Theatre for a New Audience Will Present Wallace Shawn, André Gregory, Larry Pine, Maggie Siff, Kafka's Monkey

By Kenneth Jones
01 Aug 2012

Larry Pine
Larry Pine
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Theatre for a New Audience's 33rd season — its last one before moving into a permanent home in Brooklyn next year — will boast the work of William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka in a theatrical adaptation by Colin Teevan, Samuel Beckett and Wallace Shawn. The company, founded in 1979 by its artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz, announced the 2012-13 season on Aug. 1.

Actors participating in the season include Deborah Eisenberg, Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, Emily McDonnell, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, Maggie Siff and Jennifer Tilly.

TFANA bills itself as "a modern classical theatre that produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors in a dialogue that spans centuries." In 2013, it will move to its first home adjacent to BAM in the new Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District.

In a co-production with The Public Theater, Shawn's plays will be part of The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project. Shawn's The Designated Mourner and Grasses of a Thousand Colors (American premiere) will be staged by his longtime friend and collaborator André Gregory.



Here's the 2012-13 TFANA season at a glance:

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Starring Maggie Siff
Directed by Arin Arbus
Feb. 2-April 13, 2013, at The Duke on 42nd Street

"Maggie Siff ('Mad Men' and 'Sons of Anarchy'), brilliant as Kate in last season's The Taming of the Shrew, which Arin Arbus staged to critical acclaim, returns to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Like Kate and Petruchio, Beatrice and Benedick become a couple only after insult and attack. In this remarkably modern comedy, dazzling language becomes a mediating force between the fusty conventions of love and marriage and the complexities of extraordinarily intelligent and worldly-wise people."

Kafka's Monkey
New York Premiere of London's Young Vic Production
Based on "A Report to an Academy" by Franz Kafka
Adapted by Colin Teevan
Directed by Walter Meierjohann
Starring Kathryn Hunter
April 3-17, 2013, Baryshnikov Arts Center

"In the New York Premiere of this savagely funny and poignant production from London's The Young Vic, Kathryn Hunter (Olivier Award winner, Complicité founding member) plays a reluctantly civilized ape who, dressed in white tie, tails and a bowler hat, addresses a group of distinguished scientists who have asked to hear about 'his' prior life. Colin Teevan's powerfully theatrical adaptation of Franz Kafka's 1917 story 'A Report to an Academy.' In 2004, Theatre for a New Audience produced Mr. Teevan's Svejk based on Jaroslaw Hasek's classic Czech novel of the same title." This engagement is produced in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

Fragments
Texts by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Peter Brook & Marie-Hélène Estienne
Return Engagement April 21-May 5, 2013, Baryshnikov Arts Center

"A return of last season's acclaimed production of C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's Fragments, the five texts by Samuel Beckett directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Brook, one of our era's greatest directors, interprets Samuel Beckett, the 20th century's greatest playwright. Beckett was acclaimed in part for his incomparable concision, his unique mastery of the breathtakingly profound short work. Fragments assembles the five Beckett shorts Rough for Theatre I, Rockaby, Act without Words II, Neither and Come and Go, performed by Kathryn Hunter and her former Complicité colleagues Jos Houben and Marcello Magni." This engagement is produced in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project
A co-production With The Public Theater
At The Public 425 Lafayette Street
The Designated Mourner
By Wallace Shawn
Directed by André Gregory
June 21-Aug. 25, 2013
&
Grasses of a Thousand Colors
American Premiere
By Wallace Shawn
Directed by André Gregory
Oct. 8-Nov. 10, 2013

"A celebration of a remarkable theatrical collaboration. Wallace Shawn is one of America's most significant playwrights, long overdue for a major retrospective. André Gregory, his 'My Dinner With André' co-star, has been directing Shawn's plays for 40 years, and here he directs his two most recent plays.

"Completed in 1996, The Designated Mourner is a monologue-triptych in which three artist-intellectuals describe their experiences as their once-liberal country sinks into totalitarianism. A famous poet-intellectual, his daughter, and her husband — people made of very different moral fiber despite their shared highbrow background — observe the subtle and flagrant transformations to everyday life, public affairs and personal relationships as their government brutally cracks down on anyone suspected of subversion. Its New York premiere, which played at an abandoned men's club in Manhattan's financial district, was the most coveted ticket of the 2000 theatre season.

"For this first New York revival, the cast of that production — Shawn with Deborah Eisenberg and Larry Pine — returns. Grasses of a Thousand Colors won hugely enthusiastic critical praise at its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 2009. Wallace Shawn's most outlandish work to date, this disturbing and anomalously beautiful play touches on almost every imaginable form of sexual expression while spinning a dystopian fantasy about ecological disaster. Shawn, Emily McDonnell and Jennifer Tilly from the Royal Court production reunite for this American premiere. Ben, the play's central character, is a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind. He ends up ruining the global ecosystem. Yet Grasses of a Thousand Colors is no mere social drama. Instead of exclusively dwelling on social disaster, it also explores the riotous sexual imaginations of Ben, his wife and his lovers."

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