Malkovich, Anderson top ArtsEmerson bill

'Mabou Mines DollHouse,' adapted from the Ibsen classic, makes its Boston premiere on Nov. 1-6. "Mabou Mines DollHouse," adapted from the Ibsen classic, makes its Boston premiere on Nov. 1-6. (Richard Termine)
By Laura Collins-Hughes
Globe Staff / May 6, 2011

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Actor John Malkovich, performance artist Laurie Anderson, choreographer Martha Clarke, and director Robert Lepage are all slated to be part of ArtsEmerson’s 2011-12 season, a lineup that also includes work by Mabou Mines, SITI Company, Kuwait’s Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre, and Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland.

The 15 shows in ArtsEmerson’s second season, announced today, are two fewer than the organization presented in its inaugural season. Executive director Robert J. Orchard said the slight scaling back is partially in response to theatergoers who felt overwhelmed by the number of offerings this year.

“Some people were complaining,’’ Orchard said. “They said, ‘You’re doing too much.’ ’’

New York-based Foundry Theatre will launch the season with the world premiere of “How Much Is Enough: Our Values in Question,’’ running Sept. 13-25 at the Paramount Center’s newly named Jackie Liebergott Black Box theater. A socially conscious, talk-show-style piece written by Kirk Lynn, it is constructed from questions performers will ask audience members.

“The work does not exist without an audience,’’ Orchard said. “It will be rehearsed with an audience.’’

Anderson’s “Delusion,’’ a 90-minute, multimedia solo piece, will run Sept. 27-Oct. 2 at the Paramount Theatre. Meanwhile at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Malkovich will play a serial killer in “The Infernal Comedy,’’ making its US premiere there Sept. 29-30. Written and directed by Michael Sturminger, the piece combines drama with Baroque opera. Martin Haselböck will conduct the Musica Angelica Orchestra on period instruments.

Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre will bring “The Speaker’s Progress’’ to the Paramount Theatre Oct. 12-16. An exploration of events in the contemporary Mideast, it is adapted from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night’’ and performed in English and Arabic with English supertitles.

The Civilians, the New York-based troupe that performed “In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards’’ at ArtsEmerson in January, will return Oct. 25-30 with “You Better Sit Down: Tales From My Parents’ Divorce’’ at the Paramount Theatre. The piece is based on cast members’ interviews with their parents.

“Mabou Mines DollHouse,’’ adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama, will make its Boston premiere Nov. 1-6 at the Cutler Majestic. Director Lee Breuer won a 2004 Obie Award for the production, in which the women tower over the men, all played by actors under 4 1/2 feet tall.

Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland will bring “Moby Dick,’’ its telling of the Herman Melville novel, to the Black Box Nov. 7-12. “Angel Reapers,’’ an 80-minute musical with Shaker hymns, will play the Cutler Majestic Nov. 15-20. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy’’), it is directed and choreographed by Clarke.

Robbie McCauley, the Obie Award-winning playwright and Emerson College professor, will perform “Sugar,’’ a world-premiere one-woman show about diabetes and its intersection with race, class, and gender, Jan. 20-29 at the Black Box.

“69°S.,’’ Phantom Limb Company’s new piece about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition, will play the Paramount Theatre Feb. 7-12. Combining theater, dance, and puppetry, it includes music by the Kronos Quartet.

“Circa,’’ a circus show by the Australian troupe of the same name, will come to the Paramount Theatre Feb. 29-March 4. “Ameriville,’’ a musical exploration of the post-Hurricane Katrina United States by the New York ensemble Universes, will make its Boston premiere March 13-18 at the Paramount Theatre.

Canadian director Lepage’s “The Andersen Project,’’ inspired by Hans Christian Andersen and originally slated to be part of ArtsEmerson’s first season, will play the Cutler Majestic March 24-April 1. The family show “Tomás Kubínek: Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible’’ will run at the Paramount Theatre March 29-April 1.

Finishing the season will be SITI Company’s “Café Variations,’’ April 13-22 at the Cutler Majestic. A world-premiere production directed by Anne Bogart, it brings together vignettes from several of Charles Mee’s cafe plays.

Laura Collins-Hughes can be reached at