Richard Nelson's New Translation of Wild Duck Opens Jan. 23 in Chicago

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23 Jan 2009

Court Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at the University of Chicago, opens a new production of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck, representing the world premiere of a fresh translation by Richard Nelson, Jan. 23 after previews from Jan. 15 at MCA Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.



Staged by artistic director Charles Newell, the production of the classic about the unmasking of a central lie within a family plays to Feb. 15.

The cast of The Wild Duck includes Maury Cooper (Old Ekdal), Mary Beth Fisher (Gina Ekdal), Timothy Edward Kane (Relling), Kevin Gudahl (Hialmar Ekdal), Johanna McKenzie Miller (Mrs. Sorsby), John Reeger (Werle), Laura Scheinbaum (Hedvig Ekdal), Rob Lindley (Peterson/Molvik), Henry Odum (Graberg) and Jay Whitaker (Gregers Werle).

According to Court, the classic play "combines profound tragedy with surprising comedy to tell the story of the Ekdal family. Their peaceful lives are turned upside down when an idealistic family friend arrives. When the secrets unravel, powerful questions are revealed."

Nelson's new translation of the 1885 Norwegian drama is the inaugural project of the Barbara E. Franke Commissioning Program for New Classics, Court's newest initiative, "which seeks to create new adaptations and translations of classic texts for the stage."

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Director Newell stated, "I have always wanted to return to The Wild Duck after having had the great honor of serving as assistant director for Lucian Pintilie's groundbreaking production. But I needed to be sure that we did so in the correct space and with the correct translation. In Richard Nelson's brilliant contemporary script we found a translation that fully realizes the classic text's extraordinary potential for contemporary relevance, and in the MCA's stunning performance space we rediscovered a location that feels as though it could have been designed especially for this production."

The designers are Leigh Breslau (scenic design), Andre Pluess (sound design), Jennifer Tipton (lighting design) and Jacqueline Firkins (costume design). Ellen Hay is the production stage manager, and Jonathan Berry is assistant director. Kate Bredeson is the dramaturg.

Newell has been artistic director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 30 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph of Love, which won the Jefferson Award for Best Production.

Translator Nelson is the respected American playwright of Conversations in Tusculum, Frank's Home, How Shakespeare Won the West, Rodney's Wife, Franny's Way, Madame Melville, Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award Best Play), The General From America, New England, Left, Misha's Party (with Alexander Gelman), Columbus and the Discovery of Japan, Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony Award nomination, Best Play), Some Americans Abroad (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy), Principia Scriptoriae. His musicals include James Joyce's The Dead (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical), My Life With Albertine (with Ricky Ian Gordon), Paradise Found (with Hal Prince, Ellen Fitzhugh and Jonathan Tunick). He has adapted and/or translated classical and contemporary plays including The Seagull, The Wood Demon, Three Sisters, Miss Julie, The Father, Il Campiello, The Marriage of Figaro, Enrico IV, Don Juan, The Suicide, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and The Controversy of Valladolid.

Tickets are available at the Court Theatre box office, 5535 South Ellis, in Chicago, or by calling (773) 753-4472 or online at www.CourtTheatre.org.

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The MCA Stage is the Museum of Contemporary Art's program of performing arts, and is a nationally recognized presenter of contemporary theatre, dance and music.