Jul 232013
 

 

 

 

 

The Third Breast

As The Third Breast opens, the cast sings, accompanied by acoustic guitars, tambourines, and a flute, as if around a mid-summer bonfire, and they invite the audience into the fold of their valley “commune” through the offer of libations. It seems as if one is walking into a 1969 love-fest, yet the audience leaves feeling as alienated from the world as readers emerging from a George Orwell novel, which is the point.

Eva (Sissel Bakken) illuminates the commune—she is the personification of the peace around which it sustains itself. Thomas (Christopher Henley), her former lover, choreographs its on-goings as the architect willing to do anything to preserve it, including keeping Eva sainted in the eyes of the members. Together they pull newcomer George (Matthew Ingraham), an attractive, young drifter, into a twisted love as they all try to reconcile what the third breast, which quite literally manifests on Eva’s side below her left breast, symbolizes to them, their relationships, and the commune.

(l-r) Sissel Bakken, Matthew Ingraham and Christopher Henley)(l-r) Sissel Bakken, Matthew Ingraham and Christopher Henley) 

The breast begins as a discoloration and grows into an unsightly anomaly that makes Eva feel monstrous. Thomas too fears what people will think and, more importantly, wants to keep her as the commune’s center piece. Eva seeks comfort from several men as she contemplates suicide until Thomas goes to George, who has the right mix of kindness and ruthlessness that may help Eva out of her despair. The breast fascinates George and becomes a thing of worship as if Eva were a Goddess out of India mythology. As they make love for the first time, he unwraps a bandage around Eva’s torso to hold and kiss it tenderly. Still, both Eva and Thomas worry about how it will affect the commune as a whole. The other men Eva had sought comfort from did not embrace it as George did. Eva, fearing they will betray her secret, declares that they must be killed.

In a subtle, excellent power play, Thomas (and Eva) puppeteer George into the role of murderer. Because he loves Eva–because he worships the third breast–he agrees. It is an act from which the free spirited, kind George never returns as — emboldened by the power of the murder –takes control of the commune, turning it into a military-like camp where members are little better than prisoners.

While Bakken doesn’t show as much of the radiating, magnetic charisma of Eva, her long, flowing blonde hair and stature and her earthiness fill Eva with a relatable, palpable vulnerability that makes her trajectory—from Goddess to murderer—all that more sickening.

Ingraham as George is kind and lighthearted. There is a certain natural buoyancy and sweet naïveté about the actor that makes George’s ruthlessness a bit hard to believe, especially as he descends into the commune dictator, though Ingraham does play it well.

Henley’s Thomas is the most nuanced performance of the show. His quest for peace and his use of power set the stage for George’s reign of terror, yet, as he articulates that “all obligation comes with handcuffs”  you understand that living with and balancing the dichotomies of humanity is an art form. Thomas is sly and suspect from the opening, so his support of Eva’s grand plan to murder those who know about and rejected her third breast and his coercion of George does not surprise. Yet, in the aftermath, he is the voice of a sanity and reason.

Watching a utopia, of sorts, devolve into a dystopia isn’t new – the concept has long been present in literature – but the catalyst, the third breast, is genius. It is something both serious and almost comical, giving credence to the idea that fighting, warring, arguing, terror, etc…have been started over less. While it is literal in the play and poses a potential health threat to Eva–what if it were a tumor?–it is symbolic of a greater stain on humanity. It cripples Eva with fear; it drives George to obsession; it upsets Thomas’ perfect commune. It is easily removable, yet murder seems more palatable to Eva, George, and Thomas, each of whom seem to derive power from it.

Polish playwright Ireneusz Iredynski, long known in his homeland, died in 1985 and much of his work is not easily found in America, yet The Third Breast’s themes are timeless across countries. He illustrates that righteousness and freedom turn to obsession and captivity when mixed with want of power, vanity, and sex. They play just as well against the WWII era in which he was born as they do against Vietnam and now Iraq and Afghanistan.

