For more than two decades, AT has wowed us with material that other companies pass up, as anyone who saw their awe-inspiring production of The Pillowman late last season can attest. This season, AT is bringing us the equally provocative The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh, as well as Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire and the world premire of Speak Spanish to Me, a commissioned piece by Bernardo Solano about a young love affair at Arizona State University.
Who else but Actors Theatre would bring us such a diverse, risky season? No one.
As Garcia would want us to quickly point out, the play was only being workshopped. A full production will premire sometime soon, he promises. And we can't wait. Castro was Arizona's first (and only, to this day) Hispanic governor, and his tenure (although brief, from 1975-77) was fascinating, topped only by the stories of his youth and his time as ambassador to El Salvador, Colombia and Argentina.
We don't want to ruin the story, if you don't know it already. We just want to say that you must see the play when Garcia premires it. We hope Marcos Najera (full disclosure: he now writes for us at New Times) is in the cast. He did a terrific job in the workshop. And we hope you're there for a performance where the governor happens to be in attendance. The day we saw In a Glass House, we had a good view of Governor Castro, throughout. The old guy's now in his 90s but is looking relatively spry. He took the stage afterward for a Q&A and repeated the quote that opens the play: "I don't want to be loved. I want to be respected." He got that, certainly, from Garcia. "Tears came to my eyes," Castro said, "reminiscing about my life."
That she was able to make us love Jenkins in spite of her pompous self made this performance all the more worthy of mention. Here's hoping Kaye returns to her old stomping grounds more often.
May also helmed Stray Cat's sterling production of Sarah Kane's difficult 4.48 Psychosis and, at ASU, he worked his magic on Love's Fire, a tricky collection of short plays based on Shakespeare's sonnets. And no one's forgetting May's subtle, colorful comic relief the season before as a lovable doofus in Nearly Naked Theatre's Take Me Out.
Theater fans are eager to witness May's contributions to the just-launched 2007 season, which can only be improved by whatever he brings to the stage.
He's Neil Cohen, a man who isn't afraid to play Solitaire in a giant, rick-racked party dress before hundreds of people. Lucky thing, too, because Cohen might well be the only actor in town who could have brought Rhoda Penmark to such big, bold life. He's certainly the only actor who could possibly upstage former New Times columnist Paul Braun, whose return to the stage after nearly 30 years also involved wearing a frock or two, not to mention a couple of droopy bad seed oops! We mean bird seed! breasts. Did someone say, "A memorable night at the theater?"