Casting problems can be a headache for directors, but at least they don’t generally involve wrestling with the State Department. That is, unless you’re Artist Repertory Theatre. ART announced that it will be postponing The Invisible Hand, a pointed political play by Ayad Akhtar that centers on a kidnapping in Karachi, Pakistan, due to the fact that it couldn’t secure visas in time for several Pakistani actors it hoped to cast. Artistic director Allen Nause, who has served as a U.S. Cultural Envoy through the Pakistan National Council for the Arts in Islamabad, considers the participation of the Pakistani actors crucial in order to create a genuine cross-cultural exchange. Instead, the company will likely mount The Invisible Hand in its 2013/14 season.

In its place, Artists Rep has programed The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn, a tragicomic two-person, two-act play that received a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Award nominations in 1978. Nause will star alongside Vana O’Brien, one of Artists Rep’s founding actors and the person who originally suggested Nause for the artistic director gig 25 years ago. Remarkably, this will be the first time the two veterans appear on stage together, which, given Nause’s departure this season, seems like a rather poetic closing of the circle.

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