FRAGMENTS, KAFKA'S MONKEY, and More Featured in Theatre for a New Audience's 2013 Season
Founded in 1979 by its artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience is a modern classical theatre that produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors in a dialogue that spans centuries. Its 33rd season, the last before moving to its first home adjacent to BAM in the new Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, features boldly diverse works from William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka in a theatrical adaptation by Colin Teevan, Samuel Beckett and Wallace Shawn. In a co-production with The Public Theater, Mr. Shawn's plays will be part of The Wallace Shaw-André Gregory Project.
As described by Horowitz, "Shakespeare, Kafka, Beckett and Shawn all use language in pointed and inimitable ways that make us think critically about who we are and how we live. Though the works couldn't be more different, what connects them is each author explores with humor, irony and insight what it is that makes us human. The human animal is obviously the underlying subject of every major writer, but there is something particularly incisive about the visions of these writers which speak to one another in sharply illuminating ways."
Maggie Siff (Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy) brilliant as Kate in last season's The Taming of the Shrew, which Arin Arbus staged to critical acclaim, returns to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Like Kate and Petruchio, Beatrice and Benedick become a couple only after insult and attack. In this remarkably modern comedy, dazzling language becomes a mediating force between the fusty conventions of love and marriage and the complexities of extraordinarily intelligent and worldly-wise people. Ms. Arbus says Much Ado About Nothing is "filled with exuberant humor and witbut underneath the wit are traces of despair." Beatrice and Benedick's love is "ambivalent, composed of desire and distrust, longing and shame, warmth and anger."
Theatre for a New Audience's production of Much Ado About Nothing is sponsored by Deloitte and part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
Directed by Walter Meierjohann and starring Kathryn Hunter, April 3-17 at Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street
In the New York Premiere of this savagely funny and poignant production from London's The Young Vic, Kathryn Hunter (Olivier Award winner, Complicité founding member) plays a reluctantly civilized ape who, dressed in white tie, tails and a bowler hat, addresses a group of distinguished scientists who have asked to hear about "his" prior life. Directed by Walter Meierjohann, Kafka's Monkey is Colin Teevan's powerfully theatrical adaptation of Franz Kafka's 1917 story A Report to an Academy. In 2004, Theatre for a New Audience produced Mr. Teevan's Svejk based on Jaroslaw Hasek's classic Czech novel of the same title.
This engagement is produced in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Directed by Peter Brook & Marie-Hélène Estienne, Return Engagement April 21 - May 5, at Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street
Mr. Brook and Beckett are a seamless match in their reverence for theatrical economy using minimal means to maximum effect." Charles Isherwood, New York Times, 2011 (from the review of last season's New York production)
"Impeccable and screamingly funny." New York Times, 2011 Cleverest Theatrical Moments
A return of last season's acclaimed production of C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's Fragments, the five texts by Samuel Beckett directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Mr. Brook, one of our era's greatest directors, interprets Samuel Beckett, the 20th century's greatest playwright. Beckett was acclaimed in part for his incomparable concision, his unique mastery of the breathtakingly profound short work. Fragments assembles the five Beckett shorts Rough for Theatre I, Rockaby, Act without Words II, Neither and Come and Go, performed by Kathryn Hunter and her former Complicité colleagues Jos Houben and Marcello Magni.
This engagement is produced in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
The season's climax will be The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project, a celebration of a remarkable theatrical collaboration. Wallace Shawn is one of America's most significant playwrights, long overdue for a major retrospective. André Gregory, his My Dinner With André co-star, has been directing Shawn's plays for forty years, and here he directs his two most recent plays: the first New York revival of the acclaimed masterwork The Designated Mourner and the American premiere of the profoundly provocative Grasses of a Thousand Colors.
Mr. Shawn is a multifaceted figure: an internationally famous character actor as well as an incomparably courageous playwright whom critics have placed in the first rank of contemporary dramatists. Mr. Gregory is the acclaimed director who has brought his most challenging works to fruition, including Our Late Night, Mr. Shawn's first play in New York, which was presented at The Public Theater in 1975.
Mr. Shawn's theatrical vision is bleakly hilarious, intensely passionate, and utterly original. He gestates his plays over many years, often builds them around demanding monologues, and (with Mr. Gregory) envisions performances that approach the intimacy of film. The works are sexy and morbid, acute and loquacious, realistic and fantastic in equal measure, and they invariably expand in scale, coalescing into sweeping visions of human folly, compromise and tragic self-destruction.
The Designated Mourner
directed by André Gregory, June 21- August 25, 2013
"Provocative and haunting." New York Times, (from the review of the 2000 American Premiere)
Completed in 1996, The Designated Mourner is a monologue-triptych in which three artist-intellectuals describe their experiences as their once-liberal country sinks into totalitarianism. A famous poet-intellectual, his daughter, and her husbandpeople made of very different moral fiber despite their shared highbrow backgroundobserve the subtle and flagrant transformations to everyday life, public affairs and personal relationships as their government brutally cracks down on anyone suspected of subversion.
