Luna Stage Presents World Premiere Of MRS. STERN WANDERS THE PRUSSIAN STATE LIBRARY
Luna Stage will launch the 2019 MainStage Season with the World Premiere of Jenny Lyn Bader's Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library, directed by Ari Laura Kreith. Set in Nazi Germany, this suspenseful drama explores the relationship between Hannah Arendt and the young prison guard who arrests and interrogates her.
The play takes place in 1933, after Hitler has declared a state of emergency. Martial law is in effect, with a new secret state police in formation, and political activism has become a capital crime. One young police officer, Karl Frick, gets promoted from the criminal division to the new political division. In his first week at his new job, he arrests Johanna Stern, a graduate student seen copying documents in the library. Karl has no idea that Mrs. Stern will become one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, known better as Hannah Arendt. Is Mrs. Stern an innocent who pressed a button on the mimeograph machine at the wrong moment? Or is she an enemy of the state? He can already tell that his first interrogation promises to be his most challenging one.
"The story of (Arendt's) arrest and imprisonment and how she first became 'stateless,' not widely known, feels especially relevant to re-imagine today," says playwright Bader. "And the insight and courage she showed then leave us a legacy of wisdom and inspiration."
"When I first read the play, I was chilled by the ways it resonates with current events," says director Kreith. "How do we respond to the detention of innocent people? What happens when political action becomes criminalized? What do we do when laws are no longer fixed and can be applied retroactively to justify prosecution and persecution?"
Playwright Jenny Lyn Bader and director Ari Laura Kreith met at the wedding of two academics who thought seating their two theatre artist friends together would cause them to collaborate. "It felt cringe-worthy at the time," says Bader, "but somehow we have been collaborating ever since." Ari has directed Jenny Lyn's work including Memory Play (Women's Project Directors Forum - w/ Eli Wallach), Out of Mind: 7 Short Plays With Some of the People Missing (Stamford Fringe Festival), History of Communication (World's Fair Play Festival, Queens Theatre), and The Love Experiment (The Painting Plays, Guild Hall - w/ Tovah Feldshuh). They have also worked together on multi-author projects such as 2Gether (Six Figures), How We are Connected: Caribbean (Museo del Barrio; Brooklyn Museum), The Church of Why Not (Theatre 167), all three plays in the Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theatre 167), and I Like to Be Here (New Ohio Theatre), affectionately known as "the fourth trilogy play." They co-founded Theatre 167 where Ari served as Artistic Director and resident director and Jenny Lyn was resident playwright and served as Director of Artistic Development and then Artistic Producer. Theatre 167 received the Outstanding Premiere Production Award (NY Innovative Theatre Foundation) as well as NYITF's Caffé Cino Award for consistently producing outstanding independent theatre.
Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library runs through November 10, at Luna Stage in the Valley Arts District. Tickets are $20-$40, and are available at www.lunastage.org or by calling (866) 811 - 4111. A limited number of premium Opening Night tickets are available for $50, which includes the post-show party with the cast and creative team. Special events including pre-show LunaLit book-related events and conversations with guest experts and members of the creative team are scheduled throughout the run. The full schedule will be posted at LunaStage.org