The Martin Magner-directed, West Coast premiere of Thomas Hurlimann's The Envoy closes May 22 at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center's Marilyn Monroe Theatre. Magner, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award-winner, is 99 years old. Performances began April 16.
Magner started his acting and directing career at a young age in Europe. In Germany in 1932. George Bernard Shaw watched him direct a rehearsal of Too True to be Good and complimented him with a twist on his famous line, "Well, I see youth is not always wasted on the young!"
Magner fled Europe for America in 1939 and went on to an illustrious career in radio, theatre and television. He "retired" to California in 1965 and three years later founded New Theatre, Inc., with Hope Summers.
As for The Envoy, Swiss playwright Hurlimann's drama follows a Swiss official home from Berlin after World War II. His assignment had been to do everything he could to keep war away from Switzerland, a goal he accomplished by collaborating with the Nazis. Now he returns, having done his duty but hated by his own people.
Last year, he directed Play Strindberg (without tears...) at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre. The cast features Curt Lowens (Colonel Zwygart), Josh Welsh (Envoy Zwygart), Erinn Strain (Regine Zwygart) and Rick Lawless (Hoby).
Designing The Envoy are Robert Prior (set), Kathy Wahn (costumes) and Kevin MacDaniel (sound). Barbara Jansen is the stage manager.
Tickets are $15 and available by calling Tickets LA at (323) 660-8587. The Lee Strasberg Creative Center is located at 7936 Santa Monica Blvd.