The Edinburgh International Festival has released details for its 1999 program. The 53rd annual festival runs from August 15 until September 4 and features 167 performances and events ranging from premiere theatrical productions through to contemporary Chinese opera, innovative modern choreography and a series of concerts featuring the music of the pipes.
The 1999 theatre program sees a number of leading young European directors making festival debuts with both new writing as well as European classics. In a year that sees the opening of the new Scottish Parliament, the Festival puts the international spotlight on the work of Scottish artists and companies like the Traverse, Scotland's theatre for new writing. Two new plays have been commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival in collaboration with the Grec Festival, Barcelona. The Speculator by Scottish playwright David Greig and The Meeting by Catalan Lluisa Cunille will each be premiered in Barcelona, directed by Philip Howard and Xavier Alberti respectively. The plays will then receive their English language premieres in Edinburgh, performed by the Traverse Theatre Company.
Those searching for a taste of new German theatre will find their fill in Marius von Mayenburg's Feuergesicht (Fireface). This stark portrait of a family's disintegration follows teenage siblings Kurt and Olga in their unnatural obsession with each other and with flames. Thomas Ostermeier directs the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg in the production performed in German with English surtitles.
Meanwhile, Alize Zandwijk directs her new adaptation of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths, an observation of idiots, thieves, cheats and vagabonds from the lowest levels of society who seek comfort and oblivion in alcohol. The Lower Depths is performed in both Dutch and English by the RO Theatre of Rotterdam.
Krystian Lupa adapts and directs another classic from European literature, Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers. The three-part adaptation of Broch's World War I novel charts the impact of the war on the people and communities behind the lines. It is performed in Polish with English surtitles by the Stary Theatre of Krakow. Set in India, all-consuming passion is at the heart of Marguerite Duras' India Song. The exchange of a single glance between the Vice-Consul and the French Ambassador's wife sets them on an inevitable course. Directed by Ivo van Hove, India Song is performed in English by Holland's Het Zuidelijk Toneel.
And finally, straight from Ireland, Dublin's Abbey Theatre returns to the Festival with The Wake by Tom Murphy, which follows New Yorker Vera on her homecoming to her native Ireland for her grandmother's funeral.
For further information on these and other events in the Edinburgh International Festival visit its website or call the Festival hotline on 011-44-131-473-2000. The program for the concurrent Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be released later in the year.