'June' based on a 13th-century Chinese tale

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — A world premiere by Charles L. Mee and works by Chekhov, Shakespeare, Pinter, Moliere and Sophocles have been announced for the 2003-04 season of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. It’s the second season under the joint leadership of artistic director Robert Woodruff, associate artistic director Gideon Lester and executive director Robert J. Orchard.

The new Mee play, “Snow in June,” is described as a “wild tragicomedy” based on a 13th-century Chinese tale about a young girl who returns to Earth as a ghost to take revenge on the society that permitted her murder.

The ART season will open in September with an adaptation of Chekhov’s short story “Lady With a Lapdog,” written and staged by Russian director Kama Ginkas. Ginkas is also the adapter and director of Chekhov’s “Rothschild’s Fiddle” at the Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven, Conn., next January.

But while the production at Yale will be in Russian, with English supertitles, and performed by Moscow’s MTYZ Theater/Moscow New Generations Theater, the ART production will be in English, with Ginkas working with American actors for the first time.

“Snow in June” is set for a December opening. It will be directed by young Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng, who will combine Eastern and Western theatrical traditions in collaboration with set designer Yi Li Ming.

The third production will be a Martha Clarke staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with sets by her longtime collaborator Robert Israel. Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” will follow, staged by JoAnne Akalaitis. Woodruff will stage Sophocles’ “Oedipus.”

The final offering will be a joint production with Minneapolis-based Theatre de la Jeune Lune of Moliere’s “The Miser.” One of Jeune Lune’s founding artists, Dominique Serrand, will direct.

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