If writing papers and frantically cramming for exams leaves you bored, or if the death of the repertory movie theaters in Cambridge has left you craving variety, the American Repertory Theater may hold a novel diversion this month.
Presenting plays ranging from a three-page-long "Skinhead Hamlet" to a night of performance art, the ART/Monday, which throughout the year sponsors talks and off-beat theater at the Loeb, has moved into the Experimental Theatre for a "Month of Mondays." They'll be presenting five plays and one selection of performances art in repertory, a total of 30 performances during January.
In addition, they will screen a documentary, "I Have a Dream," on January 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on the Loeb Mainstage. There will also be a free sit-down reading of "The Last Good Moment of Lilly Baker," a play by Russel Davis that the ART is considering for a performance on the Mainstage.
Many of the performances will feature members of the resident ART company and students from the newly-established Institute for Advanced Theatre Training. The rest will feature local artists.
The performances are on a tight budget, and A.R.T/Monday director R.J. Cutler '84 only aims to make back the $4000 ART will spend on the whole month. Admission will be $4, $3 for students, senior citizens and ART subscribers.
ART/Monday decided to stage the "Month" because the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC), which uses the black-box theater to perform student productions, does not schedule any student plays during exam period.
"When the undergraduates aren't around, we run in and grab what we can," said Wes Savick, who studies directing at the Institute. Savick is directing "Stone" a play by Edward Bond that opened this Monday. He is also directing "Skinhead Hamlet" a compressed parody by Richard Curtis that's written about English urban punks. The piece is so brief, in fact, that Savick's major worry right now is "how to fill the evening up, not leave people short."
Local Cambridge talents are also getting into the picture. Tamara Jones, who last year did "The Rise and Fall of Imelda Marcos" at the Loeb, will be doing a monologue called "Fugitive Love." This will be followed by a multi-media event by The Neo-Hobbyists, called "The Nervous System." This piece of performance art will feature "painting a huge map of the world, a lot of athletic events, and a great deal of music," Cutler said.
Cutler himself is directing three of the plays going up this month, "Ubu Roi" by Alfred Jarry, "The Tobaggonists" by Robert Auletta and "Harry's Christmas" by Stephen Berkoff. Although that play has only had about two weeks to rehearse, it will be the next to open, premiering on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The other two plays will have even less time to prepare, probably no more than three or four days.
Six of the seven acting students at the institute are involved in at least one of the plays. "We got together to pick the plays, and just found ones that had charcters that were right for each of us, that the director liked, that looked like a cool mix," said actor Dean Norris '85 of the "theme" of the month.
Wes Savick also thought the selection was a "nice mix," though "as we actually do the plays we begin to see rhymes in them. All these seem to be very angry plays, though I wouldn't subtitle this `a month of anger.'"