The real star of the show is the direction by Hanna Bondarewska. The atmosphere she creates–shading something akin to Woodstock into an Orwellian nightmare–fully envelops the audience. She presents complex ideas boldly and gives a World Premiere to a playwright who has little name recognition in the US. It is a risky move, but well worth it as Iredynski is someone I, personally, want to see more from, feeling as if I have missed an important voice in the literary canon up until now.

The Third Breast is a captivating look at humankind. A show worth seeing. But, be prepared for darkness.

The Third Breast by Ireneusz Iredynski, Translated by Sylvia Daneel, Directed by Hanna Bondarewska. Featuring Sissel Bakken, Christopher Henley, and Matthew Ingraham. Set Design: Antonio Petrov. Costume Design: Sigrid Johannesdottir.  Music: Paul Oehlers, Sound: Paul Oehlers and George Gordon, Visual Effects: George Gordon . Produced by Ambassador Theatre .

Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale

Highly Recommended
The Third Breast
Closes August 4, 2013
Mead Theatre Lab
at Flashpoint Gallery
916 G Street NW
Washington, DC
2 hours, 15 minutes with 1 intermission
Tickets: $35
Thursdays thru Sundays
Details
Tickets

 

 

Apr 032013
 
trifold_outside

Type: Theatre
Pay: Paid
Union: Union/Non-Union

Audition/Casting Date(s): Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Start/End Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Ambassador Theater at Durant Arts Center, Room #3/4 1605 Cameron St. – Alexandria, VA 22314 (Near King Street Metro)

Please e-mail your photo/resume at ambassadortheater@aticc.org
REGISTER ON LINE FOR YOUR AUDITION: EVENTBRITE, pick your time slot/ticket

Breakdown/Description:
Ambassador Theater is holding a casting call for three plays: The Third Breast by Ireneusz Iredynski, Protest by Vaclav Havel, and Dyskolos by Menander. The plays will be produced at Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint and at the George Washington Masonic Memorial Theater;

The Third Breast: Performances: July 10 – August 4, 2013 Thursdays-Sundays at Mead Theater Lab at FLASPOINT
Ewa– a woman, leader, attractive
George– Good looking young male, (27-40s) singer and preferably guitar player
Thomas– An Older Man, late 30s-40s and up
The Third Breast is a classic example of one of Iredynski’s favorite scenarios in which human weaknesses, insecurities and obsessions paired up with power, lead to manipulation, cruelty and violence. The play invites us into a closed, almost cult like community of nature lovers, whose charismatic spiritual leader, Ewa, unexpectedly grows a third breast and unable to have it removed, becomes depressed and unsure of her future leadership ability. After failed suicide attempt she manipulates her closest allies, a commune founder Thomas and her new lover George, into killing two community members who know her secret and as such pose a threat to her leadership status. George gains Ewa’s total trust by playing a key role in the “accidental” killings, and as her favorite and only lover, begins to feel his growing power. What follows makes the plot even more unexpected and shocking…

Protest: October 2013
2 Male and 2 female actors: young and older
In Protest we meet a dissident on return home from prison, getting involved in a campaign to protest against the government by getting people to sign a petition calling for a change in the way things are done in his country. In our version, the two male characters will also have counter characters echoed in 2 females. One character is the protesting artist who suffered for his beliefs, the other a compromising
and compromised playwright. The play was written in the 1970′s by acclaimed human rights activist and the first president of the Czech Republic.

Dyskolos: December/January 2013/2014
We are casting young Female/Male actors, movement/flexibility is a plus, acting in masks ability
A wealthy young man falls in love at first sight with a beautiful, but poor farmer’s daughter. The only thing that stands in the way of their happiness is the woman’s violent, misanthropic father. This play will be performed in an updated mask style drawing upon such diverse influences as Ancient Greek, Commedie Francaise, and The Three Stooges. Experience with physical acting, masks, pantomime and classical text are all helpful skills.

