LIKE SO MANY of us, Peter Foy was up in the air about his career when he was a teen-ager. But that was many years ago, and Foy's job still has him sky high.
Foy is president of Foy Inventerprises, and you might say he's a flight attendant. But not the kind that serves coffee in the aisles. Foy helps other people fly, on stages and on big and small screens. He's flown three of the most famous Peter Pans -- Mary Martin, Jean Arthur and Sandy Duncan -- and he still arranges air accommodations for 150 Peter Pans a year. He's also given Sally Field (as "The Flying Nun"), Lucille Ball and others their wings. And his Las Vegas-based company designed the spectacular aerial techniques that have Martha Clarke's dancers soaring and spinning out over the audience at the Warner Theater in "The Garden of Earthly Delights" through Saturday.
Foy's own flight pattern began at age 15, when he became fascinated by the backstage business in a London production of "Where the Rainbow Ends." "What I originally wanted to be was an actor-writer," Foy says. "But after World War II, England was flooded with us actor-writers. In 1957 I got into a show that was going to Broadway, and I thought, if this show is a hit, it could run for years, and I'm going to be stuck here. Right then, I realized I didn't actually enjoy acting. Once it was done, and I'd done it for a week, I was very bored with it. Of course, I love long- running shows, though -- they finance all the other crazy things we do.
"Free flight in a two-wire harness is a wonderful, exhilarating sensation. You can do somersaults over the audience," says Foy who prefers to help other people hit the heights now. "Everyone secretly wishes he could fly, and it can provide quite an emotional charge in the theater."
The Washington Performing Arts Society will sponsor a free discussion with the cast members of "Garden," Saturday, 1 p.m. at Franz Bader Gallery, 17th and Pennsylvania NW. Call 393-3600.
They can no longer avoid mentioning it: actors refer to "Macbeth" in hushed tones as "that Scottish play," because of a long-held superstition that the play is jinxed. Last Wednesday's opening night of "Macbeth" didn't do much to dispel the play's reputation. Press night for the much-anticipated Broadway-bound production starring Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer wasn't a dire disaster, but it was plagued by a series of minor mishaps, starting as Plummer made his entrance, walked to the front of the stage and kicked a microphone. The producers (which include the Mechanic Theater and Cineplex-Odeon president Garth H. Drabinsky) asked Washington critics to postpone reviewing the show.
The production is undergoing some changes. Director Ken Frankel, the associate artistic director of Long Wharf Theater who was to make his Broadway debut with the two headstrong stars, was fired before opening night in Baltimore. He's being replaced by Robin Phillips of the Stratford Festival, but Phillips reportedly doesn't want his name put in the playbill. Set designer Tony Walton is also be on his way out, and he's taking his set with him: It's an almost open stage with rock concert-style dry ice fog, and big sheets of brownish melted rubber. Luckily, that Scottish play has a wee bit of time to get
ts act together -- the pre-New York tour runs 11 weeks, next stop Pittsburgh. And at least the producers won't have to call anyone in for rewrites.
Stage struck: Opening night of Round House Theater's "Zastrozzi," scheduled for last Monday, was delayed a week by cast injuries. George C. Walker's play is a swashbuckler, with no less than eight swordfights, and Round House settled on it largely because they thought they had the services of athletic actor Tom Schall and fight choreographer David Leong, both skilled in swordfighting. But Schall and Leong got a better offer (ironically, in "Macbeth") leaving the Round House high and dry.
Mitchell Patrick stepped in to replace Schall; the fights were choreographed by James Finney. But while rehearsing a brawl, actor Chris Hurt was accidentally punched in the mouth by Mark Bieckmann. Hurt had to have his teeth realigned, while Bieckmann had to get a tetanus shot. And then actor Steve LeBlanc fell off the shadowy multilevel stage, injuring his shoulder. So, sports fans, "Zastrozzi" certainly sounds like an action-packed show, but you might not want to sit in the front row.
While we're on the subject of staged violence, Horizons Theater is presenting a panel discussion on the subject of how violence against women is depicted on stage and in film. The discussion is in conjunction with Horizons' production of Marisha Chamberlain's "Scheherazade," in which a rape victim uses her wiles to keep her attacker at bay until she can get revenge.
Panelists include director Gillian Drake, Susan E. Hyde, director of Rape Crisis Service in Connecticut, actress Joni Lee Jones, and theater critic Bob Mondello; Horizons artistic director Leslie Jacobson will moderate, Monday, 7:30 p.m. at the theater. Admission is $5; call 342-5503.
Bulletin Board: Washington actor- playwright T. J. Edwards' Helen Hayes Award-winning "New York Mets" receives a staged reading at New York's Circle Rep this Friday . . . Washington Stage Guild's delightful revival of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" has been extended through February 21 . . . To mark the 10th anniversary of the Terrace Theater, which was given by the people of Japan to the United States, the Kennedy Center is importing a full-scale Japanese Broadway-style musical, "Utamaro," February 17 and 18. Based on the life of the famous woodblock artist (the Freer Gallery holds several of his works), the musical will be performed in Japanese with English subtitles . . . A timely reading: Nancy Ellen Morgan's "Behold the Mighty Acorn" will be presented in a staged reading at Source's Warehouse Rep Tuesday at 8 p.m. It's about a senator with a secret in his past . . . Through February 13, Wordstage, a readers theater in Arlington is presenting "The Devil's Lexicographer." Bob Ashby adapted the original evening of selections by American cynic, satirist and author Ambrose Bierce, whose "Devil's Dictionary" offers this definition of a Washingtonian: "n. A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to."