Leigh Silverman (Well) directs the new work which began previews Aug. 29 at the Culture Project's space at 45 Bleecker Street.
Downtown's Culture Project launches the new festival (running through Oct. 22) featuring more than 50 events at the company's home and throughout the city. The focus of the multi-genre event (which will include theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts, comedy, debate and more) is human rights, social justice and political action.
Ensler's new play which opens the festival "delves beneath the layers of power, fear and intimacy between a traumatized former military interrogator (McDermott) and the psychologist Colonel (Portia) who is assigned to give him a routine treatment. What follows is a blunt exploration of torture, accountability and a soldier's 'duty' to commit atrocities in the name of democracy."
McDermott — known for his work on "The Practice" — has previously collaborated with Ensler on Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man and Scooncat. Other theatre credits include Broadway's Biloxi Blues, The Glass Menagerie (McCarter Theatre), Rebel Armies (Long Wharf Theatre) and Golden Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival). The actor has appeared in such films as "Hamburger Hill," "Steel Magnolias," "In the Line of Fire," "Home for the Holidays," "Wonderland" and the upcoming "The Messengers."
Surnameless stage star Portia appeared on Broadway in The Ride Down Mt. Morgan and in the Off-Broadway cast of McReele. As a LAByrinth Theatre Company member she has appeared in Our Lady of 121st Street, Dutch Heart of Man, Guinea Pig Solo and In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings. She recently appeared at Hartford Stage in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. The design team includes Richard Hoover (set), Candice Donnelly (costumes), Jill BC Du Boff (sound) and Justin Townsend (lighting).
Other theatre events that will be part of the festival include the American premiere of 6 Actors in Search of a Plot by celebrated Palestinian writer Mohammed El Thayer and American choreographer Billy Yalowitz; the world premiere of Mental Missile by Elizabeth Swados; an Ariel Dorfman stage adaptation of Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark edited by Kerry Kennedy; and a Rob Urbinati stage adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States, among many others.
Among the artists also scheduled to participate in the numerous festival events are Marisa Tomei, Richard Dreyfus, Jeff Goldblum, Charles Grodin, Steve Earle, David Strathairn, Samantha Power and Bob Balaban.
Tickets are available to The Treatment by calling 212-307-4100. For more information and a full schedule of Impact Festival 2006 events, visit impactfestival.org.