THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY'S DREAM UP FESTIVAL TO PRESENT THE WORLD PREMIERE OF "THE ASSASSINATION OF J.KAISAAR, THE DESTRUCTION OF MARKO T AND KLEOPATRA AND THE RISE OF AUGUSTUS," WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY STEPHAN MORROW
Noble Romans rise and fall like Tony Soprano in the time of Mad Max.
NEW YORK, July 10 -- Stephan Morrow set out to dramatize the unintended consequences of political assassination and out popped an epic fantasy, "The Assassination of j.Kaisaar, the destruction of Marko T and Kleopatra and the rise of Augustus," a play drawing on Plutarch, Shaw, Shakespeare and other sources. Since power struggles today so resemble Mafia wars, it's somewhat like "The Sopranos" meets "Mad Max," written in uber-contemporary language with vestiges of the Bard. Theater for the New City's tenth Dream Up Festival will present the play's world premiere September 9 to 15, 2019, directed by the author.
The theme of the play is that political assassination can have unintended consequences and should be considered as the least effective solution to political conflict if a free citizenry is valued above all else. The irony of history, you see, is that the democratic impulse to save the Roman republic by unseating Julius Caesar ushered in the age of Octavius, who governed so well that his system of authoritarianism lasted over 200 years, creating a heyday of empire.
The action is resonant with the classics, but set in a dystopian future with characters' names similar if not identical to the giants of history. Ottorius (Octavius) is a philosophy student studying in Athens when he is notified that he has been named Kaisaar's heir. He and Marco T (Marc Antony) join forces and defeat the conspirators at Nilidae (Phillipi) in a set piece battle. After they divide the empire, Marko T embarks for the East, where he falls in love with Kleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Tension builds between the two rulers of The Domain until they declare war on each other. Marco T and Kleopatra are defeated in a major naval battle. By the end of the story, it is clear that from a shy, retiring student of philosophy, Ottorius has hidden strengths that serve him well as a ruler. His daring moves include implementing a new conservatism into politicians' morals, even expelling his own sister for her sexual indulgences. He is what Plato called a "philosopher king" and the autocracy he establishes will bring peace and prosperity for two centuries.
Playwright/director Stephan Morrow was mentored into the Playwright Directing Unit of the Actor's Studio by Elia Kazan. After working on two plays and a film with Norman Mailer, Morrow acted in and directed Mailer's play, "The Deer Park – Hollywood goes to Hell" in 2007 and was invited to co-direct and act in a film of the play. He has directed seven productions of Mario Fratti plays, all of them at TNC. He has also collaborated closely with Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Lyle Kessler and Murray Schisgal. He has helmed, among many others, "Triangle - The Shirtwaist Triangle Factory Fire" by J. Gilhooley at 59E59St Theaters, concert readings of Murray Schisgal plays at The Actor's Studio and TNC, and the NY theatrical debut of "Dogmouth" by John Steppling at TNC. He directed and acted in the independent film of "Dogmouth," which has played in six festivals. Morrow is Artistic Director of The Great American Play Series, which presents "performances on book" of neglected American classics featuring prominent actors. His essays on his global journey as a soldier of peace in Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam war received awards in the Solas International Travel Writing Competiton.
THE DREAMUP FESTIVAL
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
In addition to traditional plays, a unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered, drawing upon a variety of performance genres including musicals and movement theater. The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
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Captioned, high-resolution photos of shows in this festival are available for download at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8TM5hCWLmZbKzV4p9
The festival's website is www.dreamupfestival.org.