Theater for the New City to present August Strindberg Rep
in Ibsen's "Creditors," translated and directed by Robert Greer.
WHERE AND WHEN:
April 27 to May 14, 2023
Theater for the New City presents the August Strindberg Rep production of Strindberg's "Creditors"
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street)
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM
$18 gen. adm, $15 seniors & students
Buy tickets: www.theaterforthenewcity.net, (212) 254-1109
Previews April 27 & 28, opens April 29. Critics are invited on or after April 29.
NEW YORK, April 20 -- From April 27 to May 14, Theater for the New City will present an innovative August Strindberg Rep production of Strindberg's "Creditors." The 1888 drama will be updated to modern Long Island in this adaptation, which is newly translated and directed by Robert Greer. It's 2023 and Gustav, a professor of classics and archaeology, travels in disguise to Montauk, where his faithless ex-wife, celebrity novelist Tekla, and her eminent painter husband Adolf are summering. During Tekla's absence on a book tour, Gustav worms his way into Adolf's confidence and undermines their already shaky marriage, with fatal consequences.
The play, a masterpiece from Strindberg's naturalist period, is rarely excelled in its unity of construction, dramatic tension and acute psychological analysis, but it is far less performed and anthologized than "The Father" or "Miss Julie." The drama is set in a parlor and adjoining rooms of a seaside resort. Adolph, a painter-turned-sculptor, is falling under the spell of Gustav, an ill-natured older man whom he has just met. In the guise of friendly male conversation Gustav, Iago-like, makes Adolph dissect his love for his new wife Tekla. She is a novelist whose star is rising while Adolph's is falling. We learn that Tekla is Gustav's former wife and she has written a roman a clef about him, characterizing him as an idiot. In an act of revenge, the older man is manipulating the artist to believe that his wife has selfishly robbed him of his creative strength in an act of erotic vampirism. The men agree that Adolph will hide in the antechamber and eavesdrop while Gustav engages Tekla to demonstrate "how to handle a woman." Instead of confronting her, Gustav charms her into a farewell tryst. When Tekla awakens to the plot, it is too late--Adolph, listening at the keyhole, succumbs to an offstage attack of epilepsy. The play whirls with mind and power games and is a brilliant statement on the kinetics of conjugal dependency. But it is written in a tottering rhetoric which has led to a swollen and lofty tone in translations to-date. This has been a barrier to its popularity, and Robert Greer's translation aims to render the play into a more contemporary voice for the benefit of sophisticated New York audiences.
The play's Swedish title, "Fordringsägare," means debtor and refers to Tekla's supposed debt to each of her husbands while posing as a person of original gifts.
Translator/director Robert Greer is Artistic Director of August Strindberg Rep, which is a resident company of TNC. He has staged 15 Strindberg plays with the company to-date. He has also 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 Association, the Strindberg Society, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and Swedish Translators in North America.
This adaptation was developed, in part, in a work-in-progress in TNC's 2018 Dream Up Festival, when it was styled in its original period.
Natalie Menna plays the celebrity novelist, Tekla. Brad Fryman plays her husband, the eminent painter Adolf. Mike Roche plays her ex-husband Gustav, the distinguished professor of classical languages and archaeology. The three appeared together last fall in Strindberg Rep's "Hedda 1981," presented by Theater for the New City (Menna as Hedda, Fryman as Judge Brack and Roche as Lovborg). Lighting Design is by Omar Jaslin. Stage Manage is Jose Ruiz.
August Strindberg Repertory Theatre, under the direction of Robert Greer, is committed to productions of Nordic plays in new translations and interpretations that illuminate the works for today's American audience. This writing has had helped to make the transition from kitchen and keyhole drama to poetic theater. That is why TNC has taken this repertory into its family. Mr. Greer writes, "The Strindberg Rep is deeply grateful to Crystal Field for having made us a resident company. Crystal's support of new plays (and plays newly translated) has been a godsend to us. Her knowledge and experience of theater is a beacon guiding us and her unflagging devotion to the art of the drama and its artists is a role model for leaders of all cultural institutions."
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CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after April 29 (opening date).