Strange Tree Group Presents GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD, 6/13-7/22


Adapted by Robert Ross Parker of New York’s Obie Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre, with the literal translation by MarIna Raydun, Goodbye Cruel World "crackles with comedy, costume changes and terrible tuba playing. In the vein of Strange Trees 2010 Jeff Award-winning Shakespeare’s King Phycus, the ensemble is made up of six fearless actors portraying 22 distinctly different parts."

Directed by Strange Tree Group ensemble member Bob Kruse, Goodbye Cruel World runs at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., in Theater 1, from June 13 through July 22, 2012. Press night is Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale in May, and will be available at or by calling 773.975.8150.

In this acclaimed 2010 adaptation our hero, poor Semyón Semyónovich, lives in a glorious worker’s republic, and yet, he has no job! His most recent scheme – to become a world-class tuba player and spend his fortune on vast quantities of eggnog – has fallen to ashes. In the depths of despair, Semyón contemplates bringing it all to an end…but that’s when his troubles truly begin. Before long, ambrosial actresses, passionate priests, and policy makers plot to exploit Semyón’s death for their own gain and, while they’re at it, topple an entire regime.

Goodbye Cruel World has only been produced once before by The Roundtable Ensemble in 2010 at Arclight Theater in New York. Of the production Jason Zinoman of the New York Times raved, “A rarely produced gem...Robert Ross Parker’s target is pure, silly farce. And he hits it, dead-on.”

One of the finest plays to come out of Communist Russia, Nicolai Erdman's The Suicide is a comic masterpiece, but unfortunately its production history is not as funny. Written in 1928, three of Russia’s acclaimed theatre companies, the Vaktangov Theatre, Stanislavski's Moscow Arts Theatre, and the Meyerhold Theatre all battled for the production rights.

The Meyerhold Theater won; however, after a closed dress rehearsal before members of the Cultural Propaganda Department of the Central Committee, the Stalinist government banned the play before its first public performance. Playwright Nikolai Erdman was arrested and exiled. The play wasn't produced in the USSR until 50 years later, after Erdman’s death.  

Robert Ross Parker (Playwright) is the co-artistic director of the Obie award-winning Vampire Cowboys with Qui Nguyen.  For Vampire Cowboys he has directed Vampire Cowboy TrilogyA Beginner’s Guide to DeicideLiving Dead in Denmark, Men of SteelFight Girl/Battle WorldSoul SamuraiAlice in Slasherland, and The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G.  For the VC Saturday Night Saloon series he wrote Jimmy Starshooter Must Get Laid andRadio Monster Theatre: The Further Adventures of Henry and Victor. Other recent directing credits include Goodbye Cruel World (also adapter, Roundtable Ensemble), Hamlet{solo} (Edinburgh Fringe and Solo Nova at PS 122), and numerous projects for Ensemble Studio Theatre where he is a member.  As an actor, Robert played the title role in The Flying Machine’s Frankenstein at Soho Rep, and on tour, and played the March Hare in their production of Alice in Wonderland. He is the former editor of The Dramatist, the Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America. He holds an MFA from Ohio University.

Bob Kruse (Director) studied theatre at Circle in the Square Theatre Conservatory in New York. While in New York, he directed Neil LaBute's Bash at the Centerstage, Minnetonka Vanities, and Comedy Sketches at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He assistant directed Pericles at Circle in the Square under Ed Berkeley and directed Young Moses at the Santa Monica Theatre.  For Strange Tree he directed Hey! Mr. Spaceman! in 2009. Kruse is a Company Member with STG and was part of the Jeff award-winning ensemble of Shakespeare's King Phycus.

The cast features Strange Tree Group company members Elizabeth Bagby, Scott Cupper, Stuart Ritter,Jenifer Starewich, along with Joe Sterns of Signal Ensemble and 2012 Non-Equity Jeff Nominee, BrIan Grey. Live music provided by Sarah Scanlon and Marty Scanlon as our gypsy bar band on hammered dulcimer and accordion.

The Design Team includes Scenic Design and Prop Design, Delia Baseman*, Bob Kruse*, Kate Nawrocki* and Emily Schwartz*; Lighting Design, Jordan Kardasz; Sound Design, Michael Huey; Costume Design, Delia Baseman; Poster Design, Phineas X. Jones; Photography, Tyler Core; Production Manager, Delia Baseman; Assistant Production Manager, Sarah Luse; Stage Manager, Elissa Shortridge; and Technical Director, Walter Owen Briggs. (*denotes company member).

The Strange Tree Group is a collective of multifaceted individuals dedicated to creating intricate, intimate theatrical experiences that extend beyond the boundaries of a traditional stage. The company produces works that inspire creativity not only in its actors but also its audience. The Strange Tree Group is committed to producing pieces that celebrate the strange and the magical; the dangerous and the fantastical; and the surprisingly usual nature of unusual behavior.

The Strange Tree Group won a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best Ensemble for their 2010 production ofShakespeare's King Phycus. The STG ensemble was nominated again for The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen, presented as part of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep, and Artistic Director Emily Schwartz won the Jeff Award for New Work forDr. Crippen (which also picked up the Jeff Award for Best Director, given to Jimmy McDermott). For more information, visit

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