Composer Philip Glass, librettist Rudolph Wurlitzer and director JoAnne Akalaitis comprise the core creative team behind a new musical theatre work based on Franz Kafka's In The Penal Colony. The world premiere of Penal Colony is scheduled for next August at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre (ACT).
The Penal Colony, described as ACT's centerpiece for the 2000 season, starts low-priced previews Aug. 25. The show will open Aug. 31 and run through Sept. 24 in the company's Falls Theatre.
Kafka's story explores a variety of human ideals through the context of justice. In The Penal Colony, the planned execution of a prisoner becomes a central issue when the method of execution is called into question.
ACT artistic director Gordon Edelstein said the production will stretch the boundaries of conventional modes of storytellingin that the work of Kafka, a "pure modernist [was being] interpreted by Glass and Akalaitis, two of our leading post-modernists."
Edelstein said that Glass' score would be written for strong quintet. Glass is a musical innovator whose landmark 1976 work, "Einstein on the Beach" is considered one of the most influential contemporary works of the past quarter century. Director Akalaitis, a founding member of Mabou Mines, has won five Obie Awards for direction, an Edwin Booth Award, as well as a Pew Charitable Trust National Theatre Residency grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has directed shows at Theatre for a New Audience, Lincoln Center, The Guthrie Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum to name a few.
ACT's season runs April - November and further information is available at (206) 292-7676.
-- By Murdoch McBride