Henrik Ibsen's 'The Wild Duck' by Court Theatre

CHARLES NEWELL DIRECTS WORLD PREMIERE TRANSLATION

OF IBSEN'S THE WILD DUCK AT THE MCA


Court Theatre continues its 2008-09 season with the World Premiere translation of Henrik Ibsen's modernist classic The Wild Duck, directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell. The production will run at the MCA Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue, January 15 - February 15, 2009. The press opening is Friday, January 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

Richard Nelson's bold, new translation of The Wild Duck is the inaugural project of the Barbara E. Franke Commissioning Program for New Classics, Court's newest initiative which seeks to create new adaptations and translations of classic texts for the stage.

Fresh from his smash hit production of Caroline, or Change, Charles Newell returns to the MCA Stage with a world premiere translation of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck. The play combines profound tragedy with surprising comedy to tell the story of the Ekdal family. Their peaceful lives are turned upside down when an idealistic family friend arrives. When the secrets unravel, powerful questions are revealed.

"I have always wanted to return to The Wild Duck after having had the great honor of serving as Assistant Director for Lucian Pintilie's groundbreaking production," says Newell. "But I needed to be sure that we did so in the correct space and with the correct translation. In Richard Nelson's brilliant contemporary script we found a translation that fully realizes the classic text's extraordinary potential for contemporary relevance, and in the MCA's stunning performance space we rediscovered a location that feels as though it could have been designed especially for this production."

The cast of The Wild Duck includes Maury Cooper (Old Ekdal), Mary Beth Fisher (Gina Ekdal), Timothy Edward Kane (Relling), Kevin Gudahl (Hialmar Ekdal), Johanna Mckenzie Miller (Mrs. Sorsby), John Reeger (Werle), Laura Scheinbaum (Hedvig Ekdal) Rob Lindley (Peterson/Molvik) Henry Odum (Graberg) and Jay Whitaker (Gregers Werle).

The designers are Leigh Breslau (scenic design), Andre Pleuss (sound design), Jennifer Tipton (lighting design), and Jacqueline Firkins (costume design). Ellen Hay is the production stage manager and Jonathan Berry is Assistant Director. Kate Bredeson is the Dramaturg.

A related exhibition of portrait photographs is presented by the MCA from January 15 to February 15. Inspired by the play's revealing portrayal of individuals and by its setting in a photographer's studio, the exhibition features works from the MCA Collection by Larry Clark, Blythe Bohnen, and Paul Rosin. In addition, Chicago-based artist Christopher Hiltz will make new portrait photographs during each performance of The Wild Duck.

Charles Newell (Director) has been Artistic Director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 30 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph of Love, which won the Jefferson Award for Best Production. Directorial credits at Court include Carousel, Titus Andronicus, Arcadia, Uncle Vanya, Raisin, The Glass Menagerie, Man of La Mancha, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Hamlet, The Invention of Love, and Nora. Charlie has also directed at the Guthrie Theater (The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman's The Acting Company, the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University. He is the recipient of the 1992 TCG Alan Schneider Director Award.

He served on the Board of Theatre Communications Group, as well as on several panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. Opera directing credits include the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Marc Blitzstein's Regina, and Rigoletto at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. His production of Man of La Mancha at Court was the recipient of 6 Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Production-Musical and Best Director-Musical.

Richard Nelson (Translator) is the author of many plays, including Conversations in Tusculum, Frank's Home, How Shakespeare Won the West, Rodney's Wife, Franny's Way, Madame Melville, Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award Best Play), The General From America, New England, Left, Misha's Party (with Alexander Gelman), Columbus and the Discovery of Japan, Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony Nomination, Best Play), Some Americans Abroad (Olivier Nomination, Best Comedy), Principia Scriptoriae. His musicals include James Joyce's The Dead (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award Best Book of A Musical), My Life With Albertine (with Ricky Ian Gordon), Paradise Found (with Hal Prince, Ellen Fitzhugh and Jonathan Tunick). He has adapted and/or translated numerous classical and contemporary plays including Chekhov's The Seagull, The Wood Demon, Three Sisters, Strindberg's Miss Julie, The Father, Goldoni's Il Campiello, Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro, Pirandello's Enrico IV, Moliere's Don Juan, Erdman's The Suicide, Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Jean-Claude Carriere's The Controvesy of Valladolid. His work for film and television includes Ethan Frome (Miramax Films), Sensibility and Sense and The End of a Sentence (American Playhouse). He has written numerous radio plays for the BBC. He is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 2008 PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award. He was born in Chicago.

