A.C.T. Continues its 2012-13 Season with Carey Perloff's Acclaimed Production of Sophocles' Greek Tragedy "Elektra"
Production features a specially commissioned new translation by Olivier Award-winning playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis reprises her role as the fierce Chorus Leader.
A.C.T.'s award-winning core acting company member René Augesen takes on the title role.
SAN FRANCISCO (September 4, 2012)—Direct from its sold-out premiere in Los Angeles, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2012–13 season with A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff’s sweeping production of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Elektra—featuring a specially commissioned new translation by Olivier Award–winning British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, an original score by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang, and Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, reuniting the team that brought Bay Area audiences the 1995 critically acclaimed, smash-hit production of Euripides' Hecuba. Love and revenge take center stage in Elektra, which will haunt the A.C.T. mainstage just in time for Halloween. Clocking in at an intense 90 minutes, this new interpretation of the timeless Greek tragedy is a fast-paced thriller—of epic proportions. After her father, King Agamemnon, is murdered by her mother and her mother’s lover, Elektra is consumed by grief and fiercely intent on revenge. Every day, she prays to the gods that her exiled brother, Orestes, might return to help her avenge their father’s death, and every night, the silence of the gods drives her closer to madness. As Sophocles’ iconic tragedy depicts humanity in its most extreme behavior, Elektra engages the audience as judge and jury—a stark reminder that we are all witnesses to our shared history. Elektra performs a limited run October 25–November 18, 2012, at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Wednesday, October 31, at 8 p.m. Tickets (starting at $20) are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.
Perloff first directed Sophocles’ Elektra more than 20 years ago at New York’s Classic Stage Company, in a world premiere of a translation by poet Ezra Pound. The new translation by Wertenbaker penetrates the emotional complexity not only of the title figure, but her exiled brother, her desperate sister, and her paranoid mother. Wertenbaker’s version preserves the formal structure of the ancient language, while at the same time creating a vividly alive and contemporary feel. David Lang’s original music, performed live by cellist Teresa Wong, will add to the emotional landscape of the production—a truly inventive and fiercely passionate composer, Lang has been described by the New Yorker as “an American master.”
Says Perloff: “It is extremely meaningful to me in my 20th-anniversary season to bring Elektra to A.C.T. This is one of Sophocles’ most important plays—an extraordinary exploration of vendetta, of the power and ravages of memory, of the love and terror that exists between fathers and daughters and mothers and sons. It’s a thriller, a courtroom drama, a lamentation, and a celebration. And for me, Elektra is a rare opportunity chance to work with so many of my favorite artists.”
Elektra features two of A.C.T.’s most beloved performers: core acting company member René Augesen (recent productions of Once in a Lifetime, The Homecoming, and Clybourne Park at A.C.T.; Blithe Spirit at California Shakespeare Theater ) in the title role and associate artist Olympia Dukakis (Vigil and Hecuba at A.C.T.) as the Chorus Leader. They are joined by Caroline Lagerfelt (Mary Stuart at A.C.T.; TV’s Gossip Girl) as Clytemnestra, core acting company member Anthony Fusco (recent productions of Race, The Homecoming, and Clybourne Park at A.C.T. ; Blithe Spirit at California Shakespeare Theater) as the Tutor, Nick Steen (current third-year A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program student) as Orestes, Allegra Edwards (current third-year A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program student) as Chrysothemis, and associate artist (and former core acting company member) Steven Anthony Jones (artistic director of San Francisco’s Lorraine Hansberry Theatre) as Aegisthus.
The creative team for Elektra includes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang (The Little Match Girl Passion), scenic designer Ralph Funicello (Maple and Vine at A.C.T.; Julius Caesar and Henry IV on Broadway), costume designer Candice Donnelly (The Circle and Happy End at A.C.T.; Fences on Broadway), lighting designer Nancy Schertler (Scapin and Boleros for the Disenchanted at A.C.T.; Bill Irwin’s Fool Moon on Broadway), and sound design by Cliff Caruthers (The Homecoming and November at A.C.T.; Crime and Punishment at Berkeley Repertory Theatre).
A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—in association with Elektra that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:
• Audience Prologue: Tuesday, October 30, 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get behind the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff.
• Theater on the Couch: Friday, November 2, 8 p.m.
Discuss the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters with Dr. Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.
• Audience Exchanges: Sun., Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Nov. 14, at 2 p.m.
Learn firsthand what goes into the making of great theater. After the show, join us for a lively onstage chat with the actors, designers, and artists who develop the work onstage.
• OUT with A.C.T.: Wednesday, November 7, 8 p.m.
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and fellow theatergoers while enjoying free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty.
• Wine Series: Tuesday, November 13, 8 p.m.
Raise a glass at this wine tasting event featuring leading sommeliers from the Bay Area’s hottest local wineries.
• PlayTime: Saturday, November 17, 12:30 p.m.
Get hands-on with theater with the artists who make it happen at this interactive preshow workshop.
A.C.T. would like to acknowledge its 2012–13 company sponsors Ms. Joan Danforth; Ray and Dagmar Dolby; Frannie Fleishhacker; Priscilla and Keith Geeslin; Marcia and John Goldman; Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen; Koret Foundation; Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; Burt and Deedee McMurtry; Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Osher; Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock; Ms. Kathleen Scutchfield; Mary and Steven Swig; Doug Tilden and Teresa Keller; and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.
Tickets for the limited engagement of Elektra are now available online at www.act-sf.org and by phone at 415.749.2228. Subscribers to A.C.T.’s 2012–13 season will receive priority seating to this highly anticipated production. To order a subscription, visit www.act-sf.org/subscribe or call 415.749.2250. A.C.T.’s 2012–13 season also features the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol (November 30–December 24), Tennessee Williams’s sultry classic A Streetcar Named Desire (January 17–February 10), the world premiere of George F. Walker’s audacious dark comedy Dead Metaphor (February 28–March 24), the world premiere music-theater event Stuck Elevator (April 4–28), the Bay Area premiere of The National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed production of Black Watch (May 3–June 9), and a new production of Tom Stoppard’s ravishing masterwork Arcadia (May 16–June 9).
A.C.T. subscribers enjoy incredible savings, unparalleled access, exclusive benefits, and personalized customer service. Subscriptions can be ordered via the A.C.T. subscriptions office by calling 415.749.2250 or online at www.act-sf.org/subscribe. Subscribers save as much as 33 percent off single-ticket prices. Full-time students, educators, and administrators with valid ID save up to 50% off select packages. Senior discounts are available for certain series. A.C.T.’s competitive subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges up to the day of scheduled tickets, priority seating, ticket insurance, access to convenient prepaid parking one block away from the theater, and discounts for neighborhood restaurants.
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About Timberlake Wertenbaker (Translator/Adaptor)
Timberlake Wertenbaker is an acclaimed playwright who grew up in the Basque country of southwest France. Plays include The Grace of Mary Traverse (Royal Court); Our Country's Good (Royal Court and Broadway), winner of the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play; The Love of the Nightingale (Royal Shakespeare Company), winner of the Eileen Anderson Central TV Drama Award; Three Birds Alighting on a Field (Royal Court), winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Writers' Guild Award, and London Critics' Circle Award; Credible Witness (Royal Court); Galileo's Daughter (Peter Hall Company at the Bath Theatre Festival); Arden City (NT Connections); and The Line (Arcola Theatre). Translations and adaptations include Ariane Mnouchkine's Mephisto (RSC); Eduardo de Filippo's Filumena (Peter Hall Company at the Piccadilly); Jean Anouilh's Wild Orchids (Chichester Festival Theatre); Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone (RSC); Euripides' Hecuba (A.C.T.); Gabriela Preissova's Jenufa (Natural Perspective Theatre Company with the Arcola Theatre); and Euripides' Hippolytus(Riverside Studios and tour). Timberlake is currently working on a new play for the Royal Shakespeare Company.