This searing and disturbing drama, prescient of much that occurred during the George W. Bush years and afterward, has been called Mr. Shawn's masterpiece. Its New York premiere, which played at an abandoned men's club in Manhattan's financial district, was the most coveted ticket of the 2000 theater season.
Grasses of a Thousand Colors
Directed by André Gregory, October 8 - November 10, 2013
"Like all dreams, Grasses of a Thousand Colors resists interpretation, even as it blurs the distinction between the natural and the civilized." John Lahr, The New Yorker (from the review of the 2009 world premiere at London's Royal Court)
Wallace Shawn's most outlandish work to date, this disturbing and anomalously beautiful play touches on almost every imaginable form of sexual expression while spinning a dystopian fantasy about ecological disaster. Grasses of a Thousand Colors won hugely enthusiastic critical praise at its world premiere at The Royal Court Theatre in 2009. Mr. Shawn, Emily McDonnell and Jennifer Tilly from the Royal Court production reunite for this American Premiere.
Ben, the play's central character, is a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind. He ends up ruining the global ecosystem. Yet Grasses of a Thousand Colors is no mere social drama. Instead of exclusively dwelling on social disaster, it also explores the riotous sexual imaginations of Ben, his wife and his lovers.
Mr. Shawn has said about this taboo-bursting drama that he "decided to take a bet on my subconscious. Isn't all writing to some extent about trying to get through the layers of propaganda and false interpretations and received ideas and clichés that prevent us from seeing what's going on? I think that's the enterprise."
A five-play subscription play package is $236; a four-play subscription is $196, and a three-play subscription is $147, each is a 37% savings off the full ticket price. Subscriptions may be ordered from Theatre for a New Audience at www.tfana.org. Single tickets will be available in the fall. Visit www.tfana.org for ticketing information.
$10.00 New Deal tickets, ages 25 and under or full-time students of any age, may be purchased in advance on a first come, first-served basis. NOT AVAILABLE FOR DESIGINATED MOURNER AND GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS. See www.tfana.org for details. Valid ID listing proof of age or enrollment as a full-time student required.
Tickets for Members & Fellows of The Public Theater are being held and will go on-sale in the Spring of 2013. To become a Member, a Fellow or for more ticketing information, visit www.PublicTheater.org<http://www.PublicTheater.org> or call 212-967-7555. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street.
Theatre for a New Audience
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience's mission is to develop and vitalize the performance and study of Shakespeare and classic drama and produces Shakespeare alongside other classic and contemporary plays by authors such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond, Adrienne Kennedy and Wallace Shawn. It has played Off and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.
In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.
The Theatre's productions have been honored with Tony, OBIE, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background.
The Theatre created and runs the largest program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served more than 124,000 students since the program began in 1984. With the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 2011 it launched a summer Shakespeare Institute at Columbia University for 23 Public School teachers for across the country on the teaching of Shakespeare. In partnership with the NYC Department of Education it offers a free summer drama program for high school students. The Theatre's distinctive TFANA Talks discussion series for general audiences is free in conjunction with performances and its economically accessible ticket program includes the lowest reserved ticket price for youth in the city, $10 for any show, any time for those 25 years old and under and full time students of any age. In June, 2011, Theatre for a New Audience celebrated the groundbreaking for its first home, a center for Shakespeare and classic drama in downtown Brooklyn in the BAM Cultural District. The Theatre will open in fall 2013.
Founded in 1990, The New 42nd Street is an independent, nonprofit organization charged with long-term responsibility for seven historic theaters on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. In addition to running The New Victory Theater, The New 42nd Street built and operates the New 42nd Street® Studios-a ten-story building of rehearsal studios, offices and a 200-seat theater named The Duke on 42nd Street-for national and international performing arts companies. Since its opening on June 21, 2000, the New 42nd Street Studios has been fully occupied by both nonprofit and commercial theater, dance and opera companies. With these institutions and the other properties under its guardianship, The New 42nd Street plays a pivotal role in fostering the continued revival of this famous street at the Crossroads of the World.
The Duke on 42nd Street is an intimate 200-seat black box theater built and operated by The New 42nd Street. Since opening in 2000, the theater has been available on a rental basis to international and domestic nonprofit organizations to present their work. Companies that have presented at The Duke on 42nd Street theater include: Theatre for a New Audience; Playwrights Horizons; Lincoln Center Great Performers; The NYC Tap Festival; and 92nd Street Y's Harkness Dance Project. In October 2008, Lincoln Center Theater launched "LCT3" at The Duke on 42nd Street. New 42nd Street presentations at The Duke on 42nd Street have included: Karole Amitage's Armitage Gone! Dance; Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Rose Rage; Naked Angels and Dan Klores's Armed and Naked in America; and Classical Theater of Harlem's production of Langston Hughes's Black Nativity. Notable New Victory® presentations at The Duke on 42nd Street include Joan McLeod's The Shape of a Girl, Steppenwolf Theater Company's The Bluest Eye and the smash hit, Once and For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen, presented by The New Victory Theater in cooperation with The Under the Radar Festival.