October 21 to November 8, 2014 - Gene Frankel Theatre,
24 Bond Street
Presented by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre
in association with Theater Resources Unlimited.
Dumeng as Julie, Reginald L. Wilson as her father's butler.
Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
"Miss Julie" was transported to an antebellum Louisiana
plantation in a new interpretation conceived by Artistic Director
Robert Greer and adapted by Edgar Chisholm from a translation
by Greer. The production included a ballet sequence, which Strindberg
specified in the original manuscript and which has never been
performed before. The piece was directed by Robert Greer and choreographed
by Ja' Malik.
Julie" is the actress's "Hamlet." It centers on
the proud, neurotic child of a degenerate aristocracy who is willing
to sink her pride in a frenzied attempt to satisfy her love of
sensation. Strindberg originally set the play in a Swedish manor
house in 1888. This production moves the location to an antebellum
Louisiana plantation in the same year. Julie, the landowner's
daughter, has just broken off her engagement. It's Mardi Gras;
she and the master's black butler, John (named Jean in the original),
dance and drink at her insistence. Hearing the roughneck field
hands coming, they hide in John's room while these rowdies vandalize
the house in a ballet sequence. Leaving the room, it is revealed
that Julie and John have had sex. The pair plan to flee for New
Orleans, to take a steamer to Jamaica and open a hotel there.
She steals her father's cash box to pay for the trip, but their
plan is thwarted when John's fiancee, Christine (the cook), announces
that she, enroute to church, will tell the stable boy not to let
any horses out until the Master is back. The stakes of being discovered
would be even higher for John in the antebellum South than for
Jean in the Swedish original. Unable to face the certain scandal,
Julie slits her own throat.
play was acted by Ivette Dumeng (Julie), Reginald L. Wilson (John)
and Eboni Flowers (Christine).
wrote the play in 1888 for his first wife, Siri von Essen (making
her a noblewoman playing a noblewoman). It is generally agreed
that the play's suicide scene was inspired by the death of Swedish
author Victoria Benedictsson, an early feminist who was also a
model for Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. She was one of the greatest
proponents of the Swedish realist writing style and
had an unhappy love affair with the Danish critic and scholar Georg
Brandes, which has often been blamed for her subsequent suicide.
Strindberg wrote a ballet sequence into the script to illustrate
the wedding party of roughnecks breaking into the mansion, but
it has actually never before been performed that way. The playwright
was probably inspired by ballets which were interjected between
acts 3 and 4 in operas of his period. This production contained
a ballet choreographed by Malik and danced by Allison MacDonald
and Joshua LaMar.
design was by Miriam Crowe, costume design was by Marisa Ferrara,
graphics were by Donna Miskend and sound design was by Andy Evan