HELL MEETS HENRY HALFWAY
based on "The Possessed"
by Witold Gombrowicz
Thursday, September 23, 2004 - Saturday, September 25, 2004, 8:00 PM
Matthews Acting Studio of Princeton University
185 Nassau St., Princeton, NJ
Tickets: $15 General Admission $10 Students and Seniors, Tel: 609.258.1742
With the Pig Iron Theatre Company's newest work, Hell Meets Henry Halfway, commissioned by the Gombrowicz Centennial Festival in Lublin, Poland, 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 (a.k.a. The Enchanted, and written under a pseudonym), 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),
Following the world premiere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the production will tour 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.
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