Epic, NYC's New Rotating Rep Troupe, Launches Oct. 15 With The Last Resort

News   Epic, NYC's New Rotating Rep Troupe, Launches Oct. 15 With The Last Resort Epic Repertory, a new Off-Broadway company presenting works in rotation, as the name of the troupe suggests, makes its debut Oct. 15 at The DR2 Theatre with the first preview of The Last Resort or Farblondjet.
David Auburn, who guided Epic Rep's recent workshops of The Last Resort or Farblondjet.
David Auburn, who guided Epic Rep's recent workshops of The Last Resort or Farblondjet. Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Artistic director Richard Kuranda told Playbill On-Line that company's goals are to give voice to American writers (of both plays and musicals) and to give actors the opportunity to work in a rep environment that is challenging.

"We really felt it was important to provide stage time and provide a lot of opportunity for the artist to grow on stage, to build practical skills," Kuranda said.

The mission of Epic Repertory Theatre Company "is to become the only fully functional repertory theatre company in New York City, so that it may nurture and develop new artists, new work, and a new audience in the American theatre tradition."

Despite the goals to showcase American plays, Jean Anouilh's Antigone goes into rep with Jeremy Kareken's The Last Resort starting Oct. 28. Presentations of one-acts join the rotation later.

The company began when a handful of theatre people associated with Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre (Kuranda is former head of operations) decided to offer readings of plays. Epic was born in 2000-01. This fall marks its first full productions, in residence at the DR2 Theatre off Union Square. The company operates under a showcase contract with Actors' Equity Association. The Epic pool of acting, writing and directing talent includes about 36 people. Kuranda said the future goal of the company is the have a paid acting troupe and a home of their own, but for the first season it's "baby steps" — getting money, building an audience.

The first 24 months of the company's history is devoted to the idea of "how man explores his intellect while deciding what authority is," in everything from Antigone to The Last Resort to a new Romulus Linney commission of the 1979 Tim O'Brien novel, "Going After Cacciato."

In spring 2004 the company will present Paradise, the controversial Middle East-themed play commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

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Epic Repertory is under the direction of artistic director Richard Kuranda and managing director Carolyn Craig. The inaugural season includes The Last Resort or Farblondjet by playwright in residence Jeremy Kareken and Jean Anouilh's take on the Greek classic, Antigone.

The cast of the Catskills-set Farblondjet (Oct. 15 Nov. 19), directed by Michael Montel, includes Ann Talman as Sarah, Peter Rini as Howard, Robert Heller as Harry, Polly Lee as Moira and David Staller as Ytchak. This is the play's New York premiere.

The cast of Antigone (Oct. 28-Nov. 22), directed by Kuranda, includes Alicia Regan as Antigone, David Gideon as Creon, Rufus Collins as Chorus, Elle Zalejski as the Nurse, Carolyn Craig as Ismene and Daryl Stokes as Haemon.

The play has become a modern classic (derived from the Greeks, of course) about the conflict of man's laws and political needs on one hand and moral law and human dignity on the other.

All performances are in rep at the DR2 Theatre off Union Square.

Epic Repertory's fall season will also feature a one-act play festival featuring pieces by Romulus Linney, Lee Blessing, and J.T. Rogers. The one-act plays will take place in October and November as well.

The Last Resort or Farblondjet, as previously announced, "tells the story of a young man as he looks for love amongst the ruins of a dying civilization, the Jewish Catskills. There, he finds the one love he can not have, the father he never liked, and a whole lot of tsuris, michagas, and maybe a shtup or two." Farblondjet was developed in Epic's 2002 workshop season with Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winner David Auburn (Proof) serving as a consultant. It's a Walter Dakin Fellowship winner at the Sewanee Writers' Conference and one of the winners of the Dasha Epstein Next Step Fellowship at EST.

Playwright Jeremy Kareken is the researcher for "Inside the Actors Studio" on Bravo Television, a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Playwrights Unit and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. He was recently awarded the Inge Fellowship for writing.

The DR2 Theatre is at 103 E. 15th Street, New York, NY. Tickets can be purchased through Telecharge at (212) 239 6200 or on www.telecharge.com. For more information, visit www.epic-rep.com.

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Jean Cocteau Repertory and Repertorio Espanol are two other rep troupes operating in Manhattan.