Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Preview: IONESCO'S "THE KILLER" AT TFANA
Theatre for a New Audience Presents
First New York Production since 1960
By Eugène Ionesco
Newly Translated by Michael Feingold
Featuring Michael Shannon,
Kristine Nielsen, Paul Sparks,
Directed by Darko Tresnjak
Inaugural Season Final Production
Polonsky Shakespeare Center
Previews May 17, Opens May 29
Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) plays Berenger in Eugène Ionesco's THE KILLER in a new translation by Michael Feingold, directed by Darko Tresnjak (A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder).
Last produced Off-Broadway in 1960, The Killer is the final production of the inauguraral season for Theatre for a New Audience at their new Polonsky Shakespeare Center.
Previews begin Saturday, May 17, at 7:30pm for an opening Thursday, May 29, at 7:30pm and a scheduled run through Sunday, June 29.
Single tickets are now on sale.
Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) is one of the 20th century's most acclaimed playwrights. A Romanian who wrote mostly in French, Ionesco's family moved to Paris in 1911. His father left for Bucharest in 1916, ostensibly to fight in World War I, and never returned. In 1922, he used forged documents to obtain a divorce and custody. He then insisted that Eugène and his younger sister live with him and his new wife and learn Romanian. His father's cowardice -- particularly the rationales by which he accommodated the rise of Romanian fascism in the 1930s -- figure in Ionesco's writings.
Ionesco returned to France in 1939 and settled in Paris after the war. Clownish mockery and sharp seriousness are characteristic of his work. He first burst onto the theatre scene in 1950 with The Bald Soprano and ultimately wrote 28 plays, as well as novels, short stories and essays.
The Killer (in French, Tueur sans gages) was written in 1957 and had its world premiere in Paris in 1959. It is the first of Ionesco's four plays featuring the hapless, inadvertently heroic Everyman-character Berenger (the other three are A Stroll in the Air, Exit the King and his most popular play, Rhinoceros).
In The Killer, Berenger discovers a radiant city, a kind of utopia near his dismal urban home. It is a perpetually sunny, impeccable, clean place full of marvelous architecture and beautiful gardens. But there is one hitch: a serial murderer has been killing people for so long that the authorities have given up trying to catch him.
Jeffrey Horowitz, Founding Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience, explains, "Theatre for a New Audience produces major modern authors alongside Shakespeare. Michael Shannon, who played Berenger in 1998 at Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre (co-founded by Mr. Shannon), introduced me to The Killer. Last season, Theatre for a New Audience produced Samuel Beckett's Fragments. Ionesco, like Beckett, writes about the comedy of human communication and characters unable to control their existence. Exploring the language and ideas of Ionesco after Beckett makes sense. And, Michael wanted to play Berenger again and was excited to work with director Darko Tresnjak in a new translation by Michael Feingold both of whom have long, fruitful relationships with Theatre for a New Audience."
"The Killer is a wildly imaginative and eclectic play, a symphony for actors," said director Darko Tresnjak. "It is funny, farcical, and frightening. I look forward to exploring it with our killer design team and an extraordinary acting company, headed by Michael Shannon, Kristine Nielsen, Paul Sparks and Robert Stanton."
About The Killer, Mr. Feingold says, "It's astonishing to me that this remarkable play has so rarely been produced in America -- and virtually never, since its original staging, in New York. Though it grows out of the sensibility of the 1950s, it seems to encapsulate so much of what is happening to the world in our time. As I worked on it, every line seemed to be a new revelation, every piece of Ionesco's highly personal and quirky imagery seemed also to carry political comment, and all of the play's deliciously dark humor had a deep tragic undertone."
Michael Shannon appears on stage, film and television. In 2012, he starred on Broadway in Grace. Additional theatre includes Uncle Vanya, Our Town, Mistakes Were Made, Bug and Killer Joe. He received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Revolutionary Road and plays Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire. His noted films included Bug, Take Shelter, The Iceman and Man of Steel. Mr. Shannon is co-founder of Chicago's adventurous 20-year-old ensemble theatre company A Red Orchid Theatre.
