In the upcoming Classic Stage Company double-bill in repertory, Conor McPerson and Yaël Farber rework two Strindberg pieces, Dance of Death and Miss Julie. This Strindberg celebration runs from January 15th through March 10th at the CSC’s theatre on East 13th Street.
Farber’s Mies Julie resets the play to the Karoo of South Africa, adding a new dimension to the social conflicts in the original. Mies Julie is directed by Shariffa Ali who brings enlightened and empassioned humanitarian activism into the play’s broader themes.
Victoria Clark is helming the production of McPherson’s interpretation of Dance of Death. You surely know her as a Broadway musical star, who won a Tony for her lead in The Light In the Piazza, and was a nominee for four of her other outings. Lately, Ms. Clark has been directing musicals and operas around the country. She brings her sense of the lyricism in words to Strindberg’s brutal vision of a marriage in decline.
** (Strindberg’s Miss Julie, for instance, was last seen at the Roundabout in 2007 with Jonny Miller and Sienna Miller, although an off-Broadway production of his lesser-known The Pelican was produced in 2016.)
Angst, Scandanavian-style, made popular by Ingmar Bergman in our youth, and gently mocked by Woody Allen, is back in Jon Fosse’s “A Summer Day.”
“A Summer Day,” at the Cherry Lane Theatre, through November 25th,is getting its first-time premiere in New York City in this affectionate production by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
“A Summer Day,” takes anxiety and sadness to the brink. By an informal count, the words “anxious” and “sad” were celebrated more than a dozen times in the text of Jon Fosse’s play in director Sarah Cameron Sunde’s translation.
Melancholia, bolstered by boredom, looks to be a Norwegian pasttime, seconded only by going out onto rough waters.
Asle (McCaleb Burnett) likes it out there in his little boat. His wife (Karen Allen as Older Woman, and Samantha Soule as Younger Woman) finds it scary. As the play opens, the Older Woman stands at the window looking out at the pier. Her Older Friend (Pamela Shaw), visiting on this bright summer day, much as she had on a much gloomier day years ago (Younger Friend, played by Maren Bush) when Asle went off to the water’s edge. Never to return.
Abandoned in her lovely house, the Older Woman lives a desolate life reminiscing about that day and watching the bay.
Much of the tension in “A Summer Day” comes from waiting for the other shoe to drop.It never does. As Karen Allen’s character narrates the story, we bait our breath for something unexpected to happen.
A long, somewhat tedious, yet oddly engrossing tone-poem of mourning and loss, “A Summer Day” is lovingly executed.
For more information about “A Summer Day,” and a schedule of performance, please visit www.rattlestick.org.