August Strindberg Rep Presents English Language Debuts Of Mystery Plays By Stig Dalager (Sweden) And Stig Dagerman (Denmark)

August Strindberg Rep Presents English Language Debuts Of Mystery Plays By Stig Dalager (Sweden) And Stig Dagerman (Denmark)

March 4 to April 1, 2017

Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (between Bowery and Lafayette, East Village)
Presented by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre in association with Theater Resources Unlimited.
Tickets $20 general admission; seniors and students $15. Student groups $10.
Box office: SMARTTIX, 212-868-4444; www.smarttix.com

Company’s website: www.strindbergrep.com

“Journey in Light and Shadow” by Stig Dalager — 3/4 @ 8:00, 3/5 @ 4:00, 3/9 @ 8:00, 3/11 @ 2:00, 3/12 @ 4:00, 3/15 @ 8:00, 3/17 @ 8:00, 3/18 @ 8:00, 3/19 @ 4:00, 3/23 @ 8:00, 3/25 @ 2:00, 3/26 @ 4:00, 3/29 @ 8:00, 3/31 @ 8:00, 4/1 @ 8:00. Running time 90 min. plus intermission. Critics invited on or after March 11
“Marty’s Shadow” by Stig Dagerman — 3/4 @ 2:00, 3/5 @ 1:00, 3/8 @ 8:00, 3/10 @ 8:00, 3/11 @ 8:00, 3/12 @ 1:00, 3/16 @ 8:00, 3/18 @ 2:00, 3/19 @ 1:00, 3/22 @ 8:00, 3/24 @ 8:00, 3/25 @ 8:00, 3/26 @ 1:00, 3/30 @ 8:00, 4/1 @ 2:00. Running time 2.5 hrs plus intermission. Critics invited on or after March 10.
Lauren Smith (L) and Carol Carter (R) play the parts of actresses rehearsing mother and daughter roles in Journey in Light and Shadow by Stig Dalager. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

NEW YORK — From March 4 to April 1, August Strindberg Rep will present two mystery plays by modern Scandinavian playwrights in repertory: Marty’s Shadow” by Stig Dagerman (Sweden) and “Journey in Light and Shadow” by Stig Dalager (Denmark).

Stig Dagerman, the acclaimed Swedish playwright, poet, novelist and journalist, was on assignment in Paris following the liberation and fall of the Third Reich. His play, “Marty’s Shadow,” is a Hitchcockian tale of a scarred family of the French resistance and is inspired by the real life story of Austrian Jewish refugee, Etta Federn. It is translated by Nancy Pick with Lo Dagerman and directed by Whitney Gail Aronson.

“Journey in Light and Shadow” by Danish dramatist Stig Dalager is a play-within-a-play for three actors. Are they rehearsing, are they performing or are they not actors at all? Is it the present, the past, or in the future? The piece is something of an examination of playwriting process, with echoes of Strindberg and Pirandello. It is adapted by Natalie Menna from the Danish translation by Robert Greer and directed by Mr. Greer.

All performances will be at Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, where August Strindberg Rep is a resident company.

THE AUTHORS

Stig Dagerman (1923-1954) was one of the most prominent Swedish authors writing in the aftermath of WWII, but his existential texts transcend time and place and continue to be widely published in Sweden and abroad. Between 1945 and 1949, he enjoyed phenomenal success with four novels, a collection of short stories, a book about postwar Germany, five plays, hundreds of poems and satirical verses, several essays of note and a large amount of journalism. He committed suicide in 1954, apparently from depression. Dagerman’s works deal with universal problems of morality and conscience, of sexuality and social philosophy, of love, compassion and justice. Critics have compared him to Kafka, Faulkner and Camus. Many see him as the main representative of a group of Swedish writers called “Fyrtiotalisterna” (“the writers of the 1940s”) who channeled existentialist feelings of fear, alienation and meaninglessness common in the wake of the horrors of World War II and the looming Cold War. He was husband of Anita Björk, who played Miss Julie in the film version that won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at Cannes in 1951. “Marty’s Shadow” (1948) has been produced in 16 languages but never before in English.

Stig Dalager (b. 1952) is a Danish writer. He is the author of 54 literary works of all kinds, mostly novels and plays, of which several have been translated or staged internationally. His works include “I Count the Hours,” a monologue for a woman in Sarajevo (1993) staged in 12 countries; “The Dream,” which premiered in New York City 1999 starring Ingmar Bergman actress Bibi Andersson and was since staged in Moscow and Lódz, “Two Days in July,” a 2004 novel about the German officers’ rebellion against the Nazi regime on July 20, 1944, “Journey in Blue,” a biographical novel about Hans Christian Andersen that was published in 15 countries and languages and nominated for the IMPAC Award 2008, “The Labyrinth,” a 2006 novel set in Vienna 1993-1994, “Land of Shadows,” a 2007 novel situated in New York on 9/11 in the World Trade Center and “Slowly Comes the Light,” a 2009 novel, set in Baghdad, New York and London 2004-2005. His most recent novels include “The Blue Light” (2012) about Marie Curie, “Eternity of the Moment” (2013) about Søren Kierkegaard and “Journey without End” (2015) about Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. His works have been published and staged in 26 countries, including Great Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia, China and Japan. (Wikipedia)

