TR Warszawa's Festen (The Celebration) Debuts at St. Ann's Warehouse April 20

By Adam Hetrick
April 20, 2012

TR Warszawa's Festen (The Celebration), a theatrical feast adapted from the 1998 Danish film by Thomas Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov, begins performances April 20 at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.



TR artistic director Grzegorz Jarzyna stages the two-hour-and-fifteen-minute production that will play a limited run through April 29. The work has been adapted for the stage by filmmakers Vinterberg and Rukov. It is performed in Polish with English subtitles.

The Polish Theatre troupe previously staged their critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Macbeth at the Tobacco Warehouse across from St. Ann's in 2008. The venue was at one time the targeted future home of St. Ann's, but the Brooklyn-based company will now move several blocks away to a 19,000 square foot industrial space at 29 Jay Street.

The plot centers around the 60th birthday party of a family patriarch, at which a dark family secret is revealed over the course of a lavish banquet.

Throughout the celebration, the onstage cast makes a meal out of the production, according to St. Ann's, consuming "20 boiled eggs, three roasted chickens, ten different types of blue cheese, five melons, three pineapples, seven liters of tomato soup, two liters of orange juice, two liters of Fanta, a bottle of non-carbonated sparkling wine and cigarettes, among many other things, at each banquet."

Here's how the work is billed: "Festen revolves around the weekend-long gathering of a wealthy landowner’s family. His youngest son, Christian, makes a dinner speech accusing the father of molesting him and his twin sister throughout childhood. (The sister has recently committed suicide, and her ghost haunts Christian and the other relatives.) The festivities turn into a nightmare of accusations and counter-accusations. Amidst the feast's finery, lies are exposed and the guests are suspended between doubt and indignation. But it is left to the closing scene to determine whether the accusations are the product of Christian's fevered imagination or an expression of literal truth."

The cast includes Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Magdalena Kuta, Katarzyna Herman, Danuta Stenka-Grzelak, Danuta Szaflarska, Mariusz Benoit, Andrzej Chyra, Jan Dravnel, Carlos Ferreira, Wojciech Kalarus, Antonina Kalita, Aleksandra Popławska, Marek Kalita, Marek Kępiński, Redbad Klijnstra, Stanisław Sparażyński, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Henryk Jan Peszek, Cezary Kosinski and Konstanty Kosinski.

Festen has lighting by Jacqueline Sobiszewski, set design by Małgorzata Szczęśniak, sound by Piotr Domiński, costumes by Elżbieta Kołtonowicz, makeup by Monika Fetela, and subtitles by Agnieszka Tuszyńska and Justyna Konczewska.

For tickets phone (718) 254-8779 or visit artsatstanns.org.

St. Ann's Warehouse is located at 38 Water Street (between Main and Dock St.) in Brooklyn, New York.