Barker's Europeans Will Play in Rep With Therese Raquin in NYC

News   Barker's Europeans Will Play in Rep With Therese Raquin in NYC
PTP/NYC's third summer rep season at Atlantic Stage 2 in Manhattan will feature the U.S. premiere of Howard Barker's The Europeans by Howard Barker and Therese Raquin written by Neal Bell, from the novel by Emile Zola.

Formerly called Potomac Theatre Project, and known for its political edge for 20 seasons in the Washington, DC area, PTP/NYC's 2008 production of Howard Barker's Scenes From an Execution earned Jan Maxwell a 2009 Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress.

The Europeans (directed by Richard Romagnoli) and Therese Raquin (directed by Jim Petosa) will play in rep June 30-July 26. The directors are PTP's co-artistic directors, along with Cheryl Faraone.

The Europeans starts previews July 2 toward a July 7 opening; Therese Raquin starts previews May 30 toward a July 6 opening.

Howard Barker's The Europeans "takes place in war-ravaged Vienna after the Turkish invasion of the late 1600s, during which Christianity and Islam brutally collided," according to production notes. "Vienna is now a place where manners have disappeared, women sell their bodies for loaves of bread, and the blood of Turkish prisoners runs free. The Emperor craves the normality of the past, but only Starhemburg, the military commander, realizes that a new future must be forged, and sees Katrin — a young woman mutilated, raped and impregnated by the Turks — as the agent for change. Thus begins a harrowing love story. The Europeans unapologetically reveals us as primal beasts struggling to learn the love of self and finding the spirit to love each another."

Originally a novel by Emile Zola published in 1867, Therese Raquin "is a dark erotic exploration of the human subconscious, told through a series of short scenes that alternate between comic and horrific. Therese, a young half-French, half-Algerian woman, was unhappily married to her sickly first cousin by a well-intentioned but overbearing aunt. When the opportunity arises, she enters into an affair with her husband's friend, Laurent, leading to brutal and tragic consequences." The cast for The Europeans includes Megan Byrne (NYIT Award winner, No End of Blame), Antoinette LaVecchia (MTC's Kimberly Akimbo), Valerie Leonard (Broadway's An Ideal Husband), Robert Emmet Lunney (Broadway's The Graduate), Aidan Sullivan (Broadway's Medea), Bill Army, Veracity Butcher, Xian Chiang-Waren, Samantha Collier, Judith Dry, Lauren Fondren, Rishabh Kashyap, Emily Kron, Brent Langdon, Jimmy Wong and Robert Zukerman.

The cast for Therese Raquin includes Helen Jean Arthur (Broadway's A Lie of the Mind), Scott Janes (Lincoln Center's Brothers Karamazov), Lily Balsen, Michael Kessler, Willie Orbison, Peter Schmitz, Stephanie Spencer and Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki.

Set design is by Mark Evancho. The creative team includes (for Europeans) composer Peter Hamlin, sound designer Allison Rimmer, lighting designer Hallie Zieselman and costum designer Jule Emerson; and (for Therese) lighting designer Nicholas Houfek and costume designers Nikky Moody. Stage manager for Europeans is Amy Weissenstein and Therese is Lisa McGinn.

Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students/seniors and can be purchased at or at (212) 279-4200. $15 tickets are available for all previews from June 30 to July 5.

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The rep season will also include PTP/NYC's "After Dark 2009: the playground for young artists" — off-hours theatre in multiple shapes and sizes.

PTP/NYC, nominated for seven Helen Hayes Awards, "continues to redefine political theatre for the 21st century with an annual month-long repertory season. The company’s mandate is the presentation of highly theatrical and thought-provoking work of contemporary social and cultural relevance. In its 22 seasons, PTP has addressed art, pornography, AIDS, homelessness, censorship, totalitarianism, apartheid and gender wars.

PTP was founded in 1987 by the artistic team of Cheryl Faraone, Jim Petosa and Richard Romagnoli. During its 20 seasons (1987-2006) in Washington, DC, and Maryland, the company produced 75 main stage productions along with numerous new play readings, late night experimental productions and a variety of ancillary events.

PTP/NYC is affiliated with the theatre program of Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT.


According to PTP, playwright Howard Barker was born in 1946. Barker is considered one of the major writers of the modern European theatre. In the last three years, 27 of his works have been staged in six languages in 17 countries as diverse as Canada, New Zealand and Slovenia. Major works for the stage span the last three decades and include Claw, Victory, The Love of a Good Man, The Power of the Dog, Scenes from an Execution(PTP 1996, 1997), The Castle (PTP 1988), The Europeans, A Hard Heart (PTP 1994), Seven Lears, The Bite of the Night, The Possibilities (PTP 1992), Rome, Hated Nightfall, Judith, The Gaoler's Ache for the Nearly Dead, (Uncle) Vanya, He Stumbled, A House of Correction, Ursula; Fear of the Estuary and Gertrude, The Cry.

Barker describes his work with the term "Theatre of Catastrophe," in which no attempt is made to satisfy any demand for clarity or the deceptive simplicity of a single "message." In 1988, a group of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court formed The Wrestling School, a British theatre company devoted solely to producing Barker's work.

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