While Steven Dietz's Dracula takers a bite out of Seattle, Boston's American Repertory Theatre will offer its own grand guignol with The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, a multi-media (very loose) interpretation of the famous 1919 German expressionist film by F.W. Murnau.
The fifth production of A.R.T.'s season, Caligari was created by John Moran and is directed by Bob McGrath. It runs through March 22.
Not intended as a "theatrical recreation" of the chilling film, Caligari incorporates vaudevill and side-show theatrics, psychological realism, circus and dance techniques, as well as the French theatre of terror termed "grand guignol." After the production, the silent film, "Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari" will be shown, featuring live piano accompaniment by Martin Marks.
A protege' of Philip Glass, Moran created the operas Jack Benny!, The Manson Family and Mathew [sic] In The School Of Life. McGrath, artistic director of NY's Ridge Theatre and a 1994 Obie winner for sustained excellence, directed such Moran works as Everyday Newt Burman and Mathew. Appearing in the unusual drama are Remo Airaldi (Scratch), Alvin Epstein (Caligari), Benjamin Evett, Jeremy Geidt, Charles Levin, Karen MacDonald, Scott Ripley, Jack Willis, Kevin Bergen, Jay Boyer, Jada Galan, Steve Harper, Phoebe Jonas, Cheryl Kenan and Kwana Martinez. Airaldi starred in Shlemiel The First at A.R.T. as Moishe Pipick. Epstein has appeared in 60 shows at Yale Rep and 40 at A.R.T.
Designers for the show are Laurie Olinder & Fred Tietz (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Howard Thies (lighting), Christopher Walker (sound), and Anthony Chase (film). The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a part of CrossCurrents, an A.R.T. & American Music Theatre Festival (Philadelphia) initiative to "create and sustain new music theatre works. The show plays in repertory with another dark, German work, Buchner's Woyzeck.
For tickets ($21-$50) and information on The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, which runs through March 22 at A.R.T.'s Loeb Drama Center on Brattle Street in Cambridge, call (617) 547-8300.
On Monday, March 3 at 8 PM, Robert Brustein, artistic director of A.R.T., will moderate a panel featuring Moran, McGrath, Epstein and Harvard professor Richard Hunt. This free and open-to-the-public discussion will take place at the Loeb Center.
Upcoming at A.R.T. Will be the world premiere of David Mamet's The Old Neighborhood and a production of Sam Shepard's and Joseph Chaikin's When The World Was Green (A Chef's Fable).
--By David Lefkowitz