Martin Crimp's Translation of PAINS OF YOUTH Makes NY Debut at Access Theater, Now thru 3/2
Manipulation and sexuality rule as a set of promiscuous, pitiless and bored twenty-somethings experiment on life--and each other. Marie, graduating from medical school, finds that her boyfriend, Petrell, has shucked her for another student, the lower class Irene. She turns for consolation to her aristocratic, sexually adventurous neighbor, Desiree, who is entranced by the idea of death. The manipulative, villainous Freder prostitutes the innocent maid, Lucy, just for fun and would marry Marie, who loathes him, for a meal ticket. As Marie's graduation nears, the boarding house devolves into a crucible of barbiturates, disillusionment, and promiscuity. A young woman's promising future as a doctor bent on "soothing the pain of thousands" doesn't stand a chance.
While founder of the Berlin Renaissance Theater in 1922, Bruckner anticipated a decade before the rise of Hitler that there was danger in the sullen emptiness of middle-European youth, whose feelings of despair and disillusionment turned into the certainties of fascism. In 1933, he fled from Berlin to Paris and took asylum in America in 1936, but his playwriting career suffered for the move. He returned to Germany in 1953 where he worked as an adviser to the Schiller Theatre and died in 1958. He remains best known for this erotically-charged, death-haunted 1926 masterpiece.
The play had been occasionally produced in fringe theaters, but when Martin Crimp's translation brought it to the West End in 2009, it finally claimed its place as a classic on English speaking stages.
Director Katie Lupica production will draw out the intimacy of this theatrically expressionistic play. The Access Theater's gallery space, a TriBeCa loft with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto New York, will be transformed into a 1920s Vienna apartment. The set and costumes will use colors from period art by Egon Schiele and others, seeming bright and slightly diseased, almost like a nightmare. Music by Mark Van Hare will be an original score inspired by the drastic shifts between WWI and post-WWI music in Vienna, in which the lush waltzes of an aristocratic past still linger but more fragile and forlorn melodies of a tenuous future are taking over.
The actors will be Emily Batsford, Marcus D. Harvey, Casey Hayes-Deats, Rachel McKeon, Lizi Myers, Danny Rivera and Jacob Trussell. Set designer is Ryan Howell. Costume designer is Martin Schnellinger. Sound/original music is by Mark Van Hare. Lighting designer is Gary Slootskiy. Props are by Marissa Bergman. Fight choreography is by Alexander Reed.
WHERE AND WHEN:
February 13 to March 2 (previews Feb. 13 & 14, opens Sat, Feb. 15)
Access Theater (gallery space), 380 Broadway (at White St.), 4th Fl.
Presented by The Cake Shop Theater Company
M, T, Th-Sat at 8:00 PM plus two Sundays, Feb. 23 and March 2 at 8:0 PM
Tickets $18 general admission. Box office: SMARTTIX 212-868-4444, www.smarttix.com
Play's website: www.painsofyouthnyc.com
Running time: 2:10 (with intermission). Critics are invited on or after Feb. 15.
Ferdinand Bruckner, born Theodor Tagger in Bulgaria in 1891, was an Austro-German writer and theater manager. Initially a poet and publisher of a literary magazine, he founded the Berlin Renaissance Theater in 1922 and passed it on to Gustav Hartung in 1928. "Pains of Youth" is said to be written in 1926 but it was set in 1923. Tagger fled to Paris in 1933 to do his anti-fascist play, "Die Rassen" (Race). He released "Krankheit der Jugend" (Pains of Youth) and "Elisabeth von England" (Elizabeth of England) in 1929-30 under the name of Ferdinand Bruckner and formally changed his name to that after World War II. Over his career, Bruckner produced seven plays and saw his work produced in both Paris and New York, but he ended his career in Berlin as an advisor to the Schiller Theater from 1953 until his death in 1958. His plays have been performed in German and in translation into many languages all over the world.
Martin Crimp (Translator) was born in 1956 and has been referred to as "one of the authors whose theater has helped redefine dramatic writing in our time." He has translated or adapted work by Ionesco, Genet, Moliere, and Ferdinand Bruckner. In New York, his work has been seen at The Public Theater, Soho Rep, and the Classic Stage Company and on Broadway (Ionesco's "The Chairs," 1998). His work in the UK has been produced by the Orange Tree Theatre, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic, and the Royal Court, where he was writer-in-residence in 1997. His plays include "Three Attempted Acts" (1985), "Dealing with Clair" (1988), "The Treatment" (1993, winner of the John Whiting Award), "Attempts on her Life" (1997) and "The Country" (2000), among others.
The Cake Shop Theater Company was founded in March 2013 by Casey Hayes-Deats and Katie Lupica to produce new works, forgotten texts, and re-imagined classics that give an uncensored voice to characters and creators coming of age, particularly women.
Katie Lupica (director) is a co-founding producing artistic director of The Cake Shop Theater Company. She has directed short plays by Julia Jordan, Bekah Brunstetter, and Josh Koenigsberg (Williamstown Theater Festival), "Portrait and a Dream" by Jacob Marx Rice (FringeNYC at La MaMa), "The Saint Plays" by Erik Ehn (Barnard College, Austin E. Quigley Prize), "The Yellow Boat" by David Saar (touring, Community Impact) and other works with UglyRhino (Brooklyn), NOMADS Theater (NYC), Siti Company, NYU Steinhardt, and New York Stage & Film. Recent assisting includes the Broadway revival of "Godspell" (dir. Daniel Goldstein) and Williamstown's Pygmalion (dir. Nicholas Martin). She holds a BA from Columbia (summa cum laude) and is an associate member of SDC.
Pictured: A Viennese medical student (L, Casey Hayes-Deats) is proposed to by a manipulative fellow medical student whom she loathes (R, Jacob Trussell). Photo by Jonathan Slaff.