The writing of the prolific novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. once again makes its way to the theatre as Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company presents a free workshop and reading of Who Am I This Time? April 9 at their Otto Haas Stage. The work will receive a full production to open Arden's 2001-2002 season in September.
Who Am I This Time? is adapted by Arden co-founder and resident director Aaron Posner, not from the Vonnegut story with the same title, but from his earlier work "Welcome to the Monkey House." Posner, who will direct the fall production, adapted the stories for Arden's inaugural production in 1988. He explained in a released statement that, "This adaptation will be very true to the original stories," adding his new look at the work will be "involving everyone [the audience] in a shared act of storytelling."
North Crawford, a tiny mythical town, serves as the backdrop for the three stories in Who Am I This Time?. The play explores the ideals of love and hope in a seemingly simpler time and place. (This play is not to be confused with the same-titled, Neal Miller-adapted, Jonathan Demme directed 1981 TV movie starring Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken.)
Other Vonnegut works that have seen the stage include his own Happy Birthday, Wanda June (Off-Broadway,1970), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater a stage musical adaptation by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (Off-Broadway, 1979), and Slaughterhouse-Five adapted by Eric Simonson (Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre,1996).
As part of the New Play Showcase at Arden Who Am I This Time? will join other plays that have developed out of the series which was started in 1999. Those other works include The Pavilion, The Snow Queen, Red Herring, Exit Wounds and Baby Case (about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping) which will boast the honor of being Arden's first world premiere of a musical when its full production will follow the Posner work in October. The free workshop and reading will be open to the public and requires no advanced reservations. The Arden Theatre's Haas Stage is located at 40 North 2nd Street in Philadelphia, PA. For further information, visit Arden's website at www.ardentheatre.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez