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Plot Twists Revise SCR's Second Stage

Business decision, change of heart prompt replacing Pinter, Goldfarb works with those by Orton, Guare.

May 31, 2000|MIKE BOEHM

A business decision on the East Coast and an aesthetic change of heart at home prompted South Coast Repertory's decision to replace two of the plays previously announced for the 2000-01 season on its Second Stage.

Instead of leading off the fall season with Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming," first seen at SCR in 1968, the Costa Mesa theater will offer another mid-'60s British work, Joe Orton's "Entertaining Mr. Sloane," which was staged at SCR in 1967.

Also deleted is "Modern Orthodox," a new play about religious differences among American Jews by emerging playwright Daniel Goldfarb. Rights to the play still were pending in March when SCR announced its November world premiere. David Emmes, the theater's producing artistic director, said last week that SCR's plans came in conflict with a commercial production of "Modern Orthodox" that is in the works. Taking its slot is John Guare's "Bosoms and Neglect," previously seen at SCR in 1981.

Another new Goldfarb play, "Dulce de Leche," is a contender for the open slot remaining on the Second Stage, Emmes said. Commissioned by SCR and set in a hotel's honeymoon suite in Buenos Aires, it will have a staged reading June 24 during the theater's annual Pacific Playwrights Festival.

"We are very high on Daniel's talent and we think this play has a lot of promise," Emmes said.

The substitution of Orton for Pinter was a matter of Martin Benson, the SCR co-founder who was to have directed "The Homecoming," rereading "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" and deciding he would rather direct it instead, Emmes said.

"Martin got really excited about it and felt it would work better. One of the key things we look for in any project is the passion of the director, and that tipped the scale."

The Mainstage season remains unchanged, with five announced plays and one open slot reserved for "a proven hit," as SCR's promotional brochure for the upcoming season puts it.

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