Previews Off-Broadway began March 6. Stephen Kunken stars in the Pulitzer Prize-winner's latest piece, a one-man show, set to run through April 4 at the Theater at 45th Street, 354 W. 45th St. Performances of the show have been selling out in previews.
The work is adapted from the writings of the title novelist and playwright. Keen Company artistic director Carl Forsman directs.
Sebastian was a Romanian novelist and dramatist. His journals, which were published in 1996, told of the shocking history of anti-semitism in the Bucharest of World War II. Despite the country's one-time reputation as a safe place for Jews during the conflict, the book revealed that Romania's wartime government killed 150,000 Jews and imposed employment limitations on others. Sebastian himself was barred from holding certain jobs and had to borrow money to pay his rent.
The play covers six years in Sebastian's life. It is described as "expressionistic," the journal being "created" over the course of the evening.
Forsman has set the first act in a sort of abstract cafe, with shifts in lighting indicating changes in time, place and mood. A tiny bell tone suggests a each new journal entry. To view Playbill On-Line's March 5 Brief Encounter interview with playwright Auburn, Click Here.
It's a return to Auburn's work for Kunken, who play Harold (Hal) Dobbs with Anne Heche in Broadway's Proof (he also played opposite Mary-Louise Parker for a spate). He was also featured in the national tour of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Recently, he acted in The Story at The Public Theater, where he was also seen in The Dybbuk and Henry VIII. Kunken also appeared in the first New York City revival of Home of the Brave.
This will be Auburn's first new stage work to be presented in New York since the premiere of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM!, the book of which Auburn refashioned. Auburn's second major full length play, Proof, premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2000 and transferred to Broadway. It went on to win nearly every available prize and has been produced throughout the United States and the world. A movie version is expected to be released in late 2004; Auburn penned the screenplay.
Tickets are $19. Call (212) 868-4444.