Life is going along busily for Preston Jones, though New York didn't take to "A Texas Trilogy" the way Washington did.
Tonight Santa Fe, N.M., sees his somewhat revised "A Place in the Magdalena Flats," originally presented at the Dallas Theater Center. At the Greer Garson Theater of the College of Santa Fe, the new play runs through Sunday under the direction of John Weekesser.
London's Hampstead Theater has just opened "The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia" to rave reviews. Bernard Levin, of the Sunday Times and possibly the most brash of the current English critics, wrote:
"To call the play Shavian would be, extrordinarily enough, to dimish it; its shrewdness is no less but its heart is bigger. Yet it is never sentimental, which is the last of Mr. Jone's achievements, and perhaps the most remarkable of all . . . I shall long remember a wise, generous and very funny play."
The aim now is to find a larger theater to continue the London run of this one-third of "A Texas Trilogy."
Another new playwright, Christopher Durang, is bound for Arena Stage. North Carolina's Playmakers Company at Chapel Hill will present his "A History of the American Film" in late March, after which comes the Kreeger production May 13, June 26, as well as other productions of the same play at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Hartford (Conn.) Stage Company. Playwright Durang will be in residence at Arena under the Rockefeller Foundation grant.
Also new for the Folger Theater Group is "Black Elk Speaks," to open March 22. Christopher Sergel has taken his play from a seminal work of Indian history by John G. Neihardt. Through his association with the Cee tribe in British Columbia and northern Ontario, Sergel has integrated from primary sources further words and actions of those involved in the 19th-century Indian experience. Previews begin March 22, with a run through April 24.
Back Alley Theater has received a Ford Foundation grant of $4,700, earkmarked for two original plays. First of these will be Rose Leiman Goldemberg's "Gandhiji," a work about Gandhi, to run March 25 through April 17, and "Tricks," a black musical by Donald Alexander, to play June 24 through July 31, Douglas Young's "Miss Doris Anderson" has been produced in its Works-in-Progress series and next in this will be Larry Baukin's "Jimmy is Home," March 15 and 22.
William Shust, whose performance at Arena Stage of "The Egg" by Felicien Marceau rated high praise, returns in the title role of "A Man for All Seasons," continuing the guest artist policy of the Hartke Theater. William H. Graham will direct the Robert Bolt drama about Sir Thomas More. Shust also is a Anton Chekhov also to be found on discs. The 15-performance run begins March 4.
Williamburg's Paul Green open-air drama, "The Common Glory," which has been playing for 28 summers, will not be produced this year. Attendance dipped last summer from 44,000 to 34,000, causing a $12,000 debt. As such things go that's not a large sum but the Jamestown Corporation evidently has lost heart.
With the Eisenhower's "Annie" now opening March 5, that Saturday's matinee has been cancelled, but two performances have been added for Sunday, the 6th at 2 and 7:30 p.m. . . . Les Bateleurs, Georgetown University's French theater company, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. repeated "Racinorama/Arrabalorama," a montage of scenes from Jean Racine and Fernando-Arrabel in the university's Hall of Nations, 36th and N Streets, NW. Further details at 965-2343 . . . The Bleecker St. Players will introduce "An Arrangement of Words," by Joan Bonato, in Grace Church G'town for Thursday-Sunday performances March 3-20; details at 966-2584 . . . "The All Night Strut" will continue at Ford's through March 27 making its 12-week run the season's longest.