Off Broadway lures Ethan Coen

Filmmaker's three short plays to be performed

Writer-director Ethan Coen, whose latest film “No Country for Old Men” premiered in Cannes, will make his Off Broadway debut at the Atlantic Theater Company next season in a lineup that includes British playwright Jez Butterworth and Conor McPherson.

Atlantic artistic director Neil Pepe will direct the world premiere of Coen’s three short plays at the Atlantic’s second-space theater, Stage 2; the four-week limited engagement starts in January.

Pepe said that the premiere of Coen’s plays was part of an effort to establish Stage 2 as “a different, more intimate space” with programming distinct from the work playing on the mainstage.

In May, the Atlantic’s mainstage will house the U.S. premiere of McPherson’s “Port Authority,” a three-hander about three generations of lovelorn Irishmen. “Port Authority” was first staged at London’s New Ambassadors Theater in 2001. (Also in May, Stage 2 will premiere Annie Baker’s “Body Awareness,” a satire set at a Vermont College.)

Play is the second by McPherson (“Shining City”) announced for the 2007-08 season; “The Seafarer” is scheduled to play Broadway’s Booth Theater in the fall.

Butterworth’s new domestic drama, “Parlour Song,” will mark the playwright’s first full-length world premiere for the Atlantic. The company previously staged the scribe’s “Mojo” and “The Night Heron” and featured a one-act by Butterworth in its inaugural showcase last season at Stage 2.

Rounding out the season, the mainstage will premiere Lucy Thurber’s family drama “Scarcity” and Peter Parnell’s “Trumpery,” a play about Charles Darwin’s loss of faith and the formation of his theories. Parnell’s stage adaptation of “The Cider House Rules, Part I” played at the Atlantic in 1999.

Last season, the Chelsea-based theater staged the world premiere of rock musical “Spring Awakening,” which transferred to Broadway after its early-summer downtown run. The show is nominated for 11 Tonys, including musical.

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