with the generous support of
the Polish Cultural Institute presents
Pig Iron Theatre
HELL MEETS HENRY HALFWAY
based on The Possessed
by Witold Gombrowicz
directed by Dan Rothenberg
Monday, February 2, 2009 - Sunday, March 1, 2009
Wed.-Sat. at 8:00 PM, Sun. at 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Dissidents and Subversives: from Gombrowicz to Hell Meets Henry Halfway
The discussion will be followed by a sneak peak at tech rehearsal for the show!
Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 2:00 PM
Free RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D Street NW, Washington, DC
Tickets: $26-$60, Tel: 202.393.3939 or at the box office
Pig Iron Theatre Company's Hell Meets Henry Halfway won a Village Voice Special Citation OBIE in 2005, after appearing in New York in the Polish Cultural Institute's 2004 Gombrowicz Autumn Festival. In this extraordinary work, Philadelphia's favorite dance-clown-theater ensemble turns a sharp eye toward Eastern Europe - specifically to the writing of Witold Gombrowicz, Polish absurdist and bad-boy of the literary establishment. Gombrowicz's serial gothic thriller, The Possessed, or The Secret of Myslotch: A Gothic Novel is a tale of horror that features a haunted castle, a mad prince, and an otherworldly attraction between a tennis player and her coach.
For this collaboration, Pig Iron, renowned for its spare, unorthodox texts and physical approach to character, joined forces with playwright and rising star Adriano Shaplin, the founder of the Berkeley-based Riot Group (Winner of 3 Fringe Firsts at the Edinburgh Fringe). The Riot Group's work is marked by emotional intensity and hyper-verbal energy, usually performed by stationary actors; "We see the same problems in theater," says director Dan Rothenberg, "but have radically different solutions." The result of Shaplin and Pig Iron's encounter is Hell Meets Henry Halfway, a deluge of words, a heady cocktail of florid insults and absurd cruelties dressed in tennis whites. The verbal fireworks are reminiscent of Joe Orton and David Mamet. Shaplin is a literary phenomenon in the United Kingdom, where he is considered one of the finest playwrights of his generation ("magnificent poetic quality and raging intelligence" - The Scotsman, and "destined to leave a lasting imprint on 21st century theatre" - Scotland on Sunday)
On January 31, Dissidents and Subversives: From Gombrowicz to Hell Meets Henry Halfway, a panel discussion will take place followed by a sneak peak at tech rehearsal for the show. Playwright Adriano Shaplin, Theater magazine Editor and Professor in the Yale School of Drama Tom Sellar, and Krystyna Illakowicz of Yale University's Department of Slavic Languages, together with moderator Allen Kuharski (Chair of the Department of Theater at Swarthmore College and dramaturg of Hell Meets Henry Halfway) will discuss Gombrowicz's work and Pig Iron's translation of his subversive bit of absurdism to the stage.
Hell Meets Henry Halfway was originally commissioned by the Gombrowicz Centennial Festival in Lublin, Poland. Following the world premiere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the production toured to Princeton University; to the Kaunas Dance Festival in Lithuania; the Gombrowicz Centennial in Lublin, Poland; the Teatr Rozmaitosci in Warsaw, and the Ohio Theater in downtown NYC as part of the Polish Cultural Institute's Gombrowicz Autumn Festival in 2004.
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