St. Ann's Warehouse Extends MIES JULIE Through 12/16
St. Ann's Warehouse (Artistic Director, Susan Feldman; Executive Director, Andrew D. Hamingson) extends the American premiere run of the Baxter Theatre Centre (CEO and Artistic Director, Lara Foot) production by two weeks, to December 16 (from the initially scheduled closing on December 2). This extension represents a triumphant opening of St. Ann's new theater at 29 Jay Street in DUMBO.
Mies Julie, written and directed by Yael Farber, adapts the August Strindberg classic, "Miss Julie," to post-apartheid South Africa. Produced by the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town in association with South African State Theatre, the play is set in the smoldering kitchen of a remote estate 18 years after the election of Nelson Mandela. A single night, both brutal and tender, unfolds among a white farm-owner's daughter (Julie, played by Hilda Cronje, in a performance The New York Times calls "simply astonishing"), her father's favorite black laborer (John, played by Bongile Mantsai, whom Theatermania calls "both intelligent and hyper-virile"), and the woman who has raised them both (Christine, played by the "excellent" (New York Times) Thoko Ntshinga).
The visceral struggles of contemporary South Africa are revealed as a deadly attraction spirals out of control between John and Julie who battle over power, sexuality, mothers and the land. Haunting and violent, intimate and heartbreaking, the struggles take place among the characters and with their ancestors, laying bare questions of what restitution and freedom can really mean and what losses can and cannot ever be recovered.
Molly Grogan's review for The Village Voice says, "Farber's Mies Julie is a riveting voyage, and an essential one for understanding the still intermingled burden of race and class in contemporary Africa." Theatermania reviewer Zachary Stewart agrees, "Farber has incisively captured the paranoia of the endangered, but still powerful, white minority in her country as it clashes with the aspirations of an increasingly-dissatisfied black majority. The result is a thought-provoking examination of entrenched inequality in the face of inevitable change." Backstage critic Ron Cohen praises Cronje and Mantsai for "astoundingly brave performances."
Mies Julie features sound design and music, written and performed live on stage, by the brothers Daniel Pencer (saxophone, electronics) and Matthew Pencer (laptop, live foley, sound effects). The traditional Xhosa musician Tandiwe Nofirst Lungisa is a throat singer who also plays multiple instruments and figures as a ghostly ancestral presence in the cast. Patrick Curtis designed the set and lighting, and Birrie le Roux designed the costumes.
Mies Julie won the Edinburgh Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards. Mies Julie premiered at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, and was produced in association with the National State Theatre, Pretoria. The production will return to South Africa for a production at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, followed by a season at the Riverside Studios in London next spring.
Tickets are $40-90 and are available online at www.stannswarehouse.org and by phone at 718.254.8779 (Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.) or 866.811.4111 (extended hours Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M.-9:00 P.M.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M.). They can also be purchased at the St. Ann's Warehouse Box Office at 29 Jay Street (Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.).
St. Ann's Warehouse season Memberships are also available now. In addition to the opportunity to buy ahead of the general public for all shows, Members benefit from exclusive discounts, waived service fees, and ticket exchange privileges. Beginning at $50 and completely tax-deductible, Memberships are available at www.stannswarehouse.org and 718.254.8779 (Tuesday–Saturday, 1–7PM).