Robert Prosky will star in The Golem, the second presentation of the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre's 2001-02 season. He will play the Rabbi in the Yiddish theatre classic, which will run April 2 to May 12 at MET's Soho space.
Lawrence Sacharow, best known as the director of Three Tall Women, will direct.
Prosky netted a couple Tony nominations back in the 1980s, one for Glengarry Glen Ross in 1984 and one for A Walk in the Woods in 1988. Since then he has became familiar for his many film performances. Among his credits are "Outrageous Fortune," "Broadcast News," "Dead Man Walking," "The Natural," "Green Card" and "Dudley Do Right." His most recent stage effort was as Matthew Harrison Brady in the Ford's Theatre fall 2000 revival of Inherit the Wind in Washington DC.
Prosky is the second big casting coup for the very young MET, which only started producing last year. The company began its first full season on Jan. 8 with an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle, starring William Atherton in his first New York stage role in over a decade.
The Golem, by H. Leivick, was adapted by MET artistic director David Fishelson from Joseph C. Landis' translation. The final selection on the MET roster will be Ordet, which was to have run April 30-June 9, 2002, but will now probably play a June-July run. The new adaptation of the play by Danish dramatist Kaj Munk is drawn from both Munk's original text and Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1953 screenplay.
The MET space is at 55 Mercer Street in Manhattan. For information call (212) 925-1900.
Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, with help of actors William Atherton, Judith Malina, Catherine Curtin and Sean McCourt, and director Scott Schwartz, started scaling a new adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle, Jan. 8. The Off-Broadway production will open Jan. 17 for a run through Feb. 17.
Actor Atherton was one of the leading presences of the American stage in the 70s before turning to film. The lean, edgy actor won a Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards came with his portrayal of the title role in David Wiltse's Suggs in the City, as well as an Obie Award for David Rabe's The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Atherton appeared in the original productions of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves (as Artie Shaughnessy's son) and Rich and Famous, and the Broadway staging of Arthur Miller's The American Clock.
By the mid-70s, Atherton has made his mark in movies, starring in Stephen Spielberg's debut "The Sugarland Express" and "The Day of the Locusts." By the '80s, he had transformed into a comic villain in "Ghostbusters" and the "Die Hard" series. He recently starred in a Maine production of Art, directed by Judd Hirsch.
Actor McCourt was also featured in Titanic, Woody Guthrie's American Song and the solo, The Last Romeo.
Schwartz established himself as a new talent in the musical theatre this past year by staging two new Off-Broadway musicals, Jonathan Larson's autobiographical tick,tick...BOOM! and the loopy L.A. hit Bat Boy. Explained why he turned to musical comedy man Schwartz to direct a Kafka-inspired drama, MET artistic director David Fishelson said he was looking for a director who could bring out the dark humor in the piece.
The MET opened its new Soho space last spring with a dramatization of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.
The Castle tells the bleak, nightmarish story of a man who continually tries and fails to gain entrance to the castle where he is supposed to report for work. Like the same author's The Trial, it is a grim depiction of the individual's losing struggle for meaning and equilibrium in a world of monolithic institutions and faceless, monstrous bureaucracy.
According to MET, the English-language stage version being employed is by Max Brod, the friend of Kafka and executor of his estate who wisely ignored the novelist's decree that his manuscripts be destroyed after his death. The dramatization, once thought to be lost, was staged by Ingmar Bergman in Sweden in 1953, and in Tel Aviv in 1976. MET claims The Castle has never been produced for the English-speaking stage until now. Petra Lammers and Aaron Leichter rendered the English translation.
—By Robert Simonson