AUGUST STRINDBERG REP TO PRESENT A NEW TRANSLATION OF STRINDBERG'S "THE FATHER" IN ROTATION WITH "#MeThree," THREE PLAYS BY RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHT NATALIE MENNA.
"The Father " by August Strindberg November 15 to December
"#MeThree" by Natalie Menna November 9 to December 1, 2018
These two plays run in rotation. See individual writeups below for performance schedules.
Both plays are presented by August Strindberg Rep in association with Theater Resources Unlimited at Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (between Bowery and Lafayette, East Village), NYC 10012
Tickets $20 for individual shows. Combination ticket: both shows for $30 (general admission).
Discount tickets for both shows: Students (under 30) and seniors (over 62) $15 for individual shows.
Premium tickets available to both shows: $30 Attache, $40 Consul, $50 Ambassador.
Box office: SMARTTIX, 212-868-4444; www.smarttix.com
Company's website: www.StrindbergRep.com
Photos of both shows are available or download at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Sm8xcNSKFdQ8sFrq7
NEW YORK, October 29 -- August Strindberg Rep will present Strindberg's "The Father," newly translated and directed by Robert Greer, in rotation with "#MeThree," an evening of three original short one-acts by resident playwright Natalie Menna, in rotating rep from November 9 to December 1. The two evenings are designed to enable audiences of the #MeToo era to examine the war between the sexes from both a classical and a modern perspective. Performances are at Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (between Bowery and Lafayette, East Village).
"The Father" by August Strindberg
Opens Th Nov. 15 (7:30) and runs through Sat Dec. 1 on the following schedule: Sat Nov. 17 (8:00), Sun Nov. 18 (3:00), Sat Nov. 24 (8:00), Sun Nov. 25 (3:00), Th Nov. 29 (7:30), Sat Dec.1 (8:00), Sun Dec 2 (3:00). [8 performances]
Running time: 2:00 including intermission.
Critics are invited on or after Thursday, Nov. 15.
In this tragedy, a wife casts doubts as to whether her husband is father of her daughter, in order to maintain control over daughter's academic and religious education. The husband, an army captain, is a scientist and a "free thinker," meaning atheist. He would have daughter educated to be a teacher, while the mother would have her become a painter. The mother manipulates the town Pastor (who happens to be her stepbrother) and the newly arrived town Doctor for her purposes. She uses her erotic influence over the doctor and her readiness to claim that the family lawyer is her child's father to drive her husband into the arms of his old trusted nurse, who straitjackets him.
Conceived before Freud described the Oedipus Complex, this 1887 play offers a proto-Freudian explanation of the unreasonable hatred that can exist between husbands and wives. Depending on the time of history, audiences tend to side with either the captain or his wife. The captain's insistence on "male perogatives" makes it sometimes seem that his wife's scheming brings him his just deserts. At other times, he seems a tragic victim of a diabolical female who, in the course of the play, is even told by the Pastor and the Doctor that she is a monster.
Robert Greer's translation does not steer us toward either conclusion; instead it finds hidden sexual meanings in the original Swedish dialogue (bowdlerized in many translations) that seem to drive the play. Much of it comes from the sexual electricity between the wife and the doctor. The translation doesn't resort to crude language, but it does convey some of the subtext that is near the surface. Meanwhile, deeper subtext is left in place for the actors to mine in their performances.
Mr. Greer points out that one reason the play fell out of favor in the 1960s and 70s was that it was viewed as reactionary. Nowadays, audiences can't help switching sides back and forth in watching it. In the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings, it's hoped that the production will reflect some of the sexual politics of our time and enlighten audiences on how we can have the venomous rise of Trumpism now.
Brad Fryman plays the Captain, Natalie Menna plays the wife, Daniel Lugo plays the Doctor, Gabe Bettio plays the Pastor, Bailey Newman plays the Daughter, Jo Vetter plays the Captain's old Nurse, and Tyler Joseph plays the Captain’s orderly.
