COSTA MESA — South Coast Repertory will produce Richard Hellesen's "Moonshadow," first staged in 1987 by the Sacramento Theatre Company, as part of the California Play Festival.
The play about the Vietnam War is to run from April 30 to June 2. The 34-year-old Hellesen, who lives in Fullerton, said it will receive a simultaneous production at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays (May 7 to 25).
"Moonshadow," which takes its title from a Cat Stevens song, is set in 1969 on the day that Neil A. Armstrong first walked on the moon. Hellesen calls it "a before-war play," noting that the U.S. moon landing is "juxtaposed against a family seeing its son off to Vietnam."
Theater officials chose the drama for CalFest's "new play" slot on the SCR Second Stage after a lengthy search for an original unproduced script proved fruitless.
SCR artistic director Martin Benson, who will stage "Moonshadow," said in a recent interview that several scripts were being considered for world premieres but that difficulties had arisen either over obtaining rights or adapting them to the 161-seat theater's three-quarter-round space.
"Moonshadow," in addition to its Sacramento premiere, received a 1989 production at Stage West in Ft. Worth. Hellesen said the play also had a 1987 staged reading at the WPA Theatre in New York and a 1990 reading at First Stage in Los Angeles.
Another of Hellesen's plays, "Once in Arden," had its world premiere in 1990 on the SCR Mainstage. His most frequently mounted work is an adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," which has been produced annually by the Sacramento Theatre since 1987.
Hellesen has also written three children's plays for SCR--"Gift Rap" and "The 12 Dancing Princesses," both in 1990, and this year's "Face 2 Face," now on tour in Southern California schools.