Darko Tresnjak directed A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (most 2014 Tony nominations including Best Director), currently playing on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. He is the Artistic Director of Hartford Stage. Mr. Tresnjak staged Theatre for a New Audience's productions of All's Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra and The Merchant of Venice with F. Murray Abraham, which transferred to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Mr. Tresnjak has directed at The Public Theater, Stratford Festival, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare, Long Wharf, Goodspeed Musicals, Huntington Theater Company and Williamstown Theater Festival. His upcoming productions include Hamlet and Kiss Me Kate at Hartford Stage and The Ghosts of Versailles with Patti LuPone at L.A. Opera.
Michael Feingold, who served as chief theatre critic for The Village Voice from 1983 to 2013 and currently writes a monthly two-part essay for Theatermania.com under the title "Thinking About Theater," has also had an extensive career as a translator, adaptor and playwright. Best known for his versions of the Brecht-Weill works Happy End, Threepenny Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Mr. Feingold has translated numerous works from the French, including Ionesco's The Chairs, which was given an acclaimed production by David Gordon and Valda Setterfield at London's Dance Umbrella and BAM's Next Wave Festival in 2004. Mr. Feingold's previous work for Theatre for a New Audience includes translations of Frisch's Andorra and De Filippo's Souls of Naples; he served as the company's dramaturg for three seasons, working on two Shakespeare productions with Darko Tresnjak.
The company includes
- Brendan Averett (Bartender/First Policeman),
- Stephanie Bunch (Dennie),
- Benjamin Cole (Ensemble),
- Liam Craig (The Bum/First Man/The Drunk),
- Eric Folks (Ensemble),
- Jonathan Hooks (Ensemble),
- Kathleen Longazel (Ensemble),
- Kristine Nielsen (Concierge/Ma Piper),
- Anastasia Olowin (Ensemble),
- Frank Paiva (Ensemble),
- Gregor Paslawsky (Second Old Man),
- Ryan Quinn (Second Man/Postman/The Killer),
- James Rees (Ensemble),
- Michael Shannon (Berenger),
- Noble Shropshire (First Old Man/Old Gent),
- Paul Sparks (Edward),
- Robert Stanton (The Architect),
- Gordon Tashjian (Second Policeman),
- Quinn Warren (Ensemble) and
- Ariel Zuckerman (Ensemble).
Scenery and costumes are by Suttirat Larlarb, lighting by Matthew Richards, and sound by Jane Shaw. Andrew Wade is the vocal director, Jonathan Kalb is the dramaturg, and Cole Bonenberger is the production stage manager.
Theatre for a New Audience's New Deal Ticket Program is supported by The Macys Foundation.
Brendan Averett (Bartender/First Policeman) recently appeared at Theatre for a New Audience in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Off-Broadway credits include As You Like It at Shakespeare in the Park, Massacre (Sing to Your Children) with Rattlestick Theater, and Passion Play with Epic Theatre Ensemble. Regional theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Of Mice and Men at Cincinnati Playhouse, Passion Play at Yale Repertory Theatre, and Hamlet and The Chairs at Court Theatre. Other theatre credits include Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. Television credits include Trapped in the Closet, Law & Order: SVU and Blossom.
Stephanie Bunch (Dennie) is making her Theatre for a New Audience debut in this production. Recent New York credits include A Shadow with No Form at the Bowery Poetry Club and Forever 27 at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival. She received an M.F.A. in acting from Brooklyn College and a B.F.A. in acting from Old Dominion University.
Benjamin Cole (Ensemble) is currently appearing at Theatre for a New Audience as an ensemble member in King Lear. He has previously appeared as Caliban in The Tempest (CT Critics Circle Award Winner) and as Mr. Topper in The Christmas Carol at The Hartford Stage Company.
Liam Craig (The Bum/First Man/The Drunk) has appeared at Theatre for a New Audience in Don Juan. He appeared on Broadway in Boeing Boeing (u/s: performed as Robert). Off-Broadway credits include The Internationalist (Vineyard Theatre), Aunt Dan and Lemon (The New Group), and Two Noble Kinsmen (Public Theater). Regional credits include Accidental Death of An Anarchist (Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep), Servant of Two Masters (Yale Rep, STC, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep), The Government Inspector (STC) and The Scene (Hartford Stage, Alley Theatre). Film and television credits include The Royal Tenenbaums, Unforgettable, Rescue Me, and Law & Order: SVU. He has an M.F.A. from the NYU Tisch Graduate Acting Program.
Eric Folks (Ensemble) has appeared in columbinus (America Theater Company), JOB and The Wundelsteipen (The Flea Theater), Almost Maine, Singin' in the Rain, and Fiddler on the Roof (New London Barn Playhouse), Don't Dress For Dinner (Lake Dillion Theater Co), and Mrs. Mannerly (Dixie Theater). Mr. Folks is a graduate of Otterbein College.
Jonathan Hooks (Ensemble) can currently be seen as an ensemble member in King Lear at Theatre for a New Audience. Other New York credits include Julius Caesar (The Royal Shakespeare Company at BAM), The House of Von Macramé (The Bushwick Starr), Richard's Rampage (BAM) and Torch-Bearers (Williamstown). Film credits include Haitian Son and I Do? Training includes The Public Theater's Shakespeare Lab and The University of Oklahoma School of Drama.
Kathleen Longazel (Ensemble) is making her Theatre for a New Audience debut in this production. Recent credits include Firework for Real with True False Theatre and The Wild Inside with Primary Stages. She starred in the short film I Speak, You Understand Me and appeared on the Discovery ID series Frenemies. She graduated from Fordham University and the London Dramatic Academy.
Kristine Nielsen (Concierge/Ma Piper) has appeared on Broadway in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony nomination), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, To Be or Not to Be, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Spring Awakening, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Green Bird, Jackie and The Iceman Cometh. Lincoln Center Theater credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Ubu. With Christopher Durang: Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Miss Witherspoon; Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations) and Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge. Off-Broadway credits include Crazy Mary, Our Leading Lady and Dog Opera (Obie Award). Regional includes Centre Theatre Group, Old Globe, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Guthrie, Huntington Theatre, Bay Street, McCarter, Alley Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival and La Jolla Playhouse. Film credits include Morning Glory, That's What She Said, The Savages, Adelaide and Small Time Crooks. Television credits include Political Animals, Smash, Law & Order, Law & Order: CI, Third Watch and the NBC live broadcast of The Sound of Music. She received an M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama and a B.S. from Northwestern.
Anastasia Olowin (Ensemble) is a company member of Theater Reconstruction Ensemble. New York theater credits include Set in the Living Room and Three Seagulls, or MASHAMASHAMASHA! (TRE), Plum de Force (The Bushwick Starr), Obedient Steel (Tugboat Collective), Obskene (The Talking Band) and Target Margins Lab Series. She holds a B.F.A. from NYU Tisch.
Frank Paiva (Ensemble) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut in this production. New York theatre credits include The House of Von Macramé (Bushwick Starr), The Lilys Revenge (HERE Arts Center), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (La MaMa), Moonbase (Flea Theater) and Giant Killer Slugs (Pipeline Theatre Company). He holds a B.A. from NYU Gallatin.
Gregor Paslawsky (Second Old Man) has appeared in New York productions of The Sadness of Others, Not Knowing, Pegleg! (Mixed Mess@ge) and Outpost (Mabou Mines). Regional credits include Twelfth Night (Hartford Stage), Bell Book and Candle (Long Wharf), Pericles and Two Noble Kinsman (Old Globe), Skin of Our Teeth and Travesties (Williamstown), Kite Runner (San Jose Rep), Waiting for Godot (North Carolina Shakespeare Festival), Christmas Carol, Tempest (Virginia Stage), Blood Knot (New Mexico Rep), The Ruling Class (Wilma) and Superior Donuts and Tribes (Studio Theatre D.C.).
Ryan Quinn (Second Man/Postman/The Killer) has appeared at Theatre for a New Audience in King Lear, Hamlet, and Antony and Cleopatra. Regional credits include eight seasons with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Yellowman with Milwaukee Rep, Hamlet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona at The Old Globe and The King Stag at Yale Repertory Theatre. New York theatre credits include Binibon at The Kitchen and Frag and The Strangest at HERE Arts. He received an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.
