pews with theater seats for next fall’s season will have to wait a while longer. The donated seats, originally from a movie theater, were of the rocking variety, which Manke said might distract from, say, the three-hour “King Lear” that will open the season. However, he promises extra padding on the old pews, including the pew backs. And he defends the pews on the grounds that “theater started in a church” and because pews encourage “a communal feel” that unites the audience.

In pain, perhaps?