American Conservatory Theater and Laura Pels Present Hilda in San Francisco | Playbill

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News American Conservatory Theater and Laura Pels Present Hilda in San Francisco San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and theater producer Laura Pels present the American premiere of noted French-African writer Marie Ndiaye's first play Hilda, starting Jan. 28.

A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff stages the work set to open Feb. 2 at the California company's Zeum Theater as part of A.C.T.'s new works First Look series. The run is slated through Feb. 26. English translation from the original French is by Erika Rundle.

Hilda follows the mysterious relationship that develops between an upper class housewife and the titular beautiful woman she hires as a nanny.

Ellen Karas — who played the title role in A.C.T.'s 2003 staging of The Constant Wife — plays the housewife opposite fellow A.C.T. vets Marco Barricelli (The Real Thing) and Lauren Grace (Les Liaisons Dangereuses).

The design features Donald Eastman (scenic), Nancy Schertler (lighting), David Draper (costumes) and Cliff Carruthers (sound). The production also features original music by David Lang.

French-born Ndiaye had her first novel, "Quant au riche avenir (As for the Rich Future)," published at the age of 17. She has since written seven novels including "Rosie Carpe," "Comédie classique" and a collection of short stories "Tous mes amis (All My Friends)." Her first work of drama Hilda was originally written as a radio drama that aired France's Avignon Festival in 1999. The play made its world premiere in 2002 at Pel's Théâtre de l'Atelier in Paris. The scribe's other plays include Providence and Papa doit manger. Pels is a producer, philanthropist and owner of Paris' Theatre de l'Atelier. The long term Roundabout Theatre Company board member was recently honored with the company's new Off-Broadway space which bears her name. She is also the namesake for a PEN literary award honoring lifetime dramatists and mid-career playwrights.

Tickets to Hilda at A.C.T.'s Zeum Theater in Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 4th St. (Between Howard and Folsom St.) in San Francisco, CA, are available by phone at (415) 749-2228 or online at

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