You can do a George Bernard Shaw play just about any time, but a West
Coast premiere doesn’t come about that often, so the Laguna Playhouse has
shelved its announced production of “Candida” to make room for “The Shape
of Things to Come.” This new play by Neil LaBute -- about an audacious
art student and a callow young man who falls in love with her -- which
opens June 1, will be the first U.S. production since the author directed
it in London and New York last year.
“It’s a pretty major coup for the playhouse to have been granted the
rights to this play,” said Richard Stein, executive director of the
Laguna theater, who will stage the production.
“Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle and I thought it was worth
postponing ‘Candida’ to a future season in order to secure this play.”
“The Shape of Things” centers on the ever-changing relationship among
four college students, focusing on the gregarious art major and the shy
young man who falls for her. According to the director, the play also
“boldly questions the aesthetic yardsticks of today, insisting that we
consider morality a defining characteristic of art.” And, he adds, it
comes with a really surprising ending.
Playwright LaBute probably is best known for his movie work, which
includes his feature film debut, “In the Company of Man,” which won the
New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Filmmakers Trophy at the
Sundance Film Festival in 1997. He also directed the popular Rene
Zelleweger comedy “Nurse Betty.”
The playhouse won’t exactly be idle until “Shape” opens, however. This
weekend marks the opening of the theater’s new Youth Theater production,
entitled “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” --
and the show already is sold out.
Originally scheduled for two weekends of Friday-through-Sunday
performances, “Alexander” now will have a special staging at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 16.
Staged by Youth Theater director Joe Lauderdale, the play -- adapted
by its author, Judith Viorst, into a musical theater piece -- concerns a
young man who learns to cope when things go continually awry. It’s
suitable for ages 5 and older. Information: 497-2787.
Stein and Barnicle are on the verge of revealing the 2002-03 season at
the 82-year-old Laguna Playhouse, but all the contracts aren’t signed
yet. Expect an announcement -- replete with new plays as yet unseen by
local audiences -- within the next few weeks.