FOR YOUR AUDITIONS:
Prepare one/two monologues: one dramatic, one comedic
Bring your photo/resume and be ready to move and read from the scripts !

Audition Address:
DURANT ARTS CENTER
1605 Cameron St. – Alexandria
Alexandria VA 22314

Contact Information:
Hanna Bondarewska
ambassadortheater@aticc.org

 

Jan 172013
 

JANUARY 17, 2013 BY 

We admit it – when Artistic Director Hanna Bondarewska sent the Ambassador Theater’s press release for their upcoming performances at Flashpoint Gallery, our email back could be capsulized as “huh?”

See for yourselves how the clever Bondarewska had us begging to know more:

Onstage at 8pm, January 31 and February 1, 2013 at Flashpoint GalleryOnstage at 8pm, January 31 and February 1, 2013 at Flashpoint Gallery 

“Having spared no effort or cost, we present the official start of the year 2013 and a new era in the history of our theater marked with a golden stain on the sheet of History! Our dear ecstatic audience, you shall see in a moment (be patient) the first in a series of new and stunning performances. Ambassador Theater proudly presents the smallest theater troupe in the world, The Little Theatre of the Green Goose!

Enter Ray Converse, a member of the Green Goose ensemble, to explain:

Ray Converse: “These plays were written in the late 1940s by Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski , a much beloved Polish poet and humorist who is virtually unknown in the U.S.  Galczynski wrote these plays after spending all of World War II as a POW in a German camp [mainly at Stalag XI-A].

“The plays are vignettes that point the audience to the absurdities of life.  Written in the early years after the war, the plays were never performed during his lifetime for two reasons: first, he deliberately wrote the plays so they could not be staged, and second, with the onset of Stalinism in Poland, these plays were found incompatible with government-approved Socialist Realism.

“The first Green Goose performance of any kind was in the Grotesque Puppet Theatre in Cracow in 1955.

“The original intent was to do Green Goose as a staged reading.  After all the author originally did not intend them to be performed.”

DCTS: and yet, you are performing them …

Ambassador Theater's  actor (and puppet) prepare.Ambassador Theater’s actor (and puppet) prepare. 

Ray: “It quickly became clear that a staged-reading would not do justice to Galczynski’s work.  There is too much physicality in these plays for the audience to enjoy them with the artists with scripts in hand.  As a result, the original premise changed to doing a bare-bones production.  Even then, it soon it became apparent that the material needed to become more, a bare-bones production on steroids.”

DCTS: What will the evening be like for the audience?

“The separate plays are strung together with the premise that the actors are part of

a scruffy, semi-inept medieval acting troupe journeying across the country.   (It might be compared to a medieval flash mob.)”

DCTS: Hmm… interesting image.

Ray: “Each of the players has a distinct character and name which they bring to the role when they are not in their stage roles.  At curtain, the players arrive in town during a downpour as a Salvation Army Band led by a pamphlet-selling evangelist, perform their individual plays, pass the hat, and flee the town before the local constabulary can arrest them.

“The humor is slapstick on one level, but also operates on a higher level.”

DCTS: For those who like to know what the plays are about …

Ray: “Two common threads appear in many of these plays.  They play with the idea of what happens if some unplanned random event messes up the universal plan?  Without divulging any secrets, the apple in the Garden of Eden could be too tasty to share?

And, the plays explore the consequences of people feeling too strongly – boredom, loneliness, love.  Devotees of Starbucks coffee will find themselves as the leading character in one of these and will be laughing about it as they exit the theater, looking for a nearby Starbucks.”…..to read more

 

Oct 212012
 

‘Trespassing’ at Ambassador Theater by Jessica Vaughan

 


Ambassador Theater takes on trespassers and unexpected visitors with two madcap one-acts by Egyptian playwright Alfred Farag.

