Broadway Features and Reviews
Lincoln Center Festival 09 Brings World's Best
By Broadway Magazine Staff
Given that the recent Broadway season boasted works by Ionesco, Ibsen, Chekhov, and Beckett, the arrival of productions of Pushkin, Goldoni, and return of Chekhov to New York City should find enthusiastic houses. Some of the world's most celebrated theatre artists descend upon New York City starting July 7 as the Lincoln Center Festival returns. For theatre lovers, it is a rare chance to sample some of the most important work from stages across the world.
Over the coming weeks, we will preview and hope to cover several of the productions. Here is a quick overview of some of the highlights in a very highlight-able collection of productions. Names like Ariane Mnouchkine from France, Russia's Ramas Ascher and Evgeny Mironav, Poland's Krystian Lupa, Hungary's Bela Pinter, or Italy's Toni Servillo may not have the tabloid familiarity of Hugh Jackman or Jude Law; but as world theatre artists they are legends. Only the Lincoln Center Festival 09 brings them all together for three weeks in July in New York City.
Specifically, the festival runs from July 7 through July 26, 2009 and offers 56 performances by artists and ensembles from 14 countries. The three-week Lincoln Center Festival 09--boasting 14 North American, U.S., and New York premieres and debuts - will unfold at six venues on and off the Lincoln Center campus, and Park Avenue Armory, where the Festival returns for a second summer. Here is what to see:
Les Ephemeres, from the Le Theatre du Soleil (France): From internationally acclaimed theatre artist Ariane Mnouchkine comes a US premiere. The epic theatre work consists of two parts, which can be viewed individually or in a full cycle. Written collectively by the company, the work is said to explore the " pain, beauty, and compassion found In the commonly shared experiences of everyday life." July 7-19, various dates/times.
Ivanov from the Katona Jozsef Theatre (Hungary): The brilliant playwright Anton Chekhov returns to New York in a production from Hungary. Ivanov is a rarely performed play, and Katona Jozef Theatre's production moves the story to Hungary in the 1960s and 70s. A review from Rebecca Whitton of The Australian Stage in Sydney captured some of the enthusiasm for this production. "This production bursts with life. The Eastern European sensibility of the company and its energetic, highly choreographed, heightened performance style simultaneously render Chekhov's Ivanov as both drama and melodrama, making it truly tragi-comic." July 7 - 11 at 8pm.
Life and Fate from the Maly Drama Theatre (Russia): An adaptation of Russian author Vasily Grossman's acclaimed novel from one of Russia's leading artists, Lev Dodin. The novel was banned in 1960. The Financial Times described Dodin's staging as "beautiful, terrifying, draining - and resoundingly contemporary." The Economist described the production as "powerful." July 21-25 at 7pm; July 26 at 3pm.
Kalkwerk from the Marodowy Stary Teatr (Poland): The production is based on Thomas Bernhard's 1970 novel Das Kalkwerk, and tells the story of a scientist and his wife. According to the Boston Globe, "people who have seen Krystian Lupa's work speak of it in hushed, awestruck tones. 'He's a god' is a phrase that crops up frequently." This production is considered his signature piece. July 14-18 at 7pm.
Peasant Opera from Bela Pinter and Company (Hungary): Described as a satire of the highest order, this musical work combines a farcical tale of taboos and traditions in the Hungarian countryside. A review from Rex Harley of Music and Vision said that the farce leads to an ending that "comes as a genuine shock, and the build-up is extremely chilling." July 21-24 at 8:30; July 25 at 2 & 8; July 26 at 3pm.
Boris Godunov from Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Russia): Declan Donnellan and a group of leading Russian theatre artists bring Alexander Pushkin's play about the corruption of Tsarist Russia up to date as a powerful and unflattering look at Moscow's contemporary political players. July 22-26 at 8pm.
Trilogia Della Villeggiatura from Piccolo Teatro di Milano (Italy): Carlo Goldoni wrote a lot of plays, and here is a rare chance to experience one of them performed by the master, Toni Servillo. While some may know him from his film work, Servillo is also an accomplished stage actor. This 1761 satire of Italian middle-class offers laughs and insite into one of the most under-appreciated clever playwrights of all time. July 22-25 at 8pm; July 26 at 3pm.
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