For its 2002-2003 season, Portland Center Stage will mix a couple of chestnuts about difficult women with a West Coast premiere and some less-performed works by significant playwrights.
The productions are:
• 'Much Ado About Nothing,' by William Shakespeare
(Sept. 24-Oct. 20)
Shakespeare's romantic comedy matches a pair of smarty-pants who out-half-wit themselves trying not to fall in love. The cast is large and the action chaotic, with mistaken identities and misfiring tricks.
• 'True West,' by Sam Shepard
(Oct. 29-Nov. 17)
A violent study of the failure of the American dream, Shepard's play traps two brothers into
settling a lifetime score: A Hollywood playwright tries to finish a project while his hoodlum brother torments him. Cast with Hispanic actors in the present.
• 'The Santaland Diaries,' by David Sedaris
'A Christmas Memory,' by Truman Capote
(Dec. 3-Dec. 23)
In 'Diaries,' National Public Radio commentator Sedaris reports from the front lines of Macy's as one of Santa's elves. Wickedly incisive, this is a Christmas story for adults. Paired with it is 'A Christmas Memory,' which offers Capote's childhood reminiscences of his eccentric family in rural Alabama. Think Capote before he had attitude.
• 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' by Edward Albee
(Jan. 14-Feb. 9, 2003)
Albee's wrenching story is a living testament to divorce as a long-married couple torment each other through an alcoholic evening. The production was made famous by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who might not have been acting.
• 'Outrage,' by Itamar Moses
(Feb. 18- Mar. 9, 2003)
A play from the Portland Center Stage festival Just Add Water/West, Moses' story has a college grapple with a $40 million donation, helped by Plato, Galileo, Socrates and Brecht.
• 'Man and Superman,' by George Bernard Shaw
(Mar. 25-Apr. 13, 2002)
Shaw had just married at age 40 when he turned popular opinion upside down with this witty study of women chasing men. It includes a sharp dialogue between an embattled Don Juan and the devil.
Ñ Paul Duchene