The first, The Visitor, tells the story of an actress and the policeman who comes to her apartment because a well-known serial killer has said he is coming after her. It’s tense and yet funny as the two discuss justice, fate, acting, and coffee, and wait for him to appear. It becomes clear quickly that all is not as it seems and ends with a fun twist. As the play went on, it was tough to tell if it was a thriller, a comedy, a philosophical treatise, or a farce, but it also didn’t matter. It was fun.

Hanna Bondarewska (Negma Sadiq) and Ivan Zizek (Mahmud Suliman) in ‘The Visitor.’ Photo by Magda Pinkowska.

The set design by Greg Jackson changes for each one-act, but both sets are sumptuous and beautiful. The Visitor features the artwork of prominent artist Agustin Blazquez. (He is from Cuba, but specializes in Egyptian art). His pieces, including an Egyptian mummy’s case, are complimented by fun things like a gilt stand telephone and a beautiful coffee set. In the second one-act, The Peephole, the set becomes more modern but no less stylish with slightly naughty hieroglyphs on the walls – and a couch set I wish was in my living room.

The Visitor, directed Gail Humphrey Mardirosian, makes full use of the stage and the set since at several points, the actors are sent around the stage searching frantically or hiding out. She keeps the pace up and the tension building admirably. Hanna Bondarewska (Negma Sadiq) revels in the role of the diva who is not to be cowed but is drawn to the killer and Ivan Zizek as the visitor makes an excellent foil. For the vast majority of the play, they are alone in that apartment and they and the director and the actors work hard to keep the audience mesmerized and involved, and everything moves quickly.

Costume Designer Elizabeth Ennis chose some great pieces. Both plays’ protagonists’ costumes do not disappoint. In The Visitor, Negma Sadiq wears sheer fabrics with endless sparkles and gold. In Peephole, the main character’s more modern wardrobe includes a shiny silver shirt and a fabulous leather jacket. It was obvious a lot of thought went into each character’s wardrobe.

After intermission and the transformation of the set, Hanna Bondarewska takes over as director for the second one-act, The Peephole, which is the story of another famous actor Hasan (Ivan Zizek), as he arrives home to find a murdered woman in his bedroom. He calls his neighbor, the lawyer Husayn (Stephen Shelter or James Randle on alternate dates) who calls a psychiatrist Hasanayn (Rob Weinzimer) and a criminal (Adam R. Adkins) who can take the body away. Why they need both a criminal and a psychiatrist is because the murdered woman keeps disappearing and reappearing throughout the play. Bondarewska also plays the woman in a suitably gory, gorgeous costume.

This one-act got more and more surreal as it went on.The actors just threw themselves into their roles and seemed to relish the zinging one-liners they lobbed at each other – and the possible mental breakdowns happening all over the stage. What was fun though was how it echoed the other play.The evening is called Trespassing, and between the frantic searches, the murderer in the first play and the murdered in the second, and the central role of a telephone, it was fun to see what they included and echoed in each act.

James Randle, Rob Weinzimer, and Ivan Zizek. The cast of ‘The Peephole.’ Photo by Magda Pinkowska.

Lighting Designer Marianne Meadows did a great job, especially with the more surrealThe Peephole. A large part of the plot rested on her design to let us know whether the ghost (real woman? Hallucination?) was there or not. Also, in the first one-act, her warm lighting design complimented the artwork beautifully.

Playwright Alfred Farag was born in the 1950s and wrote dozens of plays still known and studied in Egypt for their dialogue and use of Arabic. Translator Dina Amin has managed to capture some of that joy of language. Both plays had some good exchanges and running jokes, like the psychiatrist answering many queries with, “In your childhood or adolescence…”

The Ambassador Theater International Cultural Center’s mission is to build international cultural awareness and succeeds with these plays, not because they showed us such a different and strange world, but because the world Farag wrote about is so familiar. The laughs work on every level and two stories about famous actors and their insecurities, lawyers, and shrinks are so universal.

If you are Egyptian or American or from any other part of the world you will enjoy these two quirky and funny one-acts. Their universal messages will hit home.

Running Time: Approximately two hours with 15 minute intermission.

Trespassing plays through November 3, 2012 at Ambassador Theater at Mead Theatre Lab’s Flashpoint – 916 G Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online.

 

Sep 022012
 

Washington, DC, September 2, 2012

–For immediate release—
Ambassador Theater Presents
TRESPASSING
“A self-realization challenge”

US Premiere of Two One Act plays from Egypt by Alfred Farag
Translated by Dina Amin
The Visitor Directed by Gail Humphries Mardirosian
The Peephole Directed by Hanna Bondarewska

Set Designed by Greg Jackson Costumes by Elizabeth Ennis Lights by Marianne Meadows

Assistant Director James Randle Stage Manager Jennifer Grunfeld

Featuring: Hanna Bondarewska as Negma Sadiq (The Visitor)Ivan   Zizek as Mahmud Suliman (The Visitor) and Hasan (The Peephole);  Rob Weinzimer as doorman (The Visitor) and Hasanayn(The Peephole); Stephen Shetler as Husayn (The Peephole); James Randle as Husayn (The Peephole); Adam Adkins as Shaldum (The Peephole)

WHERE:

Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint,

916 G Street NW, Washington DC

Oct. 16– Nov. 3, 2012

TICKETS: $30 Gen. Adm.

Students & Senior Citizens $20

On line:

Media: Please e-mail or call to reserve your seats

WHEN:  October 16 – November 3, 2012

Previews: October 16, 17 at 8 p.m.

Opening: October 18, 2012, 8 PM

Press Performances: October 20, 2011, 2 pm & 8 pm

Thursdays, Fridays, 8 PM

Saturdays, 2 PM and 8 PM

Sundays, 2 PM and 7:30 PM

The Ambassador Theater invites you to trespass into a nighttime world of desperate crime and ruthless criminals. Or are they?  Alfred Farag lures actors and spectators into playing the game of a lifetime in the US premieres of two suspenseful Egyptian one act plays. The Visitor deals with deception (both of others and of ourselves), while The Peephole addresses the soullessness of an unchained capitalist society.

This illustrious playwright brings the audience into the world of illusion and reality, utilizing the device of play within a play. He blurs the line between what is real and what is theatrical while posing questions regarding power and social status. Ultimately, both of his plays address themes that provoke thinking on subjects still relevant to the 21st century. The audience will find themselves laughing and crying whilst trapped in Farag’s psychological maze of mirrors, a fun house where we never know what is real. These plays give insight into Egyptian socio-economic culture, which ultimately gave rise to the Arab Spring, challenging traditional views about power.

VisitorandPeepholepress release

Jan 222012
 

Ambassador Theater is looking for talented actors with strong movement/dance and singing abilities (FLEXIBILITY, puppetry and improvisational skills are a plus) for a very innovative and fun show entitled: Hopa Tropa Kukerica, directed by Lilia Slavova

Auditions to be held January 31, 2012

4-10 p.m.

at Durant Center

1605 Cameron Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

please sign up for audition times online at http://hopatropa.eventbrite.com/

The show will be performed at the Memorial Theater

at the George Washington Masonic Temple

April 1, 2012.

Please prepare a comic monologue and 16 bars of a song.

Actors who will be called back will be asked to dance and improvise–callback date TBA.

Please be open to the idea of touring with the show!

The rehearsals are planned to start around February 15th

Please make sure to sign up for your time on eventbrite and bring your photoresume to audition.

For more information email: ambassadortheater@aticc.org

 

Dec 052011
 

Madness: For Witkiewicz, the play’s the thing

Photo: Gediyon Kifle

Sunday, December 4, 2011 - Not What You Expect with Mary L. Tabor by Mary Tabor

WASHINGTON, DC, December 4, 2011 — The artist is mad, insane, suicidal. In The Madman and the      Nun, a play set entirely in a lunatic asylum, we meet poet Alexander Walpurg, who’s diagnosed with “acute   dementia praecox” and bound by a straitjacket.