THE PLAYS IN DEPTH
“Marty’s Shadow” by Stig Dagerman is a Hitchcockian thriller set in Paris after the Second World War.  A wealthy widow is consumed with grief for her beloved elder son, Marty (a slain war hero of the French Resistance), and resentment for her living son, Gabriel (a coward who did not fight).  Gabriel desperately wishes to win his mother’s respect and the love of the girl Marty left behind.  So, when his mother brings a handsome decorated war hero into their home, the family is thrown into conflict, which culminates in the play’s shocking denouement. Playwright Stig Dagerman had been sent on a commission to post-war Paris to write a book, but after meeting Etta Federn, an Austrian Jewish refugee, who made a living translating with her younger son, and whose elder son died fighting in the Resistance, Dagerman wrote this play instead. The actors are Ivette Dumeng, Jackie Maruschak, James McKinney and Jimi Stanton.

“Journey in Light and Shadow” by Stig Dalager is a mysterious play in three acts that ultimately explores the playwriting process. The audience is lured into what appears to be a performance that proves to be a rehearsal. There are an older actress, a younger actress and a playwright/director who takes all the male roles. The first act introduces issues of coldness and abandonment between the young actress and her mother. In the second, the World War II overshadows their interaction as it is revealed that the younger actress’s father, a POW, had been driven to suicide by pressures dating back to the war. In the third, the scene shifts to their dystopic future which resolves into a bisexual biracial present bringing full circle the tensions of the preceeding acts. While each act, particularly the first, would stand alone as a play; in each case Dalager snaps us into a Pirandellian dimension, revealing the pressures of the three individuals who are shaping the plays. The result is a Twilight Zone-like experience where the audience is challenged to guess what is real, what is a play, and whether the characters’ scars could ever be healed.

Director/translator Robert Greer has worked with Stig Dalager since 1995, having translated his “Family Night” (2003) and “Faces” (2003). This production is not only the English-language premiere of “Journey in Light and Shadow” and the first time it will be staged with a mixed-race cast. The actors are an all-Black cast of Carol Carter, Fergus Sully and Lauren Smith. Mr. Greer’s translation of the play has been adapted for this production by Natalie Menna (www.nataliemenna.com), who is an actress and author of seven plays to-date. She won Outstanding Overall Production of a Play and Best Actor for her full-length drama, “Committed,” at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2015.

Whitney Gail Aronson, director of “Marty’s Shadow,” is Associate Artistic Director of August Strindberg Rep, where she has has staged five of Strindberg’s plays: “Crimes and Crimes,” “Burnt House,” “Dance of Death,” a stage reading of “Gustav Adolf,” and “Kristina” (1903), the history play upon which the Garbo film “Queen Christina” was based. She holds an MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama.

Robert Greer, director/translator of “Journey in Light and Shadow,” is founding director of August Strindberg Rep, for which he has directed nine Strindberg plays to-date. He has staged English-language premières of numerous contemporary Scandinavian playwrights, including Sweden’s Marianne Goldman, Helena Sigander, Cecilia Sidenbladh, Oravsky and Larsen, Hans Hederberg, Margareta Garpe and Kristina Lugn; Denmark’s Stig Dalager and Norway’s Edvard Rønning. He has also directed classics by Victoria Benedictsson, Laura Kieler, Anne Charlotte Leffler and Amalie Skram. His productions have been presented at the Strindberg Museum and Strindberg Festival, Stockholm; Edinburgh and NY Fringe Festivals, Barnard College, Columbia University, Rutgers, UCLA; Miranda, Pulse and Theater Row Theaters, La MaMa, Manhattan Theatre Source, Tribeca Lab, Synchronicity, TSI, BargeMusic; and The Duplex in LA. He has also directed plays by Mario Fratti, Sartre and Corneille here in New York. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors’ Equity; the Strindberg Society, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and Swedish Translators in North America.

Natalie Menna (adaptation, “Journey in Light and Shadow”) was nominated for Outstanding Writer for her full-length comedy “ZEN A.M.” in Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2014. Her solo show “ROBERTA!” was featured in United Solo Theatre Festival, Theatre Row, in November 2014. Select previous awards include The Nettie Award for Best Solo Show for her play “i-POD” in the Network One-Act Festival, and Best Actress for “i-POD” in The Midtown International Theatre Festival.

Both plays have set design by Jen Price-Fick, lighting design by Jason Fok, costume design by Jessa-Raye Court and sound design by Andy Evan Cohen.  They are produced by Jessa-Raye Court. Nancy Pick is executive producer of “Marty’s Shadow.”