Gilles Segal's drama The Puppetmaster of Lodz opens Jan. 20, 1999 at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, CA. The play began previews Jan. 14 and runs through Feb. 14, 1999.
Five years after World War II has ended, Puppetmaster finds Samuel Finkelbaum hiding in his home, afraid to come out for fear of persecution by the Nazis. He has instead recreated his world inside his apartment with puppets to embody his loved ones and friends. Throughout the play, a mysterious stranger (played by Segal in the original production in 1983) tries to convince Finkelbaum that the war is over.
Sara O'Connor translated Puppetmaster from the French. She has also translated Segal's most recent play, Mister Schpill and Mister Tippeton, which won France's Moliere Award in 1996.
Marin artistic director Lee Sankowich (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) directs Matt Gottlieb (the Mark Taper's Nine Armenians, Slavs, Broadway's The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940) as Finkelbaum, Lucinda Hitchcock Cone (Shear Madness, Cabaret), Remi Sandri (Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde) and Joe Bellan ("Mrs. Doubtfire").
Specially for this production, Marin Theatre Company consulted with Polish puppet master and artistic director of Warsaw Television, Henryk Pijanowski. Pijanowski, at age seven, escaped the concentration camps during the Warsaw deportation of 1944. Tickets ($38-$8) are available by calling (415) 388-5208. The Marin Theatre Company is located at 397 Miller Avenue.
-- By Christine Ehren