[A]bsolutely remarkable and memorable! ... When I first read the script, I
thought that it would be impossible to have all of that in one play. It was as
if I had gone to a party, and had been offered an entire pot of gourmet food
that I had to finish. But ... with every new bite I felt even hungrier ... The
directing, the acting, the music and choreography were endowed with a
complex simplicity or simple complexity! It was all very inspiring and
enlightening. It felt as if the actors revealed Rumi's stories, lifting the veils
one after another.
--Lida Saeedian, author,
co-translator of The Portable Rumi
Cast of Rumi's MATHNAVI: Jai Khalsa, Lee Ordeman, Elizabeth
Jernigan, Jamahl Rahmaan, Brandon Welch, Nick Scott, Bette
Cassat, Kim Curtis: "The Pear Tree of Illusion". The Hartke
Theatre, Washington DC 2005 tour
"The Bedouin and his Wife" Nick Scott and Elizabeth Jernigan. In
background above, Bette Cassatt as "The Seeker."
OPEN THEATRE/DC 2005
Theatre for Peace Tour, East Coast
Photos by Page Carr
|StrinDberg's A DREAM PLAY:
Open Theatre at Takoma Theatre
Washington DC 20003
[A] striking lead performance by Tricia McCauley and
sumptuous costumes courtesy of Evgenia Salazar ...
WASHINGTON CITY PAPER
Sanskrit drama meets Swedish expressionism in scholar-director
Joe Martin's latest experiments with Open Theatre. And while
the pairing might appear unlikely to the casual theatregoer, Martin
suggests it is very much in keeping with the origins of August
Strindberg's revolutionary late career opus, "A Dream Play."
"This strange play emerged in 1901, and it's one of Strindberg's
plays that gave birth to expressionism," Martin explains. "I was
interested in where it came from, so when I did my book of
Strindberg translations in Sweden, I was investigating more the
later period of his life."
Martin continues: "It has to do with his spiritual crisis--well, it
was a psychological crisis, actually--that led to a period of
searching, of a Christian mysticism. And then he began reading a
lot of Eastern philosophy."
As its title suggests, "A Dream Play" doesn't play by the usual
rules of European narrative, favoring the improbable tumble of
scenes and images associated with the drem world. The story,
such as it is, follows the daughter of the uber-deity Indra as she
descends to Earth to uncover the roots of Man's unhappiness.In
the text, the Daughter--a Strindberg creation who does not exist in
Indian mythology--travelsthrough a decidedly European world.
But Martin wanted to try something different....
To assist him in this blending of East and West, Martin turned to
Christel Stevens, and teacher of Indian dance...The pair mounted
a a summer workshop ... at Catholic University as a means of
recruiting and training the actors who would make up the
"Dream" cast. "I gave them all dance lessons," says Stevens, "I
taught them the hand movements--how to tell stories with their
hands in the Indian style."The resulting production is a hybrid of
Eastern and Western theatrical conventions
THE WASHINGTON POST
Director Joe Martin has taken a very Swedish script and
embellished it with all the touches of Indian theatrical
traditions that so fascinated Strindberg at the time he wrote
it. This play and the others of that period in Strindberg's
life, To Damascus and The Dance of Death are seen as the
birth of expressionism in the theatre and Martin has
emphasized that very quality. Don't look for anything like
Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler which premiered only ten
years earlier. Then Northern European theatre was
dominated by plot and psychology. Here, just a decade
later, Strindberg was taking it into philosophy, replacing
plotting with rumination and realism with expressionism.
Martin emphasizes the change as he sets up impressionistic
stage pictures at a leisurely pace.
Martin's cast is directed to use a highly stylized
performance technique with formal, almost silted gestures
for nearly every line of dialogue ("Look out there" is
accompanied by an arcing gesture of the arm, "I'm
suprised" by a crossing of the arms on the chest) that is at
times hypnotic....Tricia McCauley, as the daughter of the
god whose journey is at the center of the piece takes a
more subtle approach to the mannerisms, which works well
because she is on stage practically the entire three hours...
by sam shepard
Merrick Barn Theatre
Johns Hopkins University, BaLtimore 2009
Mike Wills and MacKenzie Astin in
The cast of Simpatico, Merrick Barn
Under Martin's direction, the entire cast performs
admirably both as individuals and as an ensemble.
Martin clearly knows his actors and his stage, with
both being used to their full potentials. The director
uses the entire space in any given scene, adding
vigor and dynamism to Shepard's heavy, complex
plot. Rosinsky, as the always bewildered Cecilia,
captures the character's naive worldview in a way
that is humorous rather than grating, and Gordon's
boozey, debauched Rosie successfully drives the
audience nuts (as the character is intended to do)
with her flighty and flirty attitude.
In one notable moment,Vinnie (Mike Wills) stands
on his bed and jumps down to the floor, and Wills
barely makes a sound upon impact (he must have
But the true stand-out performances in Simpatico
come from Morse and Astin. Perhaps representing
the conscience of the play as a whole, Astin's Simms
is an insightful yet hilarious character. Astin gives
an understated performance, delivering some of
Shepard's best lines, and at the same time, garnered
the most uproarious laughter...
In the harrowing final scene, Carter has fallen ill,
and Morse spends the entire 15 or so minutes
shaking violently, while still delivering his dialogue
expertly... The production is surely one not to
--The Newsletter, Arts & Entertainment
Director Joe Martin, says he selected this play for the way it "captures something terribly wrong and even perverse, in the logic
behind the way business has been done in America, and how these market relations infect relations between people." ... The
Johns Hopkins University Theatre is celebrating its fourth full season in the Merrick Barn under the direction of actor and
alumnus John Astin. Thecast includes Astin's son, Mackenzie Astin a televison and film actor; Scott Morse, Laura Gordon,
Mike Wills, Hannah Carney, and Lisa Rosinsky.
THE JOHNS HOPKINS GAZETTE
|Joe Martin, selected productions, continued ...
|Sample this translation and a summary of Strindberg's
revolutionary classic here at productionscripts.com (UK).
Includes 90% of this new translation funded by the
Strindberg Society and the Swedish Institute in acting