Origin's US Premiere of STOP THE TEMPO Opens 6/2

Origin Theatre Company, artistic director George C. Heslin, presents the US premiere of "Stop the Tempo" by Romanian playwright Gianina Carbinariu, in a theatrically explosive site-specific staging at Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton Street, beginning Sunday May 26 at 4pm. Directed by Matt Torney, whose New York credits include shows at HERE, and at 59E59, "Stop the Tempo" plays a limited 4-week engagement through Tuesday June 18. The opening is set for Sunday June 2 at 7pm.

In "Stop the Tempo" three alienated scenesters in their 20's express their disillusion with fitting in to the new Bucharest, which has changed utterly since the fall of Communism. Now, neon signs pulse on every building, shopping malls fill every suburb, dance music pumps from every stereo, the TVs are turned up loud, and everyone is pushed to spend, spend, spend. Subsequent to its Romanian premiere, other memorable productions across Europe have tapped a growing malaise for global consumerism. In New York, the Belfast-born Torney adapts the play's central currency to explore our own oscillating urges to disconnect in an utterly connected world.

Set in the bowels of a nightclub, "Stop the Tempo" brings together three strangers in their 20's whose main connection turns out to be a urge to disconnect. But what happens when, through acts of nihilism, collision and isolation, the lights actually do go out, and the music stops, and the life they know stops?

Carbunariu, who is 36, is a leading figure in new theatre in Romania. She founded the group DramAcum, which sponsors a new boundary-pushing drama competition. Her first full-length play, "Stop the Tempo" is her most internationally known work, with notable productions in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Vienna, Istanbul and Dublin. Her other plays include "Kebab," written during a residency at The Royal Court Theatre in London. The play's Romanian premiere was withdrawn due to concerns about language decency, but the show resurfaced at Teatrul Foarte Mic where it became highly acclaimed. It has since been produced in Japan, the UK, Denmark and Greece.

Matt Torney is originally from Belfast Northern Ireland, where he is an associate director of Rough Magic Theatre Company. An Irish Theatre Awards best director nominee for "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot", his productions have been standouts in the Belfast InterNational Theatre Festival, the Dublin Fringe, and the Edinburgh Festial. His "Walworth Farce" by Enda Walsh at the Studio Theatre in Washington DC, was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards. His New York credits include shows at HERE, and most recently "Tiny Dynamite" at 59E59 Theatres, also for Origin. "Tiny Dynamite" receives a special Drama Desk Award later this month, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award for theatrical design.

"Stop the Tempo" performs 21 times from May 26 to June 18 at Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton Street (between Orchard and Ludlow). Performances are Tuesday & Wednesday at 7pm; Friday & Saturday at 7pm, and Sunday at 4pm & 7pm. For tickets, which are $25, contact Smarttix by phone at 212/868-4444, or visit www.smarttix.com. Running time: 65 minutes.

Origin is celebrating its tenth season of producing the New York and American premieres of plays by emerging European playwrights. Including Carbinariu, 42 playwrights have been introduced to US audiences by Origin, including such distinguished writers as Enda Walsh ("Once"), Mark O'Rowe ("Terminus"), and Lucy Caldwell. Origin also produces the annual 1st Irish Festival, the city's only all-Irish theatre festival, the sixth edition of which begins in September.

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