Previews are January 15 - January 22, 2009. The opening press performance is on Friday, January 23, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. Curtain times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Post-show discussions with the audience are held following each preview performance.

Ticket prices are $32 to $40 for preview performances; $38 to $60 for regular run performances. Tickets are available at the Court Theatre box office, 5535 South Ellis; or by calling 773.753.4472 or online at www.CourtTheatre.org. Student and senior discounts available. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling Milan Pejnovich at 773.834.3243. Tickets are also available at the MCA Stage box office, 312.397.4010.

The Wild Duck is sponsored by Nuveen Investments and Kirkland & Ellis LLP.


About the MCA Stage

The MCA Stage is the Museum of Contemporary Art's program of performing arts, and is a nationally recognized presenter of contemporary theater, dance and music. The MCA Stage celebrates artists and their creative process, connecting audiences with artists in meaningful discourse with its Artists Up Close series of post-show talks, panels, roundtable discussions, workshops, and residencies. Audiences at MCA Stage performances receive one free museum admission with each ticket stub on the performance date or during the following week. For information and tickets, call the Box Office at 312.397.4010 or visit www.mcachicago.org.

The mission of the MCA is to be an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can directly experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time. The MCA is one of the nation's largest facilities devoted to contemporary art, and features four floors of galleries, a 300-seat theater, a gift store, bookstore, restaurant, and a terraced sculpture garden with a great view of Lake Michigan. The MCA is located in the heart of downtown Chicago at 220 E. Chicago Avenue, one block east of Michigan Avenue. The museum and sculpture garden are open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm. The museum is closed on Monday. Enjoy free admission every Tuesday generously sponsored by Target. Suggested general admission is $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Children 12 years of age and under, MCA members, and members of the military are always admitted free.

About Court Theatre

Court Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at the University of Chicago, is located at 5535 S. Ellis Ave. in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. To purchase single tickets for The Wild Duck or to receive more information about Court Theatre, please call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court's website at www.CourtTheatre.org.

Court Theatre's 54rd Season, under the leadership of Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Dawn J. Helsing, is generously supported by Richard and Barbara Franke, Hyde Park Bank, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Polk Brothers Foundation, Shubert Foundation, and the University of Chicago. Court Theatre is also funded in part by grants from CityArts Program IV of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


The Wild Duck / FACT SHEET

Synopsis: The peaceful lives of the Ekdal family are turned upside down by an idealistic young family friend. Can the truth liberate two families bound together by a web of secrets? Or will it destroy their delicate hold on happiness? One of the giants of modern theatre, Ibsen created a masterpiece that pairs profound tragedy with surprising comedy.


Title: The Wild Duck

Directed by: Artistic Director Charles Newell

Featuring: Maury Cooper, Mary Beth Fisher, Timothy Edward Kane, Kevin Gudahl, Johanna Mckenzie Miller, John Reeger, Laura Scheinbaum and Jay Whitaker.

 

Dates:
Previews: January 15 - January 22, 2009
Press opening: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

Regular run: January 24- February 15, 2009

Schedule: Wednesdays & Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.

Fridays: 8:00 p.m.

Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Sundays: 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Location: The MCA Stage, 220 East Chicago Ave.

Tickets: $32-$60

Box Office: Located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago; (773) 753-4472 or online www.CourtTheatre.org or through the MCA Stage box office, (312) 397-4010, www.mcachicago.org

 

NOTES OF INTEREST:


* The Wild Duck was written in 1884 by famed Norwegian author, poet, theater director and playwright Henrik Ibsen who is widely considered to be the father of modern drama and founder of modernism in theatre.


* Court is delighted to return to the MCA Stage following its critically acclaimed 2006 production of Uncle Vanya. The Wild Duck marks Court's fifth partnership with the MCA; past productions include Cyrano and Heiner Muller's Quartet.

* The Wild Duck reunites Johanna Mckenzie Miller, Laura Scheinbaum and Rob Lindley, all of whom starred in Court's 2008 production of Carousel. Rob Lindley most recently performed the role of Stuart Gellman in Court's smash hit Caroline, or Change, making The Wild Duck his third consecutive production at Court Theatre under Charles Newell's direction. The Wild Duck also features Mary Beth Fisher, most recently seen at Court in Sean Graney's 2007 What the Butler Saw; Tim Kane who played the title role in Newell's Titus Andronicus in 2007; and perennial Court favorites Kevin Gudahl (Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, My Fair Lady, among many others) and Jay Whitaker (The Glass Menagerie, Travesties, Cyrano, among many others).

 


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