Performance Schedule: April 27 to May 13,
- 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.