Milwaukee Repertory Theatre's world premiere commission, Force of Nature, by Steven Dietz, opens April 9, introducing audiences to the obscure world of Goethe's 1809 novella, "Elective Affinities."
The production -- filled with classic narrative shifts by the sometimes non-linear, non-literal Dietz -- began previews April 7 and continues to May 9.
In the play, married couple Charlotte (played by Laura Gordon) and Edward (Andrew May) each invite a friend to stay at their country estate, and, according to production notes, "true love and clear judgment are clouded by fresh attraction and passion." The settings are a modern-day park and a country estate in Germany in 1809.
Filled with symbolism and ideas about destiny and fate, Force of Nature features Lee Ernst, Laura Gordon, Andrew May, James Pickering, Rose Pickering, Kirsten Potter, Peter Silbert, Deborah Staples and Brian Vaughn.
Designers are Kent Dorsey (sets and lighting), Laura Crow (costumes) and Michael Bodeen (sound). The production will be the finale of the Rep's mainstage season, at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater.
Dietz, author of Painting It Red, God's Country and Lonely Planet, is a Milwaukee favorite. His adaptation of the epic novel, Silence, was seen at MRT in the 1995-96 season, and Private Eyes was staged there in 1997-98. His fantastical Rocket Man was produced at MRT's Stiemke (pronounced "steam key") Theater January February 1999. Rocket Man was nominated for the 1998 American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award.
For Milwaukee Repertory Theater information, call (414) 224-9490.
-- By Kenneth Jones