Theater goers, confined with him for 65 fast-moving minutes, are in for a hilarious romp as they are drawn into Walpurg’s profound commentary on creativity and madness.

Polish absurdist playwright Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy), who himself committed suicide in 1939 at age 54, wrote this surreal, engaging, erotic and biting satire of psychoanalysis and the perils of the artist in 1923.

Hanna Bondarewska and the cast of 'Madman.' Photo credits: Dediyon Kifle.

Director Hanna Bondarewska has created a spirited update of the play. The  patient’s file is handed to the viewer on entering, and it conveniently  functions as the drama’s program notes. Two live computer  screens illuminate the action on stage, transmitting real time images of the  poet Walpurg. A brand new app for the iPad is unveiled when the trendy device becomes a weapon that’s used to beat our anti-hero.

Bondarewska brings this play to a close, gloriously, lightly, and ingeniously by deploying the song “Chapel of love” and blending it into Witkacy’s surreally happy ending. This and other theatrical touches have earned for Bondarewska the attention of the current batch of literary scholars who are now giving Witkacy his belated due.

After she performed a staged reading of Witkacy’s Country House, she says, “I got phone calls from Professors Daniel Gerould and Mark Rudnicki,” experts on the playwright’s work which also includes an extensive portfolio of paintings. As a result of these conversations, “They asked me to perform at their conference last year.” That formed the seed of this new production that inspired Gerould to journey to DC to see. Clearly, Bondarewska has earned his attention, and she deserves ours as well.

Madman Walpurg (John Stange) and Nun, Sister Anna (Jenny Donovan), up close and personal.

In The Madman and the Nun, Bondarewska has brought to the fore the dangers facing the creative soul, which she describes as “misunderstanding and vulnerability.”

In Madman, Walpurg expresses the pain of creation to Sister Anna, who releases him from the straitjacket, gives him a pencil, and quickly becomes his lover:

“I’m composing poetry again now. But I think my poems are getting worse. I can’t write anymore. But then you can also use a pencil to kill yourself.”

The artist’s suffering for lack of appreciation permeates the play. It seems to parallel the trajectory of the playwright’s own life. Witkacy’s contemporaries and friends – painters, composers, and, most well-known to Americans, pianist Artur Rubenstein – eclipsed him.

One of the Madman’s many looks.

Madman.

For the playwright, competition constitutes only part of the artist’s  dilemma and the play’s territory. The poet’s vulnerability to all he sees, his  own unconscious mind, his openness to the pain of others, his ability to see  what the other has been through—all these feed his art yet drive him  toward madness.

Witkacy has a lot of company. Here is an abbreviated list of just some of the  artists who have died by their own hand:

  • The poet Paul Celan
  • The painter Vincent Van Gogh
  • The poet Sylvia Plath
  • The novelist Virginia Woolf
  • The painter Mark Rothko
  • The novelist Ernest Hemingway
  • Most recently, the novelist David Foster Wallace

Vincent Van Gogh said of his own recurring breakdowns,

And perhaps the disease of the heart is caused by this. One does not rebel against things, it does no good; nor is one resigned to them; one’s ill because of them and one does not get better.”

Must it be this way?

William Styron, author of Sophie’s Choice, describes in Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madnesshis dependence on alcohol and his journey through depression.

Like the poet Baudelaire, he despaired, I have felt the wind of the wing of madness.

He adds:

“As for that initial triggering mechanism—what I have called the manifest crisis—can I really be satisfied with the idea that abrupt withdrawal from alcohol started the plunge downward? … Or could it be that a vague dissatisfaction with the way in which my work was going—the onset of inertia which has possessed me time and time again during my writing life, has made me crabbed and discontented—had also haunted me more fiercely …?”

He, like Witkacy’s poet, finds a way through the morass, depending on how the viewer chooses to read the ending of the play. That duplicity, the either/or, the to-be-or-not-to-be, is the territory of the play.

