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SCR to import two Brit works

July 02, 2008|By TOM TITUS

Were one to select, for purposes of illustration, two plays at opposite ends of the theatrical spectrum, a pair of excellent choices would be Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off.”

South Coast Repertory will offer audiences the chance to compare these two British imports during its 2008-09 season, along with four world premieres.

The new season will launch Sept. 5 with the first of the premieres, “An Italian Straw Hat” by John Strand and Dennis McCarthy on the Segerstrom Stage. Based on the classic farce by Eugene Labiche, the musical was presented as a staged reading at the 2007 Pacific Playwrights Festival and will be directed by Stefan Novinski, who staged the splendid “A Little Night Music” for SCR in 2007.

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SCR will be saving money on capital letters when it stages Sarah Ruhl’s “dead man’s cell phone” on the Julianne Argyros Stage, opening Sept. 21. Bart DeLorenzo (“Shipwrecked”) will direct the Twilight Zonish work.

Company co-founder Martin Benson will stage the oldie “The Heiress,” a psychological drama about love gone awry. It’ll be presented on the Segerstrom Stage, opening Oct. 17.

The second world premiere is Amy Freed’s new comedy “You, Nero” on the Argyros Stage.

Yes, it’s that Nero, the crazed Roman emperor who commissions a play that could be the Colosseum’s biggest hit — if it’s still standing by then. Sharon Ott directs, and the show opens Jan. 4.

Arguably the funniest comedy ever written is “Noises Off,” Michael Frayn’s farce focusing on a new play’s disastrous rehearsals and performances. SCR will mount it beginning Feb. 6 on the Segerstrom Stage, under the direction of Warner Shook.

The Costa Mesa theater commissioned its next entry, the world premiere of “Goldfish” by John Kolvenbach, which opens March 15 on the Argyros Stage. Loretta Greco will direct the bittersweet comedy about love lost and found.

The next slot, opening April 3 on the Segerstrom Stage, will be the company’s third world premiere — but it has yet to be selected. It will be incorporated into the 2009 Pacific Playwrights Festival.

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