World Premiere of THE MONSTER-BUILDER Opens Tonight at Artists Rep

Artists Rep is honored to produce the world premiere of The Monster-Builder, a diabolical comedic treatise on modern architecture, by Amy Freed. As Freed is one of the nation's most lauded and respected new playwrights, Artists Rep is fortunate to host the inaugural production of this play. The Monster-Builder is directed by the esteemed and award-winning Art Manke and features a noteworthy West Coast cast.

A maniacal scheme of fantastical proportions lurks deep inside world-renowned mega-architect Gregor Zubrowski's post-modern steel and glass structures. His commanding presence and curious creative process both titillate and manipulate design professionals and patrons alike into submission. After he casually steals a career-making project, two fledgling architects dare to challenge this monster-builder at his own game. Expect the unexpected from this absurdly funny, wickedly smart, new comedy.

Artistic Director Dámaso Rodriguez said at the production's first rehearsal, "As I read Amy Freed's wonderfully intelligent script, I found myself laughing and being carried along by her incredibly distinct and utterly confident playwriting voice. I jumped at the chance to premiere The Monster-Builder here at Artists Rep."

Rodriguez said finding a director he can entrust with such a play is one of the most challenging aspects of being an Artistic Director. However, Manke, a nationally recognized and award-winning director from Los Angeles, is a longtime mentor and friend. Indeed, it was Manke who sent Rodriguez The Monster-Builder script after he'd seen an early workshop version two years ago. It made perfect sense that Manke would direct the play at Artists Rep. Of Rodriguez, Manke says, "Dámaso Rodriguez has been an esteemed colleague of mine in Los Angeles for many years, and I am honored to be included in his inaugural season at Artists Repertory Theatre, a company I have admired from afar for quite a while."

About the playwright, Director Manke says, "My relationship with Amy Freed goes back many years to our days as graduate acting students at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, where even then, she was always the smartest person in the room. Her plays have always held a great fascination for me, because her characters get to do and say the kinds of things most of us only ever dream of getting away with in our daily lives." He continues, "She is - without a doubt - among the brightest lights in America's playwriting firmament. Her greatest gift is as a brilliantly funny social satirist. And, as we all know, the most stinging satire gets to the heart of the matter via the truth."

In this statement Amy Freed writes about what she hopes to address with her viciously funny play: "All of us have seen what has happened to the modern city under the influence of the starchitects of the last several decades. I grew up looking at the functional modernism of the simple skyscraper. Then as the '70s turned into the '80s and Deconstructionist theory took hold, we started seeing these whole other forms - bloated, towering, crazy shapes emerge in our cityscape. I think what's happening to the cities we live in and love has been a cause of consternation for lots of people. So I try to bring these concerns into a language that's theatrical, that's fun, that's a little outrageous, to provoke discussion and reaction. I want to make ordinary people feel free to have an opinion on these subjects, because I think a lot of development - and especially development with big money behind it - relies on the two big tactics. One is that resistance is futile, and the other is intellectual intimidation - making people feel that they are too stupid to have a valid opinion."

The Monster-Builder - World Premiere, written by Amy Freed and directed by Art Manke, features Michael Elich, Allison Tigard, Gavin Hoffman, Bhama Roget Robin Goodwin Nordli and Don Alder. The show runs January 28 - March 2, playing Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2pm. Opening Night is Saturday, February 1, 2014. All shows play the Artists Repertory Theatre's Alder Stage (16th and Alder St.) Tickets: $25-$55. Box office: 503.241.1278 or online at

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