27 TO MAY 4
for the New City presents
the August Strindberg Rep production of
AUGUST STRINDBERG'S "CREDITORS"
translated and directed by Robert Greer
Strindberg's 1888 drama will be updated to modern
Long Island in this adaptation, which is newly translated and
directed by Robert Greer. It's 2023 and Gustav, a professor
of classics and archaeology, travels in disguise to Montauk,
where his faithless ex-wife, celebrity novelist Tekla, and her
eminent painter husband Adolf are summering. During Tekla's
absence on a book tour, Gustav worms his way into Adolf's confidence
and undermines their already shaky marriage, with fatal consequences.
The play, a masterpiece from Strindberg's naturalist
period, is rarely excelled in its unity of construction, dramatic
tension and acute psychological analysis, but it is far less
performed and anthologized than "The Father" or "Miss
Julie." The drama is set in a parlor and adjoining rooms
of a seaside resort. Adolph, a painter-turned-sculptor, is falling
under the spell of Gustav, an ill-natured older man whom he
has just met. In the guise of friendly male conversation Gustav,
Iago-like, makes Adolph dissect his love for his new wife Tekla.
She is a novelist whose star is rising while Adolph's is falling.
We learn that Tekla is Gustav's former wife and she has written
a roman a clef about him, characterizing him as an idiot. In
an act of revenge, the older man is manipulating the artist
to believe that his wife has selfishly robbed him of his creative
strength in an act of erotic vampirism.
The men agree that Adolph will hide in the antechamber
and eavesdrop while Gustav engages Tekla to demonstrate "how
to handle a woman." Instead of confronting her, Gustav
charms her into a farewell tryst. When Tekla awakens to the
plot, it is too late--Adolph, listening at the keyhole, succumbs
to an offstage attack of epilepsy. The play whirls with mind
and power games and is a brilliant statement on the kinetics
of conjugal dependency. But it is written in a tottering rhetoric
which has led to a swollen and lofty tone in translations to-date.
This has been a barrier to its popularity, and Robert Greer's
translation aims to render the play into a more contemporary
voice for the benefit of sophisticated New York audiences.
Natalie Menna plays the celebrity novelist, Tekla.
Brad Fryman* plays her husband, the eminent painter Adolf. Mike
Roche* plays her ex-husband Gustav, the distinguished professor
of classical languages and archaeology. The three appeared together
last fall in Strindberg Rep's "Hedda 1981," presented
by Theater for the New City (Menna as Hedda, Fryman as Judge
Brack and Roche as Lovborg). Lighting Design is by Omar Jaslin.
Stage Manage is Jose Ruiz.
This adaptation was developed, in part, in a work-in-progress
in TNC's 2018 Dream Up Festival, when it was styled in its original