Performance Schedule:
April 27 to May 13, 2001
Thursday - Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theatre

"Turandot," directed by Niky and Ulla Wolcz, in a new adaptation by Sheri Wilner, translated by Nina Hein, featuring the graduating class of Columbia University's MFA Acting Program, in its First Floor Theater April 27 to May 13.

In Gozzi's 18th-century commedia dell'arte, the suitors of the beautiful Chinese Princess Turandot must part with their heads unless they find the answer to three impossible riddles. All the suitors fail and many heads decorate the wall surrounding the palace, until one day a handsome, indomitable young prince comes along to challenge the man-hating princess. The play guarantees an evening full of love, hate, and intrigues: romantic heroes fight for beautiful princesses, wicked servants trick loyal ones and commedia dell'arte characters, such as Arlechino, Pantalone, and Capitano, delight with their lazzi.

Co-director Niky Wolcz staged "The Temptation of St. Anthony" at La MaMa in 1987 and a double-bill of Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano" and "The Lesson" there in 1998. In 1997, he co-directed with Andrei Serban the La MaMa production of Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle." Wolcz is an actor, director, and teacher who was born in Romania and attended The Theatre and Film Academy in Bucharest. Plays he has directed include "La Dispute," "The Birds," "Scapin," "L'Adoration," "Turandot," "The Shadow," "Cyrano de Bergerac," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Macbeth," "The Temptations of St. Antony" and "The Lesson." He has also worked in Germany and Switzerland and is an active opera director in Europe. He has taught acting in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Bern, Limoges, and Bucharest and directs workshops covering a wide variety of topics including commedia dell'arte, Artaud, biomechanics, allegorical theatre and Dada theatre. Currently he is Associate Professor of Acting at Columbia University.

Co-director Ulla Wolcz attended the Theater Academy in Bucharest and has acted in Frankfurt, Essen, Berlin, Stuttgart, Bochum, and Berna. Her important roles include Rosalinde, Lady Macbeth, Luisa, Anja, Nina and works from Shakespeare, Chekov, Brecht, Gozzi, Goldoni, Lorca, Buchner, Calderon, and Gorki, as well as parts in German television and film. Her theater festivals include Holland, Venice, Paris, and Verbier. She previously taught acting at the Musik-Hochschule in Frankfurt and at Columbia University in New York.

Translator Nina Hein, a German native, has come to New York to receive her Ph.D in Theatre at Columbia University. She also works as a dramaturg, translator, and theatre critic. Her recent dramaturgy credits in New York include "Tales from the Vienna Woods" (directed by Avra Sidiropoulou at the Horace Mann Theater, December 1999) and "Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" (directed by Ian Belton at the Henry Miller Theater, November 2000). She has translated for film and theatre and is currently working on a translation of "Kafka Circus" by Belgian playwright Paul Emond for a production in Dresden, Germany.

Sheri Wilner (adaptation) received her M.F.A. in Playwriting from Columbia in 1999. Her play "Hunger" was presented at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, after readings at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Women's Project and Productions, the Cherry Lane Theatre Alternative, Rattlestick Productions, New Dramatists and Ensemble Studio Theater. Her play "Labor Day" was a co-recipient of the 1999 Heideman Award granted by the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, which produced the play during the 1999 Humana Festival. She was Assistant Director/Dramaturg to Andrei Serban for "Hamlet (NYSF), "The Taming of the Shrew" (American Repertory Theatre and La MaMa) and Cymbeline (NYSF).

The story of Turandot is based on different versions of the fable; most of the text, though, is from Carlo Gozzi. Nina Hein's translation is based on different texts that were put together by Niky Wolcz, co-director of the piece. The English version was adapted by Sheri Wilner. The playscript reflects this close collaboration of director, translator, and playwright. Gozzi's "Turandot" has been specially altered for this production, as, for example, new characters were introduced. The basic story, however, remains the same.
The actors are Efsun Alper, Peter S. Case, Cornel Gabara, Raluca Georgiana, Marietta Hedges, Mari Howells, Nathan Johnson, Darnel Jones, Alicia Kahn, Amy Kristina, Rachel Lu, Marybeth McNamara, Jenn Perkins, Aimée Phelan, Todd Michael Ross, Ilanit Shapiro and Andrew Welsh.

Set and costume design is by Oana Botez Ban and Oana Babetti. Lighting design is by Abigail Kinney. Mask design is by Annemarie Mühlemann. Sound design is by Tim Schellenbaum.
2001 page