The Lincoln Center Festival 98 may have lost its centerpiece, the 16th century Chinese opera The Peony Pavilion, to political intrigue, but dozens of other concerts and stage productions from the U.S. and a half dozen other countries remain on the schedule. The third annual festival begins its three-week run July 7.
Most prominent among the theatrical attractions is Lincoln Center's already-running production of Twelfth Night, which began previews at the Vivian Beaumont Jun 19 and will officially open July 16. Oscar winner and "Mad About You" star Helen Hunt toplines a cast that includes Kyra Sedgwick, Paul Rudd, Brian Murray, Max Wright, and Philip Bosco. Nicholas Hytner, of Carousel fame, directs. Hytner's frequent collaborator, Bob Crowley, designed the sets.
Helping to open the festival is Israel's acclaimed Gesher Theatre, booked in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Israel. The Gesher will present two plays, beginning with Village, Joshua Sobol's autobiographical memory play about life in a Palestine village before World War II. Village will run July 7-12 at Alice Tully Hall. The second offering, Alexander Chervinsky's Adam Resurrected, will be staged in a circus tent in Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. Adam is a macabre tale in which the Holocaust is depicted as a circus and Israel as a lunatic asylum. The play will be performed in Russian July 16 and 17, and in Hebrew July 14, 15, 18 and 19.
The English troupe Theatre de Complicite will pay its second visit to the festival. Two years ago, it offered The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol. This time, the company will present the U.S. premiere of The Street of Crocodiles, a highly visual and physical adaptation of the diary of surrealist writer Bruno Schulz. Simon McBurney directs. Crocodiles will be performed July 16-19 and July 21-26 at the John Jay College Theatre.
From Barcelona comes La Fura dels Baus and their rendition of the Faust legend, F@ust: Version 3.0, which, as the title suggests, takes place in the computer age. According to La Fura dels Baus, we are now all Fausts, seeking information and immortality. The show plays July 22-26 at the New York State Theater. The Peony Pavilion was to have opened the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival. The production, however, was seized on June 18 by the Shanghai Bureau of Culture and its director, Ma Bomin, who criticized it as containing "feudal," "ignorant" and "pornographic" aspects. The show's costumes and sets were eventually released, but despite lengthy negotiations and several concessions on the part of the opera's director, Chen Shi-Zheng, Ma would not permit the cast to travel to New York and the production had to be canceled.
To partially fill the hole left by the opera, Redden said Lincoln Center was considering the possibility of staging a special event focusing on the topic of artistic freedom. By July 7, however, there was no further news on the possibility of such an occasion.
Tickets for the Lincoln Center Festival 98 are available at the festival box office at Avery Fisher Hall, or by calling (212) 721-6500.
-- By Robert Simonson