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Cutting Ball Theater to Close 17th Season with August Strindberg's A DREAMPLAY

Cutting Ball Theater closes its 17th season, dedicated to dreams, with August Strindberg's A DREAMPLAY. Paul Walsh, who translated all five plays in Cutting Ball's 2012 Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, provides a new translation of one of Strindberg's most admired and influential dramas. Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose, who directed all of the plays in Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, helms A DREAMPLAY, featuring Ponder Goddard (Ubu Roi, Communiqué N°10, Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep), Carl Holvick (Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep), Kunal Prasad, Josh Schell (Pelléas and Mélisande), Marilet Martinez (Ondine, Ubu Roi, Tontlawald, Mud), Kirsten Peacock, Radhika Rao, and Carina Lastimosa Salazar. A DREAMPLAY plays May 20 through June 19 (press opening: May 26) at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-50) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 415-525-1205.

In A DREAMPLAY, a young woman nearing the end of her life dreams of herself as Indra's daughter, descending to earth to better understand the plight of humanity. Through this surreal journey, she meets an officer, a lawyer and a poet, and experiences joy, excitement, pain, and suffering. August Strindberg structured this play using a dream logic that was later adopted by expressionist playwrights. A DREAMPLAY is the first time a playwright attempted to write a play in the form of a dream. This play directly influenced the expressionist and surrealist generations later and is what paved the way for films like Inception, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Vanilla Sky, Jacob's Ladder, Memento, and Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. There is a split in theater between representing the world as it is (naturalism) and representing the world as it feels (non-naturalism) and the split starts here with this play.

"When Paige and I founded The Cutting Ball Theater 17 years ago, there was an entire body of work I hoped to explore," said Artistic Director Rob Melrose. "At the center of this body of work was A Dreamplay by August Strindberg. I've very much been influenced by the book The Dream and the Underworld by James Hillman, who builds upon the works of Freud and Jung, but sees the world of dreams as being tied to trips to the underworld; he cites the journeys of Odysseus, Aeneas, and Dante. He also believes that we do damage to dreams when we bring them up into the waking world and try to interpret them by the rules of the real world. In mounting A Dreamplay, a decision has to be made about whose dream it is, how is this night different from every other night? Hillman's works, as well as a number of recent events, have helped me to hone in on an approach to directing Strindberg's masterpiece."

Continued Melrose, "The last time Cutting Ball visited the world of Strindberg, it was with our seven-and-a-half-hour marathon of Strindberg's Chamber Plays in Rep, all in new translations by Paul Walsh. This translation of A Dreamplay is also a new translation by Paul Walsh and marks our eighth collaboration together. A Dreamplay is also my last production at Cutting Ball as Artistic Director. I will retain the title of Founding Artistic Director and will continue to do projects here, but I am looking forward to making space in my life for new challenges and opportunities. Even so, I will always consider Cutting Ball my artistic home. It is a very nice thing to leave a place feeling like you accomplished everything you set out to do, but it is time for me now to take some time away to allow space for new dreams."

Rob Melrose is the Founding Artistic Director and co-founder of the Cutting Ball Theater and works nationally as a freelance director. He has directed at The Public Theater (Pericles); the Guthrie Theater (Freud's Last Session, Happy Days, Pen, Julius Caesar - with the Acting Company); Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Troilus and Cressida - in association with the Public Theater); The Old Globe (Much Ado About Nothing); Magic Theatre (An Accident, World Premiere); PlayMakers Rep (Happy Days); California Shakespeare Theater (Villains, Fools, and Lovers); Black Box Theatre (The Creature, World Premiere); Actors' Collective (Hedda Gabler); The Gamm Theatre (Creditors); and Crowded Fire Theater (The Train Play), among others. Directing credits at Cutting Ball include the World Premieres of Ondine, Communiqué N°10, Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night; Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep; Pelléas & Mélisande; the Bay Area Premiere of Will Eno's Lady Grey (in ever lower light); The Tempest; The Bald Soprano; Victims of Duty; Bone to Pick and Diadem (World Premiere); Endgame; Krapp's Last Tape; The Taming of the Shrew; Macbeth; Hamletmachine; As You Like It; The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; Mayakovsky: A Tragedy; My Head Was a Sledgehammer; Roberto Zucco; The Vomit Talk of Ghosts (World Premiere); The Sandalwood Box; Pickling; Ajax for Instance; Helen of Troy (World Premiere); and Drowning Room (World Premiere). He is a recipient of the NEA / TCG Career Development Program award for directors. Melrose has a B.A. in English and Theater from Princeton University and an M.F.A. in directing from the Yale School of Drama. He has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, USF, the University of Rhode Island, and Marin Academy. Additionally, Melrose's translations include Communique´ N°10, No Exit, Woyzeck, Pelléas and Mélisande, The Bald Soprano, The Chairs and Ubu Roi.

Paul Walsh is Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of the New Harmony Project, a new play development residency program dedicated to serving writers who celebrate hope and the resiliency of the human spirit. For nine years (1996-2005), Walsh was resident Dramaturg and Director of Humanities at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where he collaborated on dozens of productions, including his own translations of August Strindberg's Creditors (1992), Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (2004), and Hedda Gabler (2007). His translation of Ibsen's The Master Builder was produced to critical and popular acclaim in 2005 by the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley and in a revised version at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2009. Additionally, Walsh has worked at new play development venues including the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, among others; he serves on the Board of Directors of the Ibsen Society of America.

Cutting Ball Theater has assembled a gifted ensemble for A DREAMPLAY. Associate Artist Ponder Goddard returns to Cutting Ball as Agnes / Indra's daughter in A DREAMPLAY; she last appeared in the company's productions of Ubu Roi and Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep. Additional credits include Cutting Ball's Taming of the Shrew and productions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, The Cochrane Theatre (London), Grassroots Shakespeare London Company, 21 Limbs (London), and the Drama Centre. Carl Holvick-Thomas, who last appeared at Cutting Ball in Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, returns as the Lawyer. Credits include productions at Shotgun Players (Great Divide, God's Plot), Crowded Fire Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Stage Company, Pacific Repertory Theater, Playwrights Foundation, Marin Shakespeare Company, and Word for Word.

Kunal Prasad makes his Cutting Ball debut as The Poet in A DREAMPLAY. Credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and the American Repertory Theater. He received his BA from San Francisco State University, and MFA from The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, and studied Improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. Also returning is Josh Schell as The Officer, who was last seen at Cutting Ball in Pelléas and Mélisande. Other credits include The Nether (San Francisco Playhouse), Ada and the Memory Engine (Central Works), Fifth of July (Aurora Theatre Company), Our Town (Shotgun Players), The Bereaved (Crowded Fire Theater) and In the Red and Brown Water (Marin Theatre Company), among others. Independent films include For the Coyotes (Official Selection, 2015 Bend Film Festival), Pleased to Meet You (Showcase Selection, 2014 Lucerne Int'l Film Festival) and The Whistler, among others.

Cutting Ball Associate Artist Marilet Martinez was last seen in the company's productions of Ondine, Ubu Roi, Tontlawald, and Mud. Additional credits include productions at Crowded Fire Theater, Impact Theatre, Woman's Will, Brava Theater, African-American Shakespeare Company, Teatrovision, San Francisco Mime Troupe, California Shakespeare Theater, SF Playwrights Center, Custom Made Theatre, Precarious Theatre, and Shadowlight Theatre, among others. She is a co-founder of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network. Rounding out the cast and making their Cutting Ball debuts are Kirsten Peacock, Radhika Rao, and Carina Lastimosa Salazar. Peacock's recent credits include productions at Theatre Rhinoceros, T:24, and Entita Theatre (UK). Roa is a member of Eth-noh-tec storytelling company and a Resident Artist at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; other credits include productions at Word for Word and New Conservatory Theatre Center. Salazar's credits include productions with Magic Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, and Bay Area Children's Theatre.

Co-founded in 1999 by theater artists Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers, Cutting Ball Theater presents avant-garde works of the past, present, and future by re-envisioning classics, exploring seminal avant-garde texts, and developing new experimental plays. In addition to producing West Coast Premieres and re-imagining various classics, Cutting Ball Theater has produced nine World Premieres and seven World Premiere translations. Cutting Ball received the 2008 San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie award for outstanding talent in the performing arts, and was voted "Best Theater Company" in the 2010 San Francisco Bay Guardian Best of the Bay issue. The company also earned the Best of SF award in 2006 and "Best Experimental Theater Company" in 2012 from SF Weekly, and the 2013 inaugural Acker Award for "Achievement in the Avant-Garde". Cutting Ball was selected by San Francisco magazine as Best Classic Theater in 2007 and was featured in the February 2010, 2012, December 2014 and January 2015 issues of American Theatre Magazine. In 2012, Cutting Ball was awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a three-year residency for playwright Andrew Saito. The American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards, awarded the company a 2013 National Theatre Company grant.


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