Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei opens tonight in We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! at Harvard's Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Mass. The play is being presented by the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), now in its twenty first season as the permanent professional ensemble in residence there.
Written by the Nobel Prize-winning Italian author, Dario Fo, Pay is directed by Andrei Belgrader, with artistic direction by Robert Brustein. The show was translated and adapted by Ron Jenkins. The production runs from Sept. 10-Oct. 3 at the Loeb Drama Center, Harvard Square.
The play centers on two working-class couples and their misguided attempts at shoplifting. With state troopers and police at their heels, the four young people find themselves in a series of ludicrous and unexpected situations.
Marisa Tomei, who won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for the 20th Century Fox film, "My Cousin Vinny," plays Antonia. Tomei has made frequent stage appearances of late, last seen on Broadway co-starring with Quentin Tarantino in Wait Until Dark. She also appeared in Tony Kushner's Slavs at New York Theatre Workshop, Kelly Stuart's Demonology at Playwrights Horizons, and Eric Overmeyer's Dark Rapture. Her other film credits include "Slums of Beverly Hills," "Chaplin," "The Paper," and "Untamed Hearts."
Joining Tomei in the Company are A.R.T. Company actors Thomas Derrah as her husband Giovanni, Ken Cheeseman as Giovanni's workmate and friend Luigi, Caroline Hall as his wife and Antonia's friend Margherita, and Will LeBow in multiple roles from a state trooper to a grandfather. Sets are by Anita Stewart, costumes by Evin Sanna Olsen, lighting by Michael Chybowski and sound design by Christopher Walker. The playwright, Dario Fo, is an Italian dramatist, actor and theatrical activist who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997. Fo was invited to come to the States by the A.R.T. in 1986 to perform his best known work,Mistero Buffo. This marked Fo's first visit to America. A.R.T.has also produced the American premiere of Fo's Archangels Don't Play Pinball. Among Fo's other notable works are Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Trumpets and Raspberries, and his most recent piece, The Devil with Boobs, a satire set in the Renaissance.
Other shows in A.R.T.'s 1999-2000, 21st anniversary season, include:
€ Anton Chekhov's Ivanov, directed by Yuri Yeremin (Artistic Director of the Moscow Pushkin Theatre), beginning Nov. 1999. Written when Chekhov was only 27, Ivanov is a portrait of a man too intelligent and too bored to endure his provincial life.
€ Christopher Durang (Betty's Summer Vacation) & Albert (Gemini) Innaurato's The Idiots Karamazov, directed by Karen Coonrod (NYSF's Henry IV, CSC's Christmas at the Ivanovs') beginning December 1999. Written when the two playwrights where at Yale together, the play tells the tale of Dostoevsky's classic, "The Brothers Karamazov," through the eyes of a translator who mixes and mashes the entire Western Canon -- adding such characters as Anais Nin and Mary Tyrone of Long Days' Journey Into Night.
€ Joe Orton's Loot, directed by Andrei Belgrader (CSC's Waiting for Godot), begins January 2000. The comedy tells of a son who needs to dump stolen money into his mother's casket.
€ Charles L. Mee's Full Circle, directed by Robert Woodruff, begins February 2000. Out of the chaos of high-speed capital and crashing economies emerges a hapless single woman caring for an abandoned baby. Based on an ancient Chinese fable, Circle is set in a turbulent 1989 Europe after the fall of Communism.
€ Adrienne Kennedy's The Ohio State Murders, directed by Marcus Stern (The Public's Chang Fragments), begins April 2000. When a young student arrives at Ohio State University, she little suspects that the academic sanctuary harbors dark forces of hatred, and even death.
€ Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, directed by innovative Macedonian director, Slobodan Unkovski, beginning May 2000. One of Shakespeare's last plays combines the tragedy of jealous Leontes with the comedy of Pedita and Florizel.
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Rep, Brustein has supervised more than 200 productions. He serves as director of the Loeb Drama Center, Professor of English at Harvard, and drama critic for The New Republic. In recent years, he's been notable for his public arguments with playwright August Wilson about multi-cultural casting.
For tickets and information on the American Repertory Theatre season, call their Info-Line at (617) 547-8300 or check out their website at http://www.amrep.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride