Perhaps they should call it "Oh, K!". In sly reference to its best-known cast-member, Nikolai Kinski, Off-Off-Broadway's Black Moon Theatre Company has been offering its version of The Bacchae, titled "The Bakkhai," at the HERE space, Sept. 18-Oct. 7. Kinski, son of late actor Klaus Kinski, has two roles in the production.
Previews for the show were to have begun Sept. 14, but owing to the World Trade Center terrorist attack of Sept. 11, the show's official opening night, Sept. 18, also became its first night, since the company couldn't get into its theatre during the week. Otherwise, according to a Shirley Herz office spokesperson, the show's scheduled run came off without a hitch.
The Bakkhai, an expressionistic and stylized piece with masks, an all female chorus and techno-fusion music. Director Rene Migliaccio said in a statement that he hoped the company would create a theatrical language — as the ancient Greeks did — via "a whole-body approach, utilizing the hands, arms, legs and masks, in conjunction with the spoken word, to reflect the story's mood, emotions and character."
Certainly, there's much for the cast to emote, since The Bakkhai tells of Dionysus trying to establish power in Thebes by luring women to a mountaintop bacchanal. When King Pentheus imprisons Dionysus for his naughtiness, the latter gets revenge by casting a spell on the king's mom, who ends up tearing her son to pieces. Especially intriguing in this production is that both Pentheus and the mommy who dismembers him are played by the same actor, Kinski.
Kinski grew up watching dad play Dracula on screen in "Aguirre, or The Wrath of God" and his most famous movie, the 1979 remake of F.W. Murnau's silent movie classic, "Nosferatu." Aptly enough, Kinski the younger starred in Telluride Rep's Off-Off Broadway mounting of Nosferatu last summer. Co-starring in The Bakkhai are Dana Marie Abbatiello, Noelle Adamoschek, Maya Alexander, Suzanne Aptman, Cecilia Blagini, Vanessa Eichler, Bertie Ferdman, Cheryl Fidelman, Jay Gaussoin, Rob Grace, Juliana Hoffpaur, Nina Karacosta, Nikolia Kinski, Brook Masters, DeMario Montague, Paula Salomon, Todd Sellers, Dario Tangelson & Lori Vincent.
Amaury Groc, who did the score for Nosferatu, also does the honors for The Bakkhai. Rajika Puri will choreograph.
Tickets are $20. HERE is located at 145 Sixth Avenue between Spring and Broome streets. For tickets, call (212) 647-0202, or visit www.here.org.
--By David Lefkowitz