Phèdre will be produced in Stratford's 2009 season and then will move to San Francisco in early 2010. The French classic will be adapted and translated by Timberlake Wertenbaker, whose critically acclaimed translations of Hecuba and Antigone appeared previously at A.C.T. She is best known for her play Our Country's Good (1988), based on the novel "The Playmaker" by Thomas Keneally.
Seana McKenna, a 17-year member of Stratford's acting company, will star in the title role. This world premiere translation was commissioned by A.C.T. and developed in a workshop production last year at Stratford.
"We are thrilled to be producing Racine for the first time in A.C.T.'s history," stated Perloff. "Timberlake's extraordinary and fresh translation of Phèdre pays homage to the gorgeous poetry of the original while sustaining this play's explosive heat and visceral sexuality. I have admired Stratford's work for many years and am excited to work at the theatre, where Heather Kitchen, my partner at A.C.T., started her career."
"Stratford and ACT have an amazing synergy: both are actor-driven theatres deeply rooted in the classics," added Perloff. "I am amazed at the muscularity of Stratford's acting company, who perform major classics in repertory for eight months in 2,000-seat houses. In particular, Seana McKenna is a remarkable talent, capable of keeping ACT audiences on the edge of their seats through Racine's erotic and complicated tragedy."
The A.C.T. artistic team continues to work on finalizing the full line-up for the 2009-10 season, which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic landmark American Conservatory Theater. For more information, visit stratfordshakespearefestival.com or act-sf.org.