Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, ends its run at the company's Hollywood home on La Brea Ave. Dec. 16. The translation is by Richard Nelson, who won a 2000 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for James Joyce's The Dead. Directing the Chekhov classic is Florinel Fatulescu, who previously directed How To Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients and Talk Show From Hell for Open Fist.
Produced by Irene Tassiopoulos and Martha Denison, Three Sisters features sets and costumes by Yevgenia Nayberg and lighting by Leif Gantvoort. The cast includes Martin Bedoian, Arizona Brooks, Amy Edlin, Alan Goodson, Chelsea Hackett, Joe Hulser, Jeremy Lawrence, Shane O'Maley, Chris Parnell, Rod Sell, Dietrich Smith, Carol Terrel, Peter Vance and Alisa Wilson.
Romanian-born Fatulesco was recently profiled in an issue of "American Theatre." One of the first plays he directed in Romania as a 17-year-old was Ionesco's The Bald Soprano. A year later his fellow countryman's work was banned in Romania by the Communist regime, but Fatulescu went on to earn a degree in directing from The Institute of Theatrical and Cinematographic Arts in Bucharest. Over the next decade he directed productions in Petrosani, Brasov (his hometown) and Bucharest, "sometimes traveling with his plays to national or international festivals as his reputation increased. But while he was granted an unusual amount of creative freedom, his work remained under continual government surveillance."
Fatulescu continued to battle the government censors and bureaucrats for another decade, but finally decided to emigrate to Los Angeles in 1987, along with his composer wife, Rodica.
Fatulescu recently took his production of How to Explain to New York, where it was performed as part of the New York Public Library's fall exhibit, "Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World." The upcoming shows on Open Fist's new season include The Knackers ABC by Boris Vian (Jan 17-Feb. 24, 2001); The Wooden Breaks by Glenn Berger (March 9-April 14); and Casanova by Constance Congdon (May 4-June 9).
Open Fist Theatre is located at 1625 N. La Brea Ave. For tickets and information call (323) 882-6912.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent