First Floor Theatre
May 18 - June 4, 2006
Thursday - Saturday 8:00pm
Sunday 2:30pm & 8:00pm
Tickets $18
Written by Mario Fratti
Directed by Pamela Billig
Set by Eugene Brogyányi
Costumes by Debra Stein

Box office 212.475.7710

Read Martin Denton's review from!!

"Sister" by Mario Fratti depicts the strains of an Italian family in which a teenage son, wise beyond his years, lives uneasily with his 59 year-old mother and his thirty-something sister. The boy is blessed with a professorial vocabulary and cursed with a judgmental mind. He resents his sister's desperate relationships with men, accuses her of promiscuity and responds self-righteously to his mother's queries about his own relations with women. The play starts off like an indictment of male machismo and double-standards with a Strindbergian touch. Then, in typical Fratti style, the play turns on its heel. Shocking, mysterious secrets are revealed. The boy's arrogance gives way to humility and greater understanding.

Fratti's gift is to expose the secret agendas that drive people to dishonesty and betrayal. In the foreword to the published edition (Guernica), Nina Da Vinci Nichols writes, "The curtain goes up on an action already begun and falls before the audience has quite caught its breath--Fratti's trademark is the final knockout punch. Its after-shock lingers until after the spectator has left the theater. Expectations have been reversed, those of the protagonist and of the audience as well." This play, originally written in 1994, typifies the spare but powerful style of Fratti's drama-mysteries. Director Pamela Billig will set the production in Milan in the early '60s, when the boy's opinions would seem typical, in order to make the trap complete. When Fratti is done, all expectations will be dashed and no character will be as she or he originally seemed.

Pamela Billig is an old hand with Fratti's plays. She directed stage and film versions of his "Toys" and "Our Family" twenty years ago. Since then, she has been Artistic Director of the Threshold Theatre Company, which she co-founded with Eugene Brogyányi. The company is dedicated to presenting international drama hitherto never or rarely available to American readers and audiences. Its credits include the English-language premiere of Diderot's "Est-il bon? Est-il méchant?," a three-city tour of Hungary with Géza Páskándi's "No Conductor," and four seasons of the OBIE Award winning Caught in the Act Festival of modern international one-act plays at HERE, featuring works translated from more than a dozen languages.

The actors have all acted in Billig's productions before. Eleanor Ruth plays the Mother, Brian Voelcker plays the Son and Shân Willis plays the Daughter.

Mario Fratti is a playwright and drama critic who was born in Italy (L'Aquilla) but has lived in New York since 1963. His plays characteristically take on realistic subjects with a touch of Latin irony. His remarkable body of work (over 80 plays) includes such noteworthy plays as "The Cage," "The Victim," "Suicide," "Return," "Che Guevara," "Eleonora Duse, "Seducers" and "Refrigerators." His previous La MaMa productions include "Refrigerators," "Madame Senator," "Passionate Women" and "Erotic Adventures in Venice." Fratti's plays have been published and performed in 19 languages in over 600 theaters. Broadway audiences know him as author of the adaptation of Fellini's film "8½" that became "Nine," a now-legendary Broadway musical that won the O'Neill Selection Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Leone di San Marco Literary Award, the Heritage and Cultural Award, eight Drama Desk Awards and seven Tony Awards. For more information see:

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