World Premiere of THE MONSTER-BUILDER to Open at Artists Rep, 1/28-3/2

Artists Rep is honored to produce the world premiere of The Monster-Builder, a diabolical comedic treatise on modern architecture, by Amy Freed. As Freed is one of the nation's most lauded and respected new playwrights, Artists Rep is fortunate to host the inaugural production of this play. The Monster-Builder is directed by the esteemed and award-winning Art Manke and features a noteworthy West Coast cast.

A maniacal scheme of fantastical proportions lurks deep inside world-renowned mega-architect Gregor Zubrowski's post-modern steel and glass structures. His commanding presence and curious creative process both titillate and manipulate design professionals and patrons alike into submission. After he casually steals a career-making project, two fledgling architects dare to challenge this monster-builder at his own game. Expect the unexpected from this absurdly funny, wickedly smart, new comedy.

Artistic Director Dámaso Rodriguez said at the production's first rehearsal, "As I read Amy Freed's wonderfully intelligent script, I found myself laughing and being carried along by her incredibly distinct and utterly confident playwriting voice. I jumped at the chance to premiere The Monster-Builder here at Artists Rep."

Rodriguez said finding a director he can entrust with such a play is one of the most challenging aspects of being an Artistic Director. However, Manke, a nationally recognized and award-winning director from Los Angeles, is a longtime mentor and friend. Indeed, it was Manke who sent Rodriguez The Monster-Builder script after he'd seen an early workshop version two years ago. It made perfect sense that Manke would direct the play at Artists Rep. Of Rodriguez, Manke says, "Dámaso Rodriguez has been an esteemed colleague of mine in Los Angeles for many years, and I am honored to be included in his inaugural season at Artists Repertory Theatre, a company I have admired from afar for quite a while."

About the playwright, Director Manke says, "My relationship with Amy Freed goes back many years to our days as graduate acting students at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, where even then, she was always the smartest person in the room. Her plays have always held a great fascination for me, because her characters get to do and say the kinds of things most of us only ever dream of getting away with in our daily lives." He continues, "She is - without a doubt - among the brightest lights in America's playwriting firmament. Her greatest gift is as a brilliantly funny social satirist. And, as we all know, the most stinging satire gets to the heart of the matter via the truth."

In this statement Amy Freed writes about what she hopes to address with her viciously funny play: "All of us have seen what has happened to the modern city under the influence of the starchitects of the last several decades. I grew up looking at the functional modernism of the simple skyscraper. Then as the '70s turned into the '80s and Deconstructionist theory took hold, we started seeing these whole other forms - bloated, towering, crazy shapes emerge in our cityscape. I think what's happening to the cities we live in and love has been a cause of consternation for lots of people. So I try to bring these concerns into a language that's theatrical, that's fun, that's a little outrageous, to provoke discussion and reaction. I want to make ordinary people feel free to have an opinion on these subjects, because I think a lot of development - and especially development with big money behind it - relies on the two big tactics. One is that resistance is futile, and the other is intellectual intimidation - making people feel that they are too stupid to have a valid opinion."

The Monster-Builder - World Premiere, written by Amy Freed and directed by Art Manke, features Michael Elich, Allison Tigard, Gavin Hoffman, Bhama Roget Robin Goodwin Nordli and Don Alder. The show runs January 28 - March 2, playing Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2pm. Opening Night is Saturday, February 1, 2014. All shows play the Artists Repertory Theatre's Alder Stage (16th and Alder St.) Tickets: $25-$55. Box office: 503.241.1278 or online at

The Monster-Builder is part of the Fertile Ground Festival of New Work. Preview performances of this play will be part of the Fertile Ground Festival offerings.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Amy Freed is the author of You, Nero, Restoration Comedy, The Beard of Avon, Safe in Hell, Freedomland, The Psychic Life of Savages and other plays. Selected regional credits include productions at Arena Stage, South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Woolly Mammoth, ACT, The Goodman, Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, Portland Center Stage and many others. In New York, her work has been produced at New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons and The Flea. Freed was a Pulitzer Finalist for Freedomland, and has been the recipient of many other playwriting awards including the Joseph Kesserling Award (NYC) and the Charles MacArthur Award (Washington DC). She has been a recipient several times of the LA Critics Circle and Bay Area Critics Circle Awards. She recently completed a Mellon Foundation Playwriting Residency at DC's Arena Stage. Freed is an Artist in Residence at Stanford University.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Art Manke is a five-time winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award. Manke is a nationally recognized director of classics, musicals and new work, whose recent productions include The Three Musketeers, The 39 Steps, The Miracle Worker, and the world premiere of Great Wall Story for the Denver Center Theatre Company; Sense and Sensibility at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; numerous productions for South Coast Repertory including his award-winning Bach at Leipzig, Noises Off, Taking Steps, The Wind in the Willows, Lucky Duck; and a string of Noel Coward comedies for the Pasadena Playhouse including Private Lives, Fallen Angels, the American premiere of Star Quality, and the upcoming A Song At Twilight. Mr. Manke is a co-founder of A Noise Within, L.A.'s acclaimed classical theatre company, where he served as artistic director for the first 10 seasons (1991-2001) overseeing more than f50 productions, statewide touring and a full roster of educational programs. Among the plays he directed for the company are The Winter's Tale, Hay Fever, Pericles, Oedipus the King, Cymbeline, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Importance of Being Earnest, Tartuffe, The School for Wives, Romeo & Juliet, Volpone, The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet. Other credits include work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Santa Fe Stages, American Players Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, and Maui's Studio H'Poko where he served as Principal Guest Director from 1992-2002. He is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conservatories throughout the country and directs for television. Originally from Chicago, Mr. Manke holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA from The American Conservatory Theatre.

Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. Artists Rep is committed to world-class acting, directing, design and stagecraft that support new playwriting and aspires to embody great literature, moving audiences to truly feel - to experience - storytelling in a way that only the best Live Theatre can.

Portland's premiere mid-size regional theatre company is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodriguez and Managing Director Sarah Horton. For the 2013/14 season Artists Rep will offer nine bold and entertaining new plays written by internationally acclaimed playwrights, and guided by esteemed directors. Artists Rep productions will feature the work of a core group of accomplished Resident Artists, each with a shared history and a shorthand for collaboration, working alongside guest artists from Portland and beyond.

Our Mission: Artists Repertory Theatre challenges artists and audiences with adventurous and provocative plays staged in an intimate environment. Artists Rep feeds our community's artistic soul with premieres, re-imagined classics, new play development and educational outreach.

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