Robert Greer (director, translator) is founding director of August Strindberg Rep, for which he has directed eleven Strindberg plays to-date. He has staged English-language premières of numerous contemporary Scandinavian playwrights, including Sweden's Marianne Goldman, Helena Sigander, Cecilia Sidenbladh, Oravsky and Larsen, Hans Hederberg, Margareta Garpe and Kristina Lugn; Denmark's Stig Dalager and Norway's Edvard Rønning. He has also directed classics by Victoria Benedictsson, Laura Kieler, Anne Charlotte Leffler and Amalie Skram. His productions have been presented at the Strindberg Museum and Strindberg Festival, Stockholm; Edinburgh and NY Fringe Festivals, Barnard College, Columbia University, Rutgers, UCLA; Miranda, Pulse and Theater Row Theaters, La MaMa, Manhattan Theatre Source, Tribeca Lab, Synchronicity, TSI, BargeMusic; and The Duplex in LA. He has also directed plays by Mario Fratti, Sartre and Corneille here in New York. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors' Equity; the Strindberg Society, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and Swedish Translators in North America.
"#MeThree" by Natalie Menna
Previews Fri Nov 9 (8:00), Sat Nov 10 (2:00). Opens Wed Nov 14 (7:30), runs through Sat, Dec 1 on the following schedule: Fri Nov 16 (8:00), Sat Nov 17 (2:00), Fri Nov 23 (8:00), Sat Nov 24 (2:00), Wed Nov 28 (7:30), Fri Nov 30 (8:00), Sat Dec 1 (2:00). [13 performances]
Running time: 85 min., including intermission.
Critics are invited on or after Wed Nov. 14.
The Freudian interpretation of "The Father" is that Strindberg shows how love can turn to hate when a man seeking a mother-madonna finds in the sex act a mistress-whore. This evening of three short plays by Natalie Menna, collectively titled "#MeThree," invoke a much more humanistic interpretation of the battle of the sexes.
"Hiroshi-Me, Me, Me" is a comedy about the aftermath of a short-lived affair between a desperate woman and a man who has dumped her. In a 30 minute comedy, it's clear that her narcissistic delusions have sent both her boyfriend and her best female friend running for the door. Janet Bentley directs; the actors are Ivette Dumeng, Daniel Lugo and Mary Charlotte Baynard.
Narcissism switches genders in the ensuing play, "Montana," in which an unprincipled and flamboyant male star is interviewed at the Academy Awards by an opportunistic and vapid female network correspondent. This comedy shows how it's not surprising that someone's pathological egoism and self-centeredness can distort reality, it's only surprising that the rest of us tolerate it. The play is directed by Charles Casano and acted by Regina Gibson and Sean Leigh Phillips.
The final play, "Pause," is a Pinteresque play about the suspicion of infidelity in a middle-aged man and his younger wife who say as much in their pauses as they do in their dialogue. It reflects back on "The Father" in interesting ways. It is not a play of overt cruelty, but it reveals an older husband using the authority of his age to behave oppressively toward his wife. The piece is directed by Ivette Dumeng and acted by Hannah Beck and James B. Kennedy.
"The Father" was intended to be played on a bare stage, reflecting Strindberg's presentation of one unified action from start to finish with stress on the passions, not the intrigue. This style is carried on in "#MeThree," which will be entirely staged in basically blank settings. For both productions, costume design is by Janet Mervin and lighting design is by Gilbert "Lucky" Pearto.
Natalie Menna is also author of "Committed," which was performed last year at the 14th Street Y, and a resident playwright of August Strindberg Rep, for whom she adapted "Journey in Light and Shadow" by Stig Dalager for a 2017 production at Gene Frankel Theatre. She has received awards at Planet Connections Festivity for her plays "Occasionally Nothing," "Committed" and "Zen A.M." Her "Roberta!" was presented twice at United Solo Festival. "Occasionally Nothing" was also presented by Theater for the New City in this year's Dream Up Festival. Her plays "Roberta!," "I-POD" and "Zen A.M." have been published by indietheaternow.com. She is also an actor.
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