SOUTHBURY, Conn. — A theatrical mystery is unfolding at the Barrington Stage Company, the summer theater based in Sheffield, Mass. Just who wrote “Ciao!,” the new “black comedy about a modern-day Everyman” that closes the BSC season this summer?
According to artistic director Julianne Boyd and managing director Gary Mitchell, the play was submitted to the theater anonymously, and they still don’t know who wrote it.
“It’s certainly by a thoroughly professional writer, probably even someone who has had plays produced in the past,” Mitchell says. “We don’t know why he or she submitted it anonymously, but maybe it’s because the play is so personal, so biographical.”
Boyd, who will be directing the new play for an August 8-25 run at Sheffield’s Consolati Performing Arts Center, is working with the playwright via his or her email address. They have achieved a number of rewrites, including a new ending.
Mitchell adds that an intermediary may be appointed through whom the BSC can work more closely with the playwright.
The script was submitted to the BSC in November, along with an anonymous note stating that the playwright had seen the BSC’s production of Suzanne Bradbeer’s new play, “Full Bloom,” liked and admired it, and would be delighted if the BSC wanted to produce the world premiere of “Ciao!”
The BSC says that the play’s main character, a successful businessman named Arthur Allman, discovers some startling news about his future that causes him to assess his life and those closest to him. The BSC adds that the play is “a fantastical comedy of life, death — and the absurd, affecting journey that lies between.”
The theater’s 200l season will open June 20 with a revival of the 1978 Betty Comden/Adolph Green/Cy Coleman musical “On the Twentieth Century,” directed by Boyd with choreography by Daniel Pelzig and musical direction by Darren Cohen. It runs through July 14 and will be followed by Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” directed by Rob Ruggiero, July 18-Aug. 4. Next on the schedule is “Ciao!”