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POISON Makes English World Premiere Tonight at Theatre Row

Origin Theatre Company, which specializes in introducing some of Europe's most compelling contemporary playwrights to New York audiences in brand new productions, presents the English world premiere of the internationally acclaimed play "Poison" by Dutch playwright Lot Vekemans. The drama's limited Off-Broadway engagement performs at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, from Thursday November 10 to Sunday December 11, with an Off-Broadway opening tonight November 16 at 8pm.

Featured in the two-character play are the OBIE Award-winner Birgit Huppuch as She, and the Drama Desk nominee Michael Laurence as He. Directed by Erwin Maas, the play is translated from Dutch by Rina Vergano.

In "Poison" words are used to conceal the truth and maintain boundaries as a couple meet again after a painful separation. Try as they might to avoid speaking about what happened and what has happened since, their fragility and doubt seep in through the cracks and wounds are opened anew.

"Poison" is widely considered one of the most successful international theatrical hits from the Netherlands. Originally titled "GIF," "Poison" won the Taalunie Toneelschrijfprijs Award in 2010 for best new Dutch play and has been produced in Russia, South America, China, and across Europe. The world premiere earned the Theo d'Or in 2011 for Dutch actress Elsie de Brauw. The play has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Chinese, Russian, Danish, and Swedish. Produced multiple times in Germany, it earned a 2014 Faust Award for the actress Dagmar Manzel. The Dutch screen version of the play is scheduled to premiere in 2018. An English film adaptation is in development.

The show's production design team includes Jian Jung (set and costume design), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (lighting), and Sam LaFrage (sound design). Performing live as a vocalist is Jordan Rutter. Carol Sullivan is the production stage manager.

In presenting the New York, US or North American premieres of notable contemporary European plays in brand new productions, Origin Theatre teams up with the ex-pat communities of the author's home countries to develop additional cultural programming. This production of "Poison" is supported by Dutch Culture USA, The Netherland-America Foundation, and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

A New York-based director of theater and opera from the Netherlands, Maas is the director of programming for Origin Theatre. For Origin in March he directed the North American premiere of "The Hundred We Are" by the internationally acclaimed Swedish novelist and playwright Jonas Hassen Khemiri. His directing work in New York has been staged at the Atlantic Theater, HERE, Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, the Cherry Lane, and for Pocket Opera of New York, and the American Opera Projects. From 2010 to 2014, he was the director of performing arts for the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Consulates in the USA.

Michael Laurence has appeared in numerous Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Productions including last year's critically acclaimed "Hamlet in Bed." He is featured in the NBC series Shades of Blue. Birgit Huppuch won her 2009 OBIE for her performance in the Foundry Theatre's production of "Telephone."

Origin Theatre Company (George C. Heslin artistic director) is the city's only theatre company devoted to presenting the American premieres of new works by Europe's brightest contemporary playwrights. Over the past 14 years, Origin has introduced works by 162 playwrights to US audiences, from such countries as Sweden, Romania, Macedonia, Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom. A year-round theatre company based in New York, Origin is widely known for producing the annual Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival. For information on Origin visit www.origintheatre.org.

"Poison" performs Thursday November 10 to Sunday December 11 (with an opening on Wednesday November 16 at 8pm), at Theatre Row Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street. Performances (18 in total) are Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm, with no performances on Wednesday and Thursday November 23 and 24. For tickets, which are $65, call 212-239-6200, or visit www.telecharge.com or www.origintheatre.org. (Running time: 90 minutes.)



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