Yale Repertory Theatre has turned to the New York-based Mabou Mines troupe to kick off its 1998-99 season. The acclaimed avant-garde company will perform Peter and Wendy, its adaptation of J.M. Barrie's novel, at the New Haven venue.
Peter and Wendy played to much acclaim at New York's New Victory Theatre in February 1997. The show comes to Yale Rep Sept. 17-Oct. 3.
Like most Mabou Mines pieces, Peter & Wendy "melds movement, theatre, imagery and music into a rich theatrical tapestry." Lee Breuer (The Gospel At Colonnus) directs Liza Lorwin's adaptation of the Barrie fantasy. Julie Archer provides the sets, Johnny Cunningham the Celtic score.
Hoping to capture the moment when childhood imagination gives way to adult reality, director Breuer tries to represent "absolute reality from five-year-old's point of view." In so doing, the Darling Nursery becomes Neverland, Wendy's bed a pirate ship and Nana a crocodile. Bunraku "shadow" puppets are held by visible, onstage puppeteers. The only human character, however, is narrator Karen Kandel, supplying all the voices -- from Wendy to Captain Hook to Peter Pan. She won a Village Voice Obie for this performance.
Mabou Mines, founded in 1970 and named for a community in Nova Scotia, was mixing theatre with visual and multi-media long before the experimental move "performance art" established itself. Original Mabou members include minimalist composer Philip Glass, director JoAnne Akalaitis, and the actors, Ruth Maleczech and David Warrilow.
Fans of Peter And Wendy can hear its score on the recording of songs from the show. Composed by fiddle virtuoso Johnny Cunningham, 20 Celtic songs appear on the Alula Records CD (ALU-1006). The remainder of the Yale Rep season is as follows:
The theatre will celebrate Bertolt Brecht's centennial with its next production, Galileo (Oct. 22-Nov. 14), the German master's take on the famed physicist who was persecuted for his claims that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The season continues with Lynn Nottage's Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Nov. 27-Dec. 19). Nottage's drama takes a look at the 1950s America, from the rural South to Brooklyn to Harlem, through the eyes of 17-year-old Ernestine Crump.
The graduating acting class of the Yale School of Drama will take Yale Rep's stage Jan. 28-Feb. 20, performing Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Following the Bard will be a new production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (Mar. 18-Apr. 10), staged by renowned director Joseph Chaikin.
Brecht isn't the only one experiencing his 100th birthday. In commemoration of Noel Coward's centennial in 1999, Yale Rep will present one of his funniest comedies, Hay Fever (Apr. 29-May 22), the story of the self-absorbed Bliss family and the chaos they create over an English country weekend.
For tickets and more information on shows at Yale Repertory, Sept. 17 Oct. 3. For tickets or more information call (203) 432-1234.