The Obie Award-winning The Play Company (INVASION!, ENJOY) will present the U.S. premiere of the play WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY, with previews beginning January 10, 2013, prior to an official opening night on January 16, at 59E59 Theaters (59 E. 59 St.) in Manhattan.
Presented by The Play Company in collaboration with Mexico City-based Por Piedad Teatro, WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY is inspired by Ettore Scola's Una Giornata Particolare, a 1977 Oscar-nominated Italian film starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, and the subsequent play, about an overworked housewife and a mysterious bachelor who meet on May 8, 1938, the day Rome celebrated Hitler's visit to Mussolini's Italy.
Based on Una Giornata Particolare by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari and adapted by Gigliola Fantoni, WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY is translated by Danya Taymor, Ana Graham and Antonia Vega; with an original staging concept by Laura Almela and Daniel Gimenez Cacho.
Performed in English by Mexican actors Ana Graham and Antonio Vega in a singular performance style, the actors employ simple props to create a bittersweet human drama that unfolds while a charged political landscape of rising fascism stirs outside their apartment windows.
About WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY, Ms. Graham and Mr. Vega state, "Doing an English-language adaptation of an Italian piece when we ourselves are Mexican would seem rather odd if not for the fact that theatre is all about imagination. Let's pretend we are Italians. Let's pretend the theatre is an apartment building in Rome. Let's pretend it's 1938, Mussolini is in power and Hitler is visiting today. Let's pretend we are happy about it. Then, let us put some questions into your mind: Is fascism over? Is it a political regime or a state of mind?"
WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY returns for this full production following a developmental studio production -- also starring Ms. Graham and Mr. Vega -- presented last season by The Play Company and Por Piedad Teatro at The Flea. The two companies also collaborated last spring on Hecho en Mexico, a reading series introducing contemporary plays from Mexico to New York.
WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY is the latest production by The Play Company that features the English-language debut of a foreign play. Previously PlayCo presented the debut of Jonas Hassen Khemiri's Swedish play INVASION! as well as Toshiki Okada's Japanese play ENJOY.
WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY has original set and lighting design by Gabriel Pascal, sound design by Rodrigo Espinosa, costume design by Ana Graham, and scenery and lighting design adapted by David Arsenault.
Ana Graham studied theatre at the Núcleo de Estudios Teatrales in Mexico City. She is Artistic Director and founder of Por Piedad Teatro, where she has spent most of her career as an actress, producer, translator and costume designer for productions including: THE GOLDEN DRAGON, LADIES AND GENTS, PLAYING THE VICTIM, PSYCHOSIS 4.48, CRAVE and BLASTED (Best Actress and Best Translator by APT) THE COUNTRY, SOME EXPLICIT POLAROIDS for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by APT; GRACE AND GLORY by Tom Ziegler, for which she was awarded Best Young Actress by APT; and INTERIORS. Outside Por Piedad she is remembered for her performance in HEDDA GABLER, EQUUS and SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO. She has worked with such directors as Daniel Giménez Cacho, Enrique Singer and Matín Acosta. She starred in the film "Mezcal" by Ignacio Ortiz, for which she received an Ariel nomination as Best Actress and also in his "Cuento de Hadas para Dormir Cocodrilos." In 2003 she was awarded the annual grant for performing artist from Mexico's National Fund for the Arts. In 2011 Ana Graham was appointed Ambassador of Tourism in recognition of her contribution to art and Mexican culture.
Antonio Vega is an actor, playwright, director, and translator with a degree in performing arts from the ETX Jalisco School of Theater. He has also trained at Teatro Estudio, The Mexican Improv League; Odin Teatret in Holstebro, Denmark; The American Institute of Comedy, The Magnet Theatre Training Centre, HB Uta Hagen Studio in New York City and the Actor's Center in London, England. He has worked with directors such as Daniel Veronese, Daniel Giménez Cacho, and Martín Acosta. Some of his credits include: THE LONESOME WEST by Martin McDonagh, Thomas Vinterberg's FESTEN and WOMEN DREAMING OF HORSES by Daniel Veronese. In 2004, he became Literary Director of Por Piedad Teatro and has appeared with the company in THE GOLDEN DRAGON, LADIES AND GENTS, SOME EXPLICIT POLAROIDS, A BUSINESS WOMAN, THE COUNTRY and PLAYING THE VICTIM, among other plays. His credits as a translator include THE GOLDEN DRAGON, PSYCHOSIS 4.48, LADIES AND GENTS and PLAYING THE VICTIM. As a part of INTAR's 2010 New Works Lab he directed Fernando Gambaroni's one-man show "JUST DON'T TOUCH ME, AMIGO."