Noel, Nora, Nottage and Things: Westport Country Playhouse announces its 2014 season

Posted by on August 13, 2013

The Westport Country Playhouse has announced its 2014 season. Due to the theater’s unorthodox (in these parts anyhow) spring-to-fall scheduling scheme, the season won’t kick off until eight months from now. The anticipation is largely sweet.

The season-opener, April 29 through May 17, has already been known for a while, since it’s a co-production with Hartford Stage, which announced its own season months ago. It’s Noel Coward’s A Song at Twilight, the final play in which this eminent thespian served as both author and star. The co-produced revival is significant since this is the first show Lamos has done at Hartford Stage since he was the theater’s artistic director from the late ’70s into the mid-’90s. Interestingly, of all Noel Coward’s dozens of plays, A Song at Twilight was also chosen by Arvin Brown to direct at the Long Wharf Theater shortly before he left his post as artistic director there in the early ’90s. The play clearly has some special charm for Connecticut. It’s set in Switzerland, and concerns an aging writer (allegedly based on Somerset Maugham, with some attributes of Coward himself) who’s been covering up his homosexuality for most of his life and now confronts a visitor who calls him on the foul manner in which he treated a particular ex-lover.
The second slot, June 10-28, is yet to be announced, but whatever it is, Lamos has already attached himself to it as director. Mayhaps it’s a new work? The last couple of seasons, WCP has brought in some new plays, including the one there right now.
The July 15 through August 2 choice is inspired, for a regional theater that prizes its history as an all-star summer stock house but also wants to connect with the modern theater world. David Kennedy will direct the Frederick J. Marker/Lisa Lone Marker translation of stage/screen genius Ingmar Bergman’s late 20th century adaptation of Hendrik Ibsen’s early 20th century masterpiece A Doll’s House. Again, there’s some local precedent for such programming: two of Bergman’s own films were adapted for Yale Rep and Yale Cabaret stage productions in recent years. Doll’s House, of course, has been done all over the place forever.
Cheery Brit farce, a mainstay genre for the WCP, rears its bubbly head August 19 through September 6 with Alan Ayckbourn’s little-seen-in-the-states Thing We Do For Love, which the prolific playwright/director wrote in 1997 and which concerns sibling rivalry and relationship hijinks. There’s a neat BBC adaptation of the play which occasionally gets rerun on the BBC Radio 4 streaming radio site, which uses the 1997 song “Things We Do for Love” by 10cc as its theme song. No director or other details have been mentioned for the Westport production.
The main season ends October 7-25 with a Lynn Nottage play, Intimate Apparel. Nottage was a regional theater favorite long before she won a Pulitzer. Another strong choice in a diverse and potentially delightful season.
One reason for announcing seasons over half a year before they happen is so a theater can sell subscriptions. So subscribe: Westport Country Playhouse, (203) 227-4177, www.westportplayhouse.org

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