Bondarewska, artistic director of DC’s Ambassador Theater troupe, fully understands the artist’s plight. In presenting Madman here, she wants to make a difference. The play for her is the thing but not the only thing. She teaches through her program Ambassadors of International Culture and is now working with children at Hoffman-Boston Elementary school in Arlington, Virginia.

Sister Anna (Jenny Donovan) lets her hair down while an Assistant in the asylum (James Randle) looks on and exercises his imagination.

Her aim is to to build confidence, communication and hope. She wants to insulate the young mind against the vulnerability the creative soul faces. But in addition, she lives for the artist in us all. “In today’s world of technology,” she says, “the artist’s time is ever more narrowed to be free, to be devoted to their art.” Her greatest fear is that the contemporary artist, like Witkacy, will choose suicide rather than go on living and creating art.

The Madman and the Nun is a witty, lively, but extraordinarily thoughtful play. Theatergoers, artists, creative souls and anyone who wants both a fast romp and an intellectual challenge should carve some time out of their busy schedules to take in this most unusual play.

The Madman and the Nun runs through Dec. 18, 2011, 8 pm at Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G Street, NW, Washington, DC. Tickets: $30. Students and senior citizens $20. Buy tickets online http://www.aticc.org/home/box-office or at the door.

The question remains, “Is the artist doomed?” For a positive take, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert who gave the following TED talk on precisely that question. This clip is on the long side, so sample as much as you wish.

Mary L. Tabor is the author of the memoir: (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story and The Woman Who Never Cooked. She says, “I ferret out the detail, love the footnote, am never bored and believe it all leads to story. Best advice I ever got? ‘Only connect …’ E.M. Forster” Find out more at http://maryltabor.com

 

 

Sep 122011
 
MadmanNun_Flyer_web

The Ambassador Theater is delighted to present The Madman and the Nun or, There is Nothing Bad Which Could Not Turn into Something Worse by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy), a short play in three acts and four scenes.    

The Madman and the Nun

Translated by Daniel Gerould

Directed and Produced by Hanna Bondarewska

Set Designed by Daniel Pinha

Costumes by Jen Bevan

Sound and Visual Effects by David Crandall

Lights by Marianne Meadows

Assistant Director James Randle

Stage Manager Adam Adkins

Featuring: John Stange as Alexander Walpurg; Jenny Donovan as Sister Anna; Mary Suib as Sister Barbara, Ivan Zizek as Dr. Jan Bidello; David Berkenbilt as Dr. Ephraim Grűn; Ray Converse as Professor Ernest Walldorff; Jen Bevan and James Randle as Attendants

WHERE:

Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G Street NW, Washington DC

Nov. 29 – Dec. 18, 2011

TICKETS: $30 Gen. Adm.

Students & Senior Citizens $20

On line: http://www.aticc.org/home/box-office or at the door

Media: Please e-mail or call to reserve your seats

WHEN:  November 29 – December 18, 2011

Previews: November 29, 30 at 8 p.m.

Opening: December 1, 2011, 8 PM

Thursdays, Fridays, 8 PM

Saturdays, 2 PM and 8 PM

Sundays, 2 PM and 7:30 PM

The Madman and the Nun is set entirely in a “cell for raving maniacs” in a lunatic asylum, where we meet the madman of the title, the poet Alexander Walpurg, who has been confined here with acute dementia praecox.  We are part of a scientific experiment lead by Dr. Grun and his Freudian preconception of curing the patient with the help of Sister Anna, a nun. The author flamboyantly turns everything and everybody into the confusion between the sanity and madness. The play is a strikingly funny attack on both medicine and academia and man’s futile attempt to control the “demons” of existence. Stanislaw Witkiewicz (1885-1939) was a Polish playwright, novelist, painter, photographer and philosopher. “He created a theater of the absurd twenty years before Beckett, Ionesco, and Genet. He himself was a living model of the avant-garde, advancing the frontiers of drama, fiction, aesthetics, philosophy and painting.” Daniel Gerould