FESTEN Makes New England Premiere at The Gamm, 1/12

FESTEN Makes New England Premiere at The Gamm, 1/12

The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (The Gamm) opens 2012 with the New England premiere of Festen, the hugely successful London and Broadway play about a modern Danish family with a dark and disturbing secret. British playwright David Eldridge's script is based on the award-winning 1998 Danish film and screenplay of the same name (released in the U.S. as The Celebration) by Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov and Bo Hr. Hansen.

Festen runs from January 12 through February 12 at The Gamm Theatre, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket, RI. Tickets: $34 and $42 (depending on day/time), preview and press performances (Jan. 12-16) only $25. Discounts for subscribers, groups of 10 or more, seniors and students. Tickets at 401-723-4266 or gammtheatre.org.

Play Synopsis: Helge is turning sixty, and everyone is coming home for the party. His eldest son, Christian, whose twin sister, Linda, recently committed suicide, will raise the first toast... and reveal a shocking family secret. Trapped for 24 hours within the walls of the lavish country estate, rocked by revelations that shatter the veneer of respectability, even the disbelieving guests are choosing sides as the truth painfully unfolds. Adapted from the award-winning 1998 Danish film by the same title (released in the U.S. as "The Celebration"), Festen redefines tragedy for a modern age. For mature audiences only.

In London, Festen received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, echoing earlier reactions to the film, now considered a modern movie classic that put the Danish film movement Dogme 95 on the cultural map.

The London Sunday Times called Eldridge's stage dramatization "electrifying, shocking and profoundly moving," while The Guardian declared Festen "a landmark play."

Artistic Director Tony Estrella helms The Gamm Theatre's production, featuring Gamm Resident Actor Steve Kidd (Claudius in Hamlet) as Christian and Boston-based stage and screen actor Will Lyman (narrator of PBS' "Frontline" series) making his Gamm debut as the patriarch, Helge.

Estrella said, "We deliberately chose to follow Hamlet, a hard act as there ever was, with this contemporary Danish tragedy. The echoes 400 years on are unmistakable: fathers, sons, revenge, a family falling to pieces. It's both the perfect companion piece and as shocking and cathartic a piece of theater as I have experienced in my career. Something is rotten in Denmark indeed."

The Providence Phoenix is media sponsor for Festen.

"The Providence Phoenix is once again proud to support The Gamm Theater in its mission to bring a unique, compelling theater experience to the people of Southern New England," said Marc Shepard, vice president, print and media sales for The Phoenix. "We appreciate the role they play in the vital creative economy of Rhode Island, and making quality artistic performances accessible to all."

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