The producers and cast of August Strindberg Rep invite you to share the Off-Broadway opening of their production of Strindberg's "Playing With Fire" tonight, June 21 at 8:00 PM in Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (East Village). The performance will be followed by a reception in the theater space.
The production, which debuted Off-off Broadway May 18 to June 10 at the New School for Drama, 151 Bank Street , is becoming the very first Off-Broaday production at Gene Frankel Theatre, where August Strindberg Rep is becoming the first resident company.
The play, one of Strindberg's rare comedies, is being performed with an all-black cast. It is translated by Ulrika Brand and newly adapted by Obie-winner Leslie Lee, Executive Director of Negro Ensemble Company. Directed by Robert Greer, the production is co-presented by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre and Negro Ensemble Company in association with Theater Resources Unlimited.
The 90-minute performance will be followed by a post-show reception in the presence of David E. R. Dangoor, Honorary Consul General of Sweden, and Niklas Arnegren, Director of Cultural Affairs at the Swedish Consulate in New York.
"Playing With Fire" (Leka med elden, 1893), was written after the playwright found himself involved in a love triangle within a love triangle within a love triangle. Leslie Lee has transformed its setting from a Swedish summer house in 1893 to a summer cottage of the black social elite in Oak Ridge, a neighborhood of Martha's Vineyard, in 1926. That is around the time Oak Bluffs beach first became a mecca for the black upper crust from around the country.
In the play, a writer named Axel (modeled on Strindberg himself) visits his best friends, Kerstin and Knut, at their summer house. Knut is a painter who doesn't paint and Kerstin is a writer who doesn't write. They live with and live off his parents. His father is a wealthy retired businessman with a checkered past. Also present is their younger cousin, Adele, a poor relation treated more like a servant than a family member. Knut is having an affair with Adele but his father has his own plans for her. Both she and Kerstin have their sights set on Axel, who makes his getaway in the nick of time. Says Leslie Lee, "Each of them reacts according to their own quirky personalities. They are all playing with fire. They endanger their personal relationships and the integrity of their community."
The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre (http://www.strindberg.org/) was founded in honor of Sweden's great playwright and is committed to production of his plays in new translations and interpretations that illuminate the plays for today's American audience. The company is particularly committed to new productions of Strindberg's best and least-performed plays in fresh translations by leading translators.
Robert Greer (director) is founder and Artistic Director of August Strindberg Repertory Theatre and has directed numerous contemporary Swedish playwrights in their English-language premières. These include MariAnne Goldman, Helena Sigander, Cecilia Sidenbladh, Oravsky and Larsen, Hans Hederberg, Margareta Garpe and Kristina Lugn, Denmark's Stig Dalager, Norway's Edvard Rønning, and classics by Victoria Benedictsson, Laura Kieler, Anne Charlotte Leffler, Amalie Skram and August Strindberg. His productions have been presented at the Strindberg Museum and Strindberg Festival, Stockholm; Edinburgh and NY Fringe Festivals, Barnard College, Columbia University, Rutgers, UCLA; Miranda, Pulse and Theater Row Theaters, La Mama E.T.C., Manhattan Theatre Source, Tribeca Lab, Synchronicity, TSI , BargeMusic; and The Duplex in LA. He has also directed plays by Mario Fratti, Sartre and Corneille here in New York. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Broadway League, Actors' Equity; the Strindberg Society, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and Swedish Translators in North America.