Michael Trevino stars as Raskolnikov in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT at Santa Monica's Edgemar Center for the Arts
Working Barn Productions presents Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus's Jefferson Award-winning adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's famous novel, Crime and Punishment,a thrilling 90-minute psychological inquiry into the troubled mind of a murderer. Peter Richards directs Michael Trevino (CW's Roswell, New Mexico; The Vampire Diaries) in the role of Raskolnikov; Lola Kelly (Circle X, Chance Theatre, SCR, REDCAT) and Brian Wallace (End of the Rainbow at La Mirada, Cash on Delivery at the El Portal) play all the other characters.Crime and Punishment will run April 27 through May 26 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica.
This provocative adaptation, written for only three actors, compresses all the tension and pathos of the novel into a powerful evening of theater that is at once fresh and faithful to the original. Dive into the greatest crime story ever written, a tale of murder, motive and redemption that plumbs the depths of the human soul. Like a 19th century Tony Soprano, Raskolnikov fancies himself above the law - entitled to such an extent that he may decide who is worthy of life - and of death. But he meets his match in Inspector Porfiry, a master of mind games who is determined to elicit a confession.
"What's exciting about this play is that it's not a whodunit - it's a whydunit," says Richards, who directed the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of Kevin Armento's Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally at the Odyssey Theatre (Huffington Post's 2017 Top Ten Los Angeles Theatre Productions). "Raskolnikov exemplifies the kind of criminal who's been with us throughout history, and who we read about in the news all the time - a super-smart guy with Utopian visions, perhaps delusions of grandeur, who attempts to justify his amoral actions through lofty intellectual theories about right and wrong."
But, like Dostoyevsky, Richards is just as interested in the punishment aspect of the story. "In the end, the reasons for Raskolnikov's crimes are more basic - he's a vain, malicious and narcissistic person," Richards says. "Modern society is not very interested in a path to redemption for this kind of criminal. But Dostoyevsky was a religious man, and the story is set within a kind of spiritual framework for justice - the idea that if one truly recognizes one's crimes, and confesses to oneself and to God, this process creates an opportunity for healing and spiritual rebirth."
According to Richards, we seem to be losing touch with that framework. "There seem to be fewer pathways to forgiveness these days. What do we do with people whose actions reveal a 'stained soul?' Dostoyevsky suggests an answer that's worth our attention. In the play, Porfiry knows he can just send Raskolnikov to prison, but instead he invites him to take the difficult journey to self-discovery, because perhaps even a heinous murderer is capable of redemption."
Campbell and Columbus' adaptation premiered at the Writers Theatre in Chicago in 2003, where it won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best new adaptation. It has since been performed around the country, to rave reviews. The New York Times called it "engrossing theater... will banish any bad memories you might have of trying to struggle through Dostoyevsky's book."
Anyone who saw Richards' production of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally will remember his unique and stylish use of technology to tell the story. In Crime and Punishment, Richards will incorporate live camera feeds, projecting oversized images of the actors in real time that will magnify the psychological depth and impact of their words and let the audience see into their eyes during the performance.
The creative team for Crime and Punishment includes set designer Pete Hickok, lighting designer Derrick McDaniel, sound and projection designer Mark Van Hare and costume designer Alex Jaeger. The production stage manager is Karen Schleifer, and Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners produces.
Peter Richards' other directing credits include site-specific productions of Chekhov's The Seagulland Shakespeare's The Tempest on a farm in Maine, a staging of Julius Caesar that employed local residents as a Greek chorus, and critically acclaimed productions of the Pulitzer-nominated drama Dying City by Christopher Shinn; the Obie-winning play The Aliens by Annie Baker; and Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill at the Wild Project in NYC. Among his theatrical avant-garde projects are numerous shows with Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant (an ensemble of which he is a founding member), presented in New York at the Ohio Theater and the Bushwick Starr. His directorial work in Los Angeles includes a production of Macbeth, also at the Edgemar. Richards also directs educational theater projects at Bates College in Maine. He holds an MFA degree in Acting from the Institute of Advanced Theater Training at Harvard and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.
Crime and Punishment previews on Friday, April 26 and opens for press on Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m., with performances continuing thereafter on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. through May 26. All tickets are $25, except the preview which is $15.
The Edgemar Center for the Arts is located at 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405. For reservations and information, call (323) 960-7822 or go to www.OnStage411.com/Crime