PROJECT SHAW, now celebrating the fourth year of its acclaimed series, continues tackling every play George Bernard Shaw ever wrote. The group presented THE SIMPLETON OF THE UNEXPECTED ISLES and THE SIX OF CALAIS on Monday June 15th. This was its 39th presentation evening.
These rarely performed comedies by George Bernard Shaw at The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South. David Staller is producer and director of the series.
The first play performed was 'THE SIMPLETON OF THE UNEXPECTED ISLES' which is described as Shaw's epic-sized one-hour comedy about an experiment in living: The world is in an uproar over three couples, four children, one reformed pirate who is secretly a clergyman, and an angel.
Second for the evening was 'THE SIX OF CALAIS' An almost true historical saga! The profoundly pregnant queen of Edward III does her bit for saving the war-besieged Calais.
The Cast for these readings included Daphne Rubin-Vega, Donna Lynne Champlin, Josh Grisetti, Victor Slezak, John Bolton, JACK BERENHOLTZ, Nora Chester, SIMON KENDALL, JAMES PRENDERGAST, Nathaniel Shaw, Georgia Warner, LUCY BANKS SHEFTALL. The host for the evening was theatrical critic, David Cote of TIME OUT NY.
The Players is New York's most legendary private club. The former residence of Edwin Booth, it became a club for those interested in the arts in 1888.
Among those actors who have previously appeared are Marian Seldes, Brian Murray, Cheyenne Jackson, Megan Mullally, Karen Ziemba, Jayne Houdyshell, Blair Brown, John Cullum, Veanne Cox, Marc Kudisch, Rebecca Luker, Cheyenne Jackson, Charlotte Rae, Fritz Weaver, Kate Mulgrew, Charles Busch, Gary Beach and Kathleen Widdoes.
As Shaw began his theatrical life as a critic, (and since we don't invite reviews), members of the press have also been involved in each reading. Those who have introduced or acted include Jeremy McCarter, Howard Kissel, Charles Isherwood, Michael Riedel, John Simon, Frank Scheck, David Cote, Adam Feldman, Rex Reed, Roma Torre, David Finkle, Eric Grode, and Robert Simonson.
GTG has announced the following plays for the rest of 2009. PROJECT SHAW 2009 on Mondays at 7pm.
July 20: Mrs. Warren's Profession
September 21: Back to Methuselah PART ONE
October 19: Back to Methuselah PART TWO
November 16: On The Rocks
December 14: Why She Would Not (Shaw's unfinished final play)
In addition to PROJECT SHAW, GTG is also producing a successful new play development program. Named for one of Shaw' inflammatory one-acts, PRESS CUTTINGS: the new plays. As Shaw was a theater critic before becoming a playwright, all writers are currently on-staff critics or journalists devoted to covering the theater scene. The three writers chosen for the first year's cycle will be David Cote, Jeremy McCarter and Robert Simonson. These plays will be developed in a year-long workshop process. Once their own theatre space is secured, GTG will be presenting a full season including two fully mounted Shaw plays and at least one new play. These plays are to focus on the Shavian precepts involving individual human rights, political and social responsibility and the comic absurdity of daily life.
Photos courtesy of PROJECT SHAW.