Arena Stage is going to Hong Kong.
The 6-year-old Hong Kong International Arts Festival - which has previously sponsored appearances by the likes of Margot Fonteyn, Isaac Stern, the London Philharmonic and the Peking Opera - has invited Arena for an all-expenses-paid visit in February 1980. Arena, the first American theater company to be invited, will perform Arthur Miller's "After the Fall" and George S. Kaufman's and Moss Hart's "You Can't Take It With You."
Both shows will also be part of the 1979-80 Arena schedule. For "After the Fall," directed by Arena founder Zelda Fichandler, Hong Kong represents an out-of-town tryout before its opening at Arena's main stage. The Kaufman/Hart play will be done at the Kreeger before the trip to Hong Kong.
This will be the second tour in Arena's 29-year history. In 1973, Arena was the first American company to appear in the Soviet Union, doing "Our Town" and "Inherit the Wind."
"We get invited to a festival about once a month," says David Chambers, Arena's acting producing director. But offers to pay for the trips are far rarer, he adds.
In 1976, Arena was invited to perform in Israel and, according to executive director Thomas Fichandler, "the money they offered us was about enough to get us to Hoboken."
"Our company loved going to Russia," says Fichandler. For an actor, he says, foreign tours are part of the reason for joining an established troupe.
The balance of Arena's 1979-80 schedule, including hometown plans for the weeks when its regular actors will be in Hong Kong, will be announced soon.