“The Aliens” by Annie Baker, whose “Circle Mirror Transformation” was directed by Muse, is likely to follow (opening dates for the shows have not yet been determined). Baker’s already having a big 2012; her “Body Awareness” opens at Theater J in August. Muse calls Baker’s writing “new naturalism” because “it’s not just an attempt to put the everyday on stage. There’s a boldness about it.” “The Aliens” follows two slackers who spend their summer trying not to get evicted from their squatters’ paradise — namely, a back alley of a coffeehouse in Vermont.
“The Motherf----- with the Hat,” the Broadway hit by Stephen Adly Guirgis, “feels like a Studio play,” said Muse. “It’s a comedy [that’s] not just a comedy.”
Muse’s first crack at a Tom Stoppard play will come with “The Real Thing,” which Muse plans to direct. A new American play, to be announced within a month or so, will feature Tana Hicken, who previously appeared in Studio’s productions of “The History Boys” and “The Road to Mecca.”
The Studio Lab show will be “Dirt,” a world premiere by Bryony Lavery. “It’s an opportunity to actually develop a work with Bryony, who’s just one of our favorite playwrights,” said Muse, who directed Lavery’s “Frozen” at Studio in 2006.
The 2ndStage production of “Contractions” by Mike Bartlett, whom Muse calls “arguably the hottest playwright in London,” will be a U.S. premiere.
New gal ‘On the Waterfront’
Kathleen Akerley, who is directing the American Century Theater’s production of “On the Waterfront,” has never seen the film. But she’s pretty sure she gets the idea.
“My understanding is, it’s [Marlon] Brando, muttering realism.” She laughs. “My ignorance is vast!”
Realism, however, is not Akerley’s thing, as evidenced by her work as the artistic director of Longacre Lea, a company that focuses on the “absurdism” in the human condition. “It’s not a play I would’ve picked on my own,” she said of “On the Waterfront.” “I’m not very adept at realism.”
But, she discovered, “it turns out the script itself needn’t be realistic. For example, roughly speaking, there are two categories of people in any given scene: the people who control work, and workers.”
“It’s very Marxist,” she went on. “To me, when a play does that, it opens the door for the director and production to really stylize it. What does it mean to be in a world where personal relations take a back seat to work?”