In a small town in the middle of the United States, life is constricted by the ancient founding myths of humanity, ever repeated. On an empty stage as vast as the big sky of the Midwest, apparently ordinary people play out episodes of their daily lives. They do not speak, but they sing with the disarming sincerity of the guileless. Then something mysterious slowly unfolds, for under the surface of daily life lies the violence of American history and the still festering wounds of the great heroes of antiquity – Gilgamesh, Ulysses, Aeneas – whose terrible struggles we unconsciously repeat. Ten years after the success of House, Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players are back at the FTA with their fascinating theatre without artifice to let us know that destiny still exists, that man belongs to time as the gods to eternity.
The Discreet Renegade
The playwright and director Richard Maxwell, one of the most remarkable artists in the contemporary theatre, undermines from within the conventions of American theatrical realism in order to create a theatre of the real. Born in 1967 in Fargo, North Dakota he studied acting at Illinois State University before undertaking an Artistic Fellowship with the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, where he was a co-founder of the Cook County Theater Department. He founded the New York City Players in 1999, leading the company to become one of the few in the United States to rethink the very foundations of the actor’s work.
NEW YORK CITY PLAYERS – Before Fiction, Reality
The New York City Players – a company that includes both untrained and professional actors – has staged since 1999 some twenty works by Richard Maxwell, including House (presented at the FTA in 2001), Drummer Wanted (2002), Good Samaritans (2004), The End of Reality (2006), Ode to Man Who Kneels (2007), and People Without History (2009). While favouring the narrative form, the company bases its work on the concrete reality of the actor onstage – an unpredictable and ever-changing reality – in an approach that puts into perspective yet also magnifies the fictitious universe played out onstage.
“One of the few uncompromisingly original new voices in American theater…”
New York Times, 2009
“Mr. Maxwell, a downtown writer and director with a distinctive deadpan aesthetic, has been tinkering with the standard theatrical recipe throughout his career, creating plays that do not try to simulate “reality” by employing the usual naturalistic methods.”
New York Times, 2010
“Maxwell has carved out a unique place for himself in experimental theater, where he is known for paring down language and gesture so rigorously that his actors hardly seem to be acting and his plays barely barely qualify as theater.”
Art in America, 2010 (about Ads)
“Mr. Maxwell, one of the few truly original experimental theater auteurs to emerge in New York during the past decade, has the invaluable gift of making you listen with his ears.”
New York Times, 2007 (about Ode to the Man Who Kneels)
“Mr. Maxwell’s abiding fascination with the poetry in speech that has not been manicured into smooth stage dialogue, and his conviction that exploring truths about experience in art often benefits from a level of artlessmess. What is novel-and perhaps provocative- is the notion that theatre can take place without the direct participation of live people. ”
Charles Isherwood, New York Times, 2010
PRODUCED BY NEW YORK CITY PLAYERS
WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND COMPOSED BY RICHARD MAXWELL WITH LAKPA BHUTIA + JANET COLEMAN + KEITH CONNOLLY + ALEX DELINOIS + BOB FELDMAN + JEAN ANN GARRISH + ROSIE GOLDENSOHN + PAIGE MARTIN + JAMES MOORE + PHILIP MOORE + ANDIE SPRINGER + ANDREW WEISELL SET AND LIGHT DESIGN SASCHA VAN RIEL COSTUME DESIGN KAYE VOYCE DRAMATURGY TOM KING
PRODUCTION KUNSTENFESTIVALDESARTS (BRUXELLES) COPRODUCTION FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES + WIENER FESTWOCHEN + FESTIVAL D’AUTOMNE (PARIS) + LES SPECTACLES VIVANTS - CENTRE POMPIDOU (PARIS) + KAMPNAGEL (HAMBOURG) + HEBBEL AM UFER/HAU (BERLIN) + THÉÂTRE DE L’AGORA + SCÈNE NATIONALE D’EVRY ET DE L’ESSONNE + DE INTERNATIONALE KEUZE VAN DE ROTTERDAMSE SCHOUWBURG + LA BÂTIE - FESTIVAL DE GENÈVE + THÉÂTRE GARONNE (TOULOUSE) SUPPORTED BY THE GREENWALL FOUNDATION
PREMIERED AT KUNSTENFESTIVALDESARTS, BRUXELLES, MAY 2011
WRITTEN BY PAUL LEFEBVRE TRANSLATED BY NEIL KROETSCH
Under 30 and over 65: $32
Up to 40% off with a discount package
3 or more shows
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES