Once denounced as pornographic, now considered a classic, Emile Zola's 1867 novel, Therese Raquin, has been turned into a stageplay, courtesy of veteran dramatist Neal Bell. His adaptation, directed by David Esbjornson, officially opens the 30th Anniversary season at Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company (CSC), Oct. 29. The show began previews Oct. 29 and runs to Nov. 23.
Therese Raquin, a woman driven to torrid affairs and murder, will be played by Elizabeth Marvel, who's recently brought a number of strong, sometimes duplicitous women to New York stages. She was Quincy in Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter and, most recently, the Polish pilot in the Roundabout's revival of Shaw's Misalliance. She appeared as the rebellious daughter in Steve Tesich's Arts And Leisure, but perhaps her most memorable role was as a Diane Arbus type photographer in the Public Theatre's Silence, Cunning, Exile.
Also in the Raquin cast are Beth Dixon, Clement Fowler, Sean Haberle, Ed Hodson, Steven Ratazzi, Angela Reed and Todd Weeks. Designing the show are Narelle Sissons (sets), Kaye Voyce (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Gina Leishman & Rinde Eckert (sound).
Other works by adapter Bell include Cold Sweat, Raw Youth, On The Bum, Sleeping Dogs and Children Of The Night. Esbjornson, CSC's artistic director, has staged such plays as Another Part Of The House, Entertaining Mr. Sloane and Endgame. He won a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for staging Dealer's Choice at Long Wharf.
New translations and adaptations play a significant part in the upcoming CSC season, which devotes itself to fresh looks at classic texts. The line-up includes a lurid French melodrama, a zany Russian farce, a modern-day Greek tragedy, and an existential avant-garde landmark. Here's the rest of the 1997-98 season schedule for Classic Stage Company, located on East 13th St.:
Christmas At The Ivanovs' (Dec. 9-Jan. 4, 1998; opens Dec. 14)
"Tradition turns to wild hysteria," says the press release, "as cooks, servants, judges, singing woodcutters, wild animals, a doctor and a poetry-reciting dog" spend a turn-of-the-century Christmas together. This wild farce by Alexander Vvedensky [sic] will be staged by Karin Coonrod in conjunction with Arden Party, for which she serves as artistic director. Coonrod and Julia Listengarten have concocted a new English translation of the work. Writer/director Coonrod's most recent local staging was Henry VI at the NY Shakespeare Festival in 1996. (For an interview with Coonrod at the time, please see Playbill On-Line's feature story, "Karin Coonrod --from an Arden Party to a Shakespeare Festival")
Phaedra In Delirium (Jan. 20-Feb. 15, 1998; opens Jan. 28, 1998)
Set in contemporary times, this Susan Yankowitz drama serves as "a response" to plays by Euripides (Hipolytus) and Jean Racine (Phedre, 1677), in which Theseus' wife, Phaedra, falls in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. A co-production of The Women's Project & Productions, this world premiere will be directed by Alison Summers. Yankowitz is also the author of Under The Skin.
Waiting For Godot (winter 1998)
Andrei Belgrader will stage Samuel Beckett's comedy/drama about two vagrants, Vladimir & Estragon, and the guy they're waiting, and waiting, and waiting for.
For tickets and information on CSC productions, call (212) 677-4210. Special programs include the education and outreach project, "Classic Contenders," and pay-what-you-can tickets made available to those under 18.
--By David Lefkowitz