James Rees (Ensemble) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut in this production. Off Broadway credits include Measure for Measure at Shakespeare in the Park. Other New York credits include The Whaleship Essex with Hudson Guild and Henry V with Well Theater. Regional credits include Man For All Seasons at Virginia Shakes and Amadeus at Richmond Shakes. Television credits include The Knick and Team Toon. He received a B.F.A. from Shenandoah Conservatory.
Noble Shropshire (First Old Man/Old Gent) has performed at Hartford Stage in Macbeth, La Dispute, The Tempest, The 39 Steps, Noises Off and A Christmas Carol. Broadway credits include Underling, The Drowsy Chaperone and Tennessee Williams's Not About Nightingales. Off-Broadway credits include Roundabout, Parris, The Crucible and CSC (9 seasons). Title roles include Hamlet, Peer Gynt, Tartuffe, the Fool in King Lear, Mephisto in Faust, Hummel and Ghost Sonata. Regional credits include work at Actors Theatre Louisville, Alley, ART, Arena, Cincinnati Playhouse, City Theatre, Denver Center, Pioneer Theatre, Pittsburgh Public, Rep Theater St. Louis and Westport Playhouse.
Paul Sparks (Edward) has appeared on Broadway in Hedda Gabler. Off Broadway credits include Dusk Rings a Bell, Lady, Pumpgirl, American Sligo, Essential Self Defense, Finer, Noble Gases, Landscape of the Body, Bug, Blackbird and Coyote on the Fence. He is a five-time Drama Desk nominee. Film credits include Mud (Independent Spirit Award), Parkland, Trust Me, Sparrows Dance and Blackbird. Upcoming films include Midnight Special and Stealing Cars. He has appeared in the television series Boardwalk Empire (SAG Award), the mini-series Mildred Pierce and many episodes of NYCbased shows.
Robert Stanton (The Architect) has recently appeared on stage in Checkers (Vineyard), Strange Interlude (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Love's Labour's Lost (The Public Theater), and Alarm Will Sound's 1969 (Carnegie Hall). Broadway credits include A Free Man of Color, Mary Stuart and The Coast of Utopia. Off-Broadway credits include Love Child (co-written with Daniel Jenkins), All in the Timing (Obie, Clarence Derwent awards) and many more. Recent film and television credits include True Story, The Knick, Elementary, Orange Is the New Black and The Good Wife. He received an M.F.A. from NYU.
Gordon Tashjian (Second Policeman) is an actor, writer, and musician based in Brooklyn. He has appeared onstage in multiple New York venues and is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut in this production.
Quinn Warren (Ensemble) is making her Off-Broadway debut with Theatre for a New Audience in this production. She has previously appeared at The McCarter Theatre, Kennedy Center, The Long Wharf and many productions in New York, including You May Go Now, Samaritans and Metamorphoses. She received a B.F.A. from Stephens College.
Ariel Zuckerman (Ensemble) is currently appearing in King Lear at Theatre for a New Audience. Other recent credits include The Merchant of Venice with the Worcester Shakespeare Company and Cadence: Home with TEA at the Straz Center in Tampa, Fl. He is a recent graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC.
BOX OFFICE INFORMATION
Single tickets, now on sale, are $60-$85 and can be purchased online at www.tfana.org, by phone at 866-811-4111, or in person at the Theatre for a New Audience Box Office (262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn.) Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1:00pm to 6:00pm. A limited number of premium seats are available for $100.
Subscription packages, which include one ticket to each of the next four productions and a host of benefits, are available for $196.
New Deal tickets for ages 30 and under or full-time students of any age are priced at $20, and are supported by The Macys Foundation. Proof of age or student ID required for each ticket purchased.
Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30pm with matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. There are no matinees on May 17 or May 18 and no evening performance on June 8. There is one Wednesday matinee on June 4 at 2:00pm.
For a story in QPORIT on the inaugural production of this inaugural season for TFANA at the Polonsky Center see:
TAYMOR'S EXUBERANT "A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM" AT TFANA