St. Ann's Warehouse Lines Up Kneehigh Theatre Company and Edinburgh Festival Hits for Upcoming Season
By Adam Hetrick
The Kneehigh Theatre, which presented Noel Coward's Brief Encounter to acclaim at St. Ann's Warehouse in 2009 prior to a celebrated Broadway run, will return to the Brooklyn company this season with a new adaptation of the Grimm brothers fairytale The Wild Bride.
The 2012-13 season will inaugurate St. Ann's new home, a 19,000-square foot industrial space at 29 Jay Street. Susan Feldman is the artistic director of St. Ann's Warehouse. In February the organization brought on Andrew D. Hamingson, formerly of the Public Theater, as the new executive director.
The season will open Nov. 8-Dec. 2 with the American premiere of Mies Julie, from South Africa's Baxter Theatre Centre. Yael Farber adapted and will direct the drama based on August Strindberg's Miss Julie. The work played to acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier this year.
Here's how it's billed: "In the smoldering kitchen of a remote estate 18 years after the end of apartheid, a single night, both brutal and tender, unfolds among a black farm laborer, his 'master's' daughter, and the woman who has raised them both. The visceral struggles of contemporary South Africa are revealed as a deadly attraction spirals out of control between John and Julie who battle over power, sexuality, mothers and the land. Haunting and violent, intimate and heartbreaking, the struggles take place among the characters and with their ancestors, laying bare questions of what restitution and freedom can really mean and what losses can and cannot ever be recovered."
The Dmitry Krymov Lab and the Moscow School of Dramatic Art will offer Opus No. 7 Jan. 9-19, 2013. The two-part production, Genealogy and Shostakovich, centers on "the legacy of oppression of Soviet Jews and artists under Stalin – by turns tender and delicate, comedic and sinister." The production promises "larger-than-life puppets, cacophonous dancing pianos, musicians who become actors, actors who become acrobats, and walls that erupt with imagery inhabit a stunning theatrical world that changes in the blink of an eye." Krymov will direct.
Cynthia Hopkins will return to St. Ann's, replete with a 15-piece chorus and band, with This Clement World Feb. 5-17, 2013. It is billed as "a fiercely creative and charismatic tribute to our rapidly changing environment, as seen through the prism of Cynthia Hopkins' deeply personal lens and wild cross-disciplinary style. This Clement World blends outlandish fiction and original avant-folk songs with Hopkins' own documentary footage from an Arctic expedition with Cape Farewell, infusing our global climate crisis with humor, poetics and urgency."
Emma Rice will direct Kneehigh's The Wild Bride, which she also adapted, running Feb. 23-March 17, 2013. Kneehigh, according to St. Ann's, is back "with a red-hot folktale, a brutal edge and a beating heart – in The Wild Bride, a father accidentally sells his daughter to the Devil. And, although our heroine cleverly escapes into an elemental wonderland where she meets a prince, there’s more to this story than happily ever after. Expect a wonderful bluegrass score, a fantastic live band, and a fiendishly clever romance for adults and brave children."
Tristan Sturrock, Kneehigh's leading man from Brief Encounter, will return to St. Ann's with his solo play Mayday Mayday, which will be performed April 16-May 5, 2013. "In the final hours of April 2004... Tristan Sturrock joined the May Day festivities in Cornwall to celebrate the coming of spring," St. Ann's states. "A buoyant father-to-be, his life changed in a moment that night… Tristan takes us through his solo tale of recovery with great wit, a few props and grand operatic flourishes. Mayday Mayday is a love letter to Tristan’s life and the people who saved it."
St. Ann's will present an off-site, immersive performance of Cora Bissett's Olivier Award-winning work Roadkill, about the horrors of human trafficking, which played to acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It will run June 4-30, 2013.
According to St. Ann's, "Roadkill begins on a bus with 25 audience members accompanying 13-year-old Mary and her 'Auntie' to Mary's new 'home,' a benign looking Brooklyn apartment. Having just arrived from Nigeria with the hopes of learning English and one day landing a good job, Mary's excited, bubbly chatter peppers the ride... Bissett's critically acclaimed, explosive Roadkill thrusts audiences into the brutal, complex, and hidden world of human trafficking (based on the real experiences of women trafficked to the west). The performances are brave and affecting, making it impossible to turn away or remain complacent."
Also planned is the 10th annual International Toy Theatre Festival, running June 14-23, 2013.
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