Cocktail Hour at the Guthrie
A.R. Gurney’s The Cocktail Hour is an old-fashioned, witty-yet-brittle comedy. The scion of an upper-middle-class family in Upstate New York has returned at the eponymous time of day to tell his parents and sister that he’s written an autobiographical play.
British director Maria Aitken, who makes her Guthrie debut this month, staged the play a year ago at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, her American home. Until then, she hadn’t really appreciated it. “I didn’t realize the depth. I didn’t realize the complexity of light and shade,” she says. “The play you’re watching is the play they’re discussing.”
Aitken doesn’t usually do productions of the same play so close together, but she wanted to work at the Guthrie before the end of the Dowling era. The two have been friends since 1999, when they both directed at the Chichester Festival in England. “Joe’s asked me several times and this is the first time that’s worked out.”
She has been to the Guthrie only briefly, in order to check out the facilities. So what does she think of it so far? “There is civic pride oozing out the building,” she says. Nov. 22-Jan. 4.
Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls, 612-377-2224, guthrietheater.org