Bertolt Brecht's 1939 classic anti-war play Mother Courage and Her Children is getting a second staging in New York this month, but each is very different from the other.
Brecht's play is set in 17th-century Europe during the Thirty Years’ War. Mother Courage cynically tries to profit from the war, which gradually consumes the lives of her three children.
Stage and film star Tonya Pinkins resigned from a production at Classic Stage Company that reset the action to the African nation of the Congo, after a clash with the director over their respective interpretations of the role. Kecia Lewis replaced Pinkins in the production that ran through Jan. 24.
The second production, conceived and directed by John Gould Rubin for The Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company, has set the action in a German beer hall, complete with live music, sausages and, of course, beer.
It is being played in Studio G at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 31 West 27th Street, using a translation by Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner. The production opens Jan. 28 and is scheduled to run through Feb. 20.
Artistic director Tom Oppenheim released a statement saying, "When John Gould Rubin described his vision for a production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage to me, locating it in a German beer hall, beer and sausages for sale, actors doubling as the band, I found it characteristically playful, insightful, interactive and fun. Frivolity and inebriation as backdrop to horrible human behavior. Pure Rubin! Pure Brecht! Lass uns einen Toast machen [Let's make a toast]!!!"
The ensemble features Estelle Bajou, Felix Birdie, Chuck Montgomery, Sandra Tauro, David Tillistrand, Franca Vercelloni, Angela Vitale, Katie Willmorth and Tobias Christian Wong.
The production is designed by Andreea Mincic (set), Chuan-Chi Chan (lighting), Sherry Martinez (costumes), Brenna Palughi (choreography), J. Steven White (fight direction), assistant directed by Nina Dingizian and stage managed by Mikenzie Ames.
You can find more information at stellaadler.com.