UPCOMING

"COMMITTED" BY NATALIE MENNA
(resident playwright of August Strindberg Rep)

Previews Thu. and Fri., Nov. 5-6, opens Sat. Nov. 7,
plays through November 22
Tue through Sat at 8:00 PM, Sun at 3:00 PM
Theater for the New City (Cino Theater).
Produced and presented by Theater for the New City,
Crystal Field, Artistic Director
Directed by Austin Pendleton.

Full-Length Drama | 3M, 1F
"Committed" is a work of historical fiction about the last two days of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's life. When his highly controversial and vulgar documentary causes a tremendous uproar in Amsterdam and abroad, Theo spirals downward. The play explores the collision of an artist's radical temperament and unyielding vision with modern political realities and the inevitable tragedy when uncompromising values clash. Can friendship, family, or love save Theo from his biggest threat - himself?

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Workshop at 14th Street Y produced and directed by Brock Harris Hill, a coproduction of the 14th Street Y and The Altruistic Theater Co.
Staged reading, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2015, Paradise Factory, 64 E 4th Street, NYC. Winner: Outstanding Overall Production of a Staged Reading, Outstanding Actor (Imran Sheikh). Nominated for Outstanding Overall Production of a Staged Reading, Outstanding Playwright for a New Play in a Reading.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Natalie Menna is an award-winning playwright and actress living in downtown Brooklyn. Her play "Zen A.M." was performed at Theater for the New City the month of June 2019, and her "Occasionally Nothing" was performed in TNC's Dream Up Festival in August/September 2018. Her tryptic ("Hiroshi - Me, Me, Me," "Pause" and "Montana") was produced by August Strindberg Rep at the Gene Frankel Theatre November/December 2018. She performed lead roles with Strindberg Rep as Tekla in "Creditors" in TNC's Dream Up Festival in 2018, as Laura in Strindberg's "The Father" at the Gene Frankel that fall and again in Dream Up 2019, and as Elise in Strindberg's "The Pelican" at TNC in 2020.

PRESS CLIPPINGS
"Menna's brilliant writing captures the multifaceted nature of Theo Van Gogh's character.... [Her] dialogue is gorgeous with resonating lines. Natalie Menna masterfully crafted a world that is neither black or white, but grey. [She] does an admirable job in portraying a story full of gripping themes such as religion, identity, ego, artistic integrity, love, family, loyalty, selfishness vs. selflessness, and how far a person will go to stand for what they believe in." -- Outer Stage

Natalie: "I wrote this play for those of all beliefs, political, and religious. It should not answer questions, rather it should cause the audience to raise questions, not least in themselves... I was gratified that audience members found the humor in what otherwise would have been grim proceedings." -- AHA Foundation website.

Natalie: "I was fascinated when I first heard the story of Theo Van Gogh's life - death. Looking around at the world and seeing a disturbing trend towards extremism in many different forms... There is a natural reluctance even to approach a character with such abhorrent views, yet I felt compelled to write about such a character and also to address his underlying humanity... As we've seen the rise of autocratic leaders in the Western Hemisphere, Eastern Europe, and around the world, this play addresses issues of extremism and has gained a relevance I wish it never had." -- Arts Independent.

"Committed is a fulsome treat that's worth seeing more than once. The story of Theo van Gogh's last two days in Amsterdam and his untimely death at the hands of a religious extremist, the play presents him as a provocateur willing to die for his right to free speech. It offers an admirably broad spectrum of perspectives ... and provides insight into Theo van Gogh's irascible and complex character. There isn't a dull moment, which is a tribute to Menna's writing and the talented cast... Menna is equally adept at comedy, having presented and won awards for Zen A.M., Roberta!, I-POD; Hiroshi - Me, Me, Me; Montana and Occasionally Nothing." -- Beauty News NYC.

Drama Queens: What's it like being a female playwright in NYC? Natalie: "Exhilarating! I started as an actress, and while I still love performing, playwriting provides an opportunity to right the wrongs of the universe, or at least attempt to... All playwrights face the same challenges. I don't think opportunities are particularly based on gender anymore. Income seems to play the determining role in a playwright's opportunities, which is a disturbing trend. However, the disparity in income between men and women does make it harder for women to gain a foothold in this field." -- Drama Queens.

 

Dates TBA:
"DANCE OF DEATH" PARTS ONE AND TWO
BY AUGUST STRINDBERG
Presented together for the first time in North America
Theater for the Ne
w City, NYC

This two-part play, written in 1900, is labeled by some critics, not without justice, as Strindberg's greatest work. In an isolated fort Edgar, a captain of artillery, and Alice, his wife, have lived for 25 years, hating each other with a deadly venom and each wishing the other's death. Their home becomes peopled with devils. When Kurt, Edgar's friend, comes to stay in it, he is caught up in the atmosphere of evil. He falls in love with Alice and becomes her associate in a plot designed to destroy her husband. During a stroke, Edgar suddenly gains a new vision of life, realizing his own errors and pleading for reconciliation. Thus ends the first part of the drama.

The second shows the final triumph of the wife. Remorselessly, she drives Edgar to his death--although in the very process of doing so, a bitter doubt enters her mind.

The play's legacy can be seen in a number of contemporary plays. "Play Strindberg" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt condenses the two parts into a terse, brutal series of boxing rounds. In its claustrophobic atmosphere and treatment of marital dysunction, the play reverberates through Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Harry Kondoleon's "The Houseguests" and even John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves."

 


 


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