'God's Man,' 'Unexpected Man,' Circus Are Set for Geffen Season

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles premiere of Yasmina Reza's "The Unexpected Man," David Rambo's "God's Man in Texas" and "Do Jump!"--a circus performance ensemble that blends dance, acrobatics, aerial work, humor and music--will be among the offerings onstage during the 2001-2002 season at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.

The season lineup, to be announced today by Geffen producing director Gilbert Cates, kicks off Sept. 19-Oct. 21 with "The Unexpected Man," the tale of two strangers, a disillusioned male novelist and a mysteriously silent woman, who meet on a train. Directed by Maria Mileaf, the drama will feature Olivier Award-winning actress Eileen Atkins.

"Do Jump!," a Portland, Ore.-based troupe of about a dozen performers and musicians, follows from Nov. 14 to Dec. 16. Cates said the theater plans to host street performances by the troupe outside the Geffen every day during the run. Cates hopes the troupe will have the same sort of audience appeal as celebrity caricaturist Ennio Marchetto, who performed his one-man show at the theater in December. "I have been trying to get a circus here for five years," Cates said. "It's an adult attraction, these are very serious artists, but a show that children can also enjoy."

Geffen artistic director Randall Arney, who directed this season's "The Weir," will stage "God's Man in Texas," the story of 81-year-old Dr. Phillip Gattschall, the creator of a mega-church who summons a charismatic reverend to audition candidates for a new leader of the church, from Feb. 5 to March 17.

Next on the schedule is "He Hunts," a new translation by Philip Littell of Georges Feydeau's three-character romantic farce "Monsieur Chasse!" directed by David Schweizer, from April 17 to May 19.

Cates will direct the fifth and last production of the season, a new play to be announced at a later date, slated for June 19-July 21. Cates last directed 1999's "Collected Stories," starring Linda Lavin.

Cates said that the Geffen usually tries to leave the last production of the season open. "We are looking at two plays that are really intriguing, but one of the reasons we've always liked to leave one play unannounced is it leaves us a great deal of flexibility," Cates said. "There are a lot of new plays being written, with very few good ones. We probably read, at this point, 800 to 900 new plays a year. If, in October or November, a play becomes available that is sensational, we'd be able to go with that."

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For ticket information, call the Geffen Playhouse box office at (310) 208-5454 or visit the playhouse Web site, www.geffenplayhouse.com.

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