Cutting Ball Theater opens its 14th season with Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, a festival of August Strindberg's five Chamber Plays in new translations by Paul Walsh. Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose directs Strindberg Cycle, featuring James Carpenter, Robert Parsons, Caitlyn Louchard, Danielle O'Hare, Carl Holvick-Thomas, David Sinaiko, Ponder Goddard, Paul Gerrior, and Gwyneth Richards, along with Anne Hallinan, Nick Trengove, Michael Moerman, and Alex Shafer.
Strindberg Cycle plays October 12 through November 18 at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. Strindberg Cycle provides audiences with an opportunity to see the Chamber Plays performed separately, as well as in a "Chamber Play Marathon" of all five shows in one day. For tickets (Regular performances $10-50; Strindberg Cycle Festival Pass $75) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 415-525-1205.
Strindberg Cycle is the final offering in Cutting Ball's year-long programming celebrating the centennial of August Strindberg's death, which honored the playwright's vast career throughout 2012 with symposiums, lectures, and staged readings of his works. Additionally, Cutting Ball is partnering with UC Berkeley, University of Wisconsin - Madison, and Harvard University on a special website for Strindberg Cycle. The company received a $20,000 grant from the NEA to build the website, which will create many avenues for unique forms of audience engagement, targeted both at theatergoers and those who may not be able to attend the live performances.
The Chamber Plays are THE GHOST SONATA, THE PELICAN, THE BLACK GLOVE, STORM, and BURNED HOUSE; this will be the first time all five of Strindberg's Chamber Plays will be performed together in repertory in any language.
THE GHOST SONATA tells the story of a strange encounter between a student and an old man and begins the morning after a terrible fire. A "ghost supper" is shared in a round room, secrets are divulged, plots are foiled, illusions are shattered, and the true haunting nature of things is revealed. The most well known of Strindberg's Chamber Plays, THE GHOST SONATA serves as the centerpiece of Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep.
Based on the myth that a pelican sheds its own blood to feed its young, THE PELICAN presents a family where the exact opposite is true. The widow Elise plots with her lover to steal her children's inheritance while they starve in their own home. When the children discover the truth, the revelation sparks a small revolution.
In THE BLACK GLOVE a lost black glove found in the entryway to a large apartment building the day before Christmas Eve mystically passes through the hands of many of its residents as it bestows a Christmas spirit.
In STORM, an elderly gentleman near the end of his life lives peacefully in a building neighbors call "the quiet house." His peace is shattered, however, when the new neighbors upstairs, the young wife and child he left many years ago, and her new husband, plan to turn their home into a private casino. Years of jealousy and resentment rise to the surface as he tries to help his former wife out of a bind and finds that the ghosts of his past still haunt him.
In BURNED HOUSE, prodigal son Arvid arrives in his hometown of Stockholm after decades of living in the United States only to find that his childhood home burned down the night before. While detectives search through the rubble for clues about the cause of the fire, Arvid sifts through the ashes to uncover the dark secrets hidden by his family and the town. As more secrets are revealed, Arvid finds the tools he needs to exact revenge on his brother for crimes committed long, long ago.
Translator Paul Walsh, director and Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose, and actor and Cutting Ball Associate Artistic Director Paige Rogers dreamt about bringing Strindberg Cycle to fruition for years, as all three are Strindberg aficionados. Melrose completed his thesis at the Yale School of Drama on Strindberg's last play The Great Highway, and directed the play, which, at the time, had only been produced once in the United States. Walsh completed his doctoral dissertation on the early plays of Strindberg at the University of Toronto on "August Strindberg and Dramatic Realism, 1872-1886." Rogers conmpleted her Princeton University senior thesis on Strindberg's Miss Julie, performing the title role in a production which she also directed.