The Buffalo Nights Theatre Company will tackle a little known absurdist gem from 1927, The Madman and The Nun. Written by the Polish playwright Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, the phantasmagoric tale about a decadent poet sent to an asylum for rehabilitation under the care of a seemingly sympathetic nun, opens March 26 at the Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica for a six-week run.
Directed by Actors Gang founding memory Ron Campbell, the cast includes Buffalo Nights company members Maury Sterling, Renee Ridgeley, Diana George, Evan Arnold, Lorin Shapiro, Jeff Maynard, Beth Kennedy, Kevin Weisman and Ron Garcia.
Witkiewicz was one of the most fascinating artistic personalities of the early 20th century. Playwright, painter, critic, aesthetician, novelist, philosopher and authority on drugs, he was a Renaissance man of the avant-garde who threw himself into art and life with a flamboyance and fury unmatched at the time. He is often credited with creating a "theatre of the absurd" years before the masters of the genre -- Beckett, Ionesco and Genet - began writing.
Witkiewicz, who experimented boldly with a variety of drugs, committed suicide shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939.
Buffalo Nights Theatre Company is an award-winning collective whose work was last seen at the Falcon Theatre in the world premieres of George F. Walker's Suburban Motel plays. The company was formed eight years ago by a group of UCLA theatre artists. In its brief existence, it has mounted 11 full productions.
The Powerhouse Theatre is located at 3112 Second St., in Santa Monica. Call (310) 289-2999 for information.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent