Trapped by Society, Schnitzler's Fräulein Else Finds Release in Berkeley Rep Premiere

News   Trapped by Society, Schnitzler's Fräulein Else Finds Release in Berkeley Rep Premiere Berkeley Repertory Theatre welcomes Fräulein Else, a world premiere staging of the 1924 Arthur Schnitzler novella, beginning Feb. 28 on the not-for-profit company's Thrust Stage in Berkeley, CA.

Adapted by and featuring actress Francesca Faridany in the title role, the work is about "a young bourgeois woman of delightful beauty and bittersweet wit" who "runs headlong into a horrible trap while vacationing at an Italian spa," according to Berkeley Rep press notes. The play is a co production with the La Jolla Playhouse.

"Propelled by her family's desperate attempts to garner financial security, Fräulein Else is encouraged to betray intuition and embrace the unthinkable," according to the announcement. "Fräulein Else illuminates the entrapment of a young woman's mind and soul by the regulations and strictures of a society overcome by decadence and patriarchal conventionality."

Faridany is a beloved Berkeley Rep actress known for Much Ado About Nothing and The Oresteia. Stephen Wadsworth, her long-term collaborator and new husband, directs.

Previews begins Feb. 28 toward a March 4 opening, with performances continuing to March 28.

Faridany began working on her adaptation of the 1924 novella in 2000. The play was further developed during a workshop at Berkeley Rep in December 2001. Subsequently, during the summer of 2001, the play was chosen for inclusion in the prestigious Sundance Theatre Laboratory, where Faridany and Wadsworth spent three weeks rehearsing and refining the piece. Fräulein Else marks Faridany's first attempt at translating and adapting. Her collaboration with Stephen Wadsworth spans nine years; Fräulein Else is their ninth production together. Austrian novelist, dramatist and critic Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931) is best known for his examinations of fin de-siècle Viennese culture, in the time of Freud. His best known work in the U.S. is La Ronde.

The cast also includes Michael Tisdale, Lauren Lovett, Julian Lopez-Morillas, Mary Baird, Omid Abtahi.

Designers are Thomas Lynch (scenic), Joan Arheleger (lighting), Anna Oliver (costume) and Bill Williams (sound).

Tickets range $38-$54. Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, one block from Berkeley's downtown BART station. For more information, call (510) 647-2949 or toll free at (888)-4-BRTTix, or visit www.berkeleyrep.org.