The Roundtable Ensemble Presents GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD, Opens 1/14/2010

The Roundtable Ensemble (Kelly Ann Moore, Artistic Director and Joshua P. Weiss, Managing Director), now in its 11th season, will present a new adaptation of Nikolai Erdman's black comedy "The Suicide" entitled "GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD." The play will be adapted and directed by Robert Ross Parker and presented at the ArcLight Theater, 152 West 71st Street, (between B'way and Columbus). Performances will begin on January 14, and the official opening performance will be on Sunday, January 17 at 3:30 p.m. Performances for the four-week run will play through February 6.

Nikolai Erdman was a Soviet dramatist and screenwriter primarily remembered for his work with Vsevolod Meyerhold in the 1920s. His plays (among them his comic masterpiece, The Suicide, and his first major but lesser known work The Warrant) form a link in Russian literary history between the satirical drama of Gogol and the post-World War II Theatre of the Absurb. Although three of Russia's greatest theater companies all competed for the rights to produce The Suicide, Stalin was at the beginning of his first Five Year Plan. He banned the play, had Erdman arrested (for being a dissident) and exiled him to Siberia. Moscow finally allowed a showing 50 years later but by then Erdman had died, having never written another play.

"GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" (freely adapted by Robert Ross Parker from a literal translation of Erdman's "Samoubiitsa" by MarIna Raydun) tells the story of Semoyan Semyonavich, an unemployed, impoverished young man who discovers the joy of life only when he decides to kill himself. Then word gets out and he finds himself inundated with sympathetic visitors - begging him to die on their behalf!

Adapter and director Robert Ross Parker is the co-artistic director of Vampire Cowboys with Qui Nguyen. For Vampire Cowboys he co-authored and directed Vampire Cowboy Trilogy (published by New York Theatre Experience), and A Beginner's Guide to Deicide, and directed Living Dead in Denmark, Men of Steel, and Fight Girl Battle World (nominated for outstanding director and production, NY Innovative Theatre Awards) and most recently Soul Samurai. For the VC Saturday Night Saloon series he wrote Jimmy Starshooter Must Get Laid, and Radio Monster Theatre: The Further Adventures of Henry and Victor. Other recent directing credits include Hamlet {solo} featuring Raoul Bhaneja (Edinburgh Fringe and UK tour, Toronto & Canadian Tour, NYC in the Solo Nova Festival at PS 122), Children's Letter's to God (national tour), and numerous projects for Ensemble Studio Theatre and Youngblood. At the Toronto Fringe Robert created and directed Pseudolus and A Midsummer Night's Dream Project for Cabbagetown Theatre. 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 has also assisted on Broadway (High Fidelity), off-Broadway, and at regional theatres including People's Light & Theatre Company, Toronto's Soulpepper, and Barrington Stage Company where he served as assistant to the artistic director. For LAByrinth Theatre he co-produced the Barn Series in 2002 and 2003. He is currently the editor of The Dramatist, the Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America.

The five-member cast will be headed by Paco Tolson (as Semoyan Semyonavich), and will also include Cindy Cheung (Serafima), Curran Connor (Alexander), William Jackson Harper (Aristarch), Tami Stronach (Maria), and Aaron Roman Weiner (Eygorushka). All the actors play multiple roles, the role listed above is their featured one. Mr. Tolson was nominated for a 2008 NYIT Award for Featured Actor in Fight Girl Battle World, and was part of the NYIT Best Ensemble winning Vampire Cowboys' production of that play. Also with Vampire Cowboys he appeared in: Men of Steel and Soul Samurai. Other New York theater credits include: End Days at E.S.T. directed by Lisa Peterson and The Children of Vonderly for Ma-Yi directed by Ralph B. Pena. Ms. Cheung's New York theater credits include: NAATCO's The Seagull; Ma-Yi's I_NY, directed by Loy Arcenas; P.S. 122's Sides: The Fear Is Real, directed by Anne Kauffman. Film roles include: a leading role in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water and a featured role in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. Mr. Connor's recent New York credits include: Baby Girl at Center Stage; The Main(e) Play at The Lion Theater; and Scituate at The Barrow Group. Mr. Harper appeared in the Manhattan Theater Club and Goodman Theatre productions of Ruined. He has been seen in New York in Queens Boulevard (the musical); Paradise Park at Signature; The Children of Vonderly (Ma-Yi Theater); Rich Boyfriend (The New Group); Bike Wreck (E.S.T.); and Full Bloom (Vital Theatre). Ms. Stronach made her acting debut as The Childlike Empress in The NeverEnding Story, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. She is the Artistic Director of Tami Stronach Dance having presented work at Danspace Project, DTW, PS 122, The Joyce, and HERE among other venues. She has also performed with The Flying Machine Theater Company from 2001-2007 in Signals of Distress, Frankenstein, and Wonderland. Mr. Weiner has been seen in Girl at the NY International Fringe Festival; Baby Steps at The Lion Theater; in the Michael Mann film Public Enemies and on TV's Rescue 911.

The set and lighting design for Roundtable Ensemble's "GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" will be by Nick Francone, the costume design by Theresa Squire and Antonia Ford-Roberts, the sound design by Shane Rettig, and the properties by Lena Grotticelli. The production manager will be Andrea Ghersetich, the assistant director Adam Mazer, and the production stage manager Henry Cheng.

The Roundtable Ensemble (, founded in 1998, produces humanist theater in New York City. The company believes theater can make a powerful contribution to the lives of the people in our community by acting as a laboratory in which new ways of relating within and to our community can be explored by both the theater artist and the audience.

"GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" will be performed from January 14 through February 6 on a Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday at 3:30 p.m. schedule. The first week there will be no Saturday matinee performance and the official Opening Performance will be an added performance on Sunday, January 17 at 3:30 pm. All tickets will be $18.00. The box office number to charge tickets is 1-800-838-3006 or go to Reservations may also be made at 212-696-6699.

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