A mysteriously troubled man adn his wife move into a poor neighborhood, while he confines his mother-in-law to a residence in a wealthy community. When the family of the husband’s employer learns that the mother-in-law is a neighbor, they demand to know the truth behind the bizarre situation. The husband and mother-in-law both reveal convincing versions of their deeply painful circumstances. The audience is left to ponder the subjectivity of truth and the price of voyeurism.
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Adapted and directed by
Adapted and directed by
1927 – 2023
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, Robert Brustein supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve. He wrote eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and was the author of many books on theater and society. Mr. Brustein also served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, was a Professor in Harvard’s English Department, was a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University, and drama critic for The New Republic. He was inducted as a member in to the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received numerous awards including the George Polk Award in Journalism, the Commonwealth (Massachusetts) Award for Organizational Leadership, and the Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theater with distinction, and the National Medal of the Arts.
At A.R.T., his produciton of Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996. His play Demons, which was broadcast on WGBH radio in 1993, had its stage world premiere as part of the A.R.T. New Stages. His play Nobody Dies on Friday was given its world premiere in the same series and was presented at the Singapore Festival of Arts and the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. His play Spring Forward, Fall Back was performed in 2006 at Theater J in Washington, D.C., and at the Vineyard Playhouse; The English Channel was produced in 2007 in Boston and at the Vineyard Playhouse, and played at the Abingdon Theatre in the fall of 2008, receiving a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.
Brustein also wrote Shlemiel the First, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and set to traditional klezmer music, which was directed and choreographed by David Gordon. After the original presentation in 1994 at A.R.T. and in Philadelphia at the American Music Theatre Festival, which co-produced the show, Shlemiel the First was revived several times in Cambridge and subsequently played at the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and toured theaters in Florida and in Stamford, Connecticut. The play has also been produced at Theater J in Washington, DC. His short plays Poker Face, Chekhov on Ice, Divestiture, AnchorBimbo, Noises, Terrorist Skit, Airport Hell, Beachman’s Last Poetry Reading, and Enter William Shakespeare were all presented by the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Brustein was also the author of Doctor Hippocrates Is Out: Please Leave a Message, an anthology of theatrical and cinematic satire on medicine and physicians, commissioned by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for its 2008 convention in Nashville.
Brustein served as a Professor of English at Harvard University, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, drama critic for The New Republic, and former dean of the Yale School of Drama. In 2003 he served as a Senior Fellow with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, and in 2004 and 2005 was a senior fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Journalism Institute in Theatre and Musical Theatre at the University of Southern California.
He was the Founding Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, where he founded the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He retired from the artistic directorship of A.R.T. in 2002 and subsequently served as Founding Director and Creative Consultant.
During his tenure at A.R.T., Brustein wrote eleven adaptations, including Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, and When We Dead Awaken, the last directed by Robert Wilson; Three Farces and a Funeral, adapted from the works and life of Anton Chekhov; Luigi Pirandello’s Enrico IV; and Brustein’s final production at A.R.T., Lysistrata by Aristophanes, directed by Andrei Serban. He also directed numerous adaptations while at A.R.T. including a Pirandello trilogy: Six Characters in Search of an Author, which won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise; as well as Ibsen’s Ghosts, Strindberg’s The Father, and Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling.
Over the course of his long career as director, playwright, and teacher, he participated in the artistic development of such theater artists as Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang, Christopher Walken, Cherry Jones, Ted Talley, Michael Feingold, Sigourney Weaver, James Naughton, Mark Linn-Baker, Henry Winkler, James Lapine, Tony Shalhoub, Tommy Derrah, Rocco Landesman, Linda Lavin, Michael Yearga, William Ivey Long, Derek Maclane, Steve Zahn, Peter Sellars, Santo Loquasto, Tom Moore, Albert Innaurato, and many others.
Mr. Brustein was the recipient of many distinguished awards, including:
- Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Nottingham
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
- Twice winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism
- George Polk Award for Journalism (Criticism)
- The 2nd Elliot Norton Award For Professional Excellence in Boston Theatre (formerly the Norton Prize), presented by the Boston Theatre District Association
- New England Theatre Conference’s Major Award for outstanding creative achievement in the American theatre
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
- Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
- Association for Theatre in Higher Education Career Achievement Award for Professional Theatre
- The Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership
- Inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
- United States Institute for Theatre Technology Lifetime Achievement Award
- National Corporate Theatre Fund Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Theatre
- Gann Academy Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts
- Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction
- National Medal of the Arts
- Players Club Hall of Fame
Set design by
Set design by
Michael H. Yeargan
Michael Yeargan designed sets for King Stag, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Threepenny Opera, The Juniper Tree, The Seven Deadly Sins, and Sganarelle at the A.R.T. He is resident designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre and Professor of Stage Design at Yale School of Drama. Mr. Yeargan has designed extensively in American resident theatres and on Broadway, and for opera companies throughout the U.S. and Europe, with designs for the Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, and Covent Garden, Frankfurt Opera and Australian Opera. His U.S. credits include the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.
Costume design by
Christine Joly de Lotbiniére
Lighting design by
As both writer and performer of The Syringa Tree, Pamela Gien won the Obie for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor, and nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. Before its New York run, the play had its world premiere at ACT in Seattle, and Pamela has since performed it in London at the Royal National Theatre, and in Los Angeles. The production was filmed for Trio Arts Channel on television. She is completing the screenplay, and Random House has commissioned her to write it as a novel. Pamela has also written her second screenplay for an upcoming film, The Lily Field, to be produced by Matt Salinger. As a company member of the American Repertory Theater, she appeared in fourteen productions: as Sonya in the premiere of David Mamet's adaptation of Uncle Vanya with Christopher Walken, Anabella in 'Tis Pity She's A Whore with Derek Smith, Estrella in Life's A Dream with Cherry Jones, as Gabriella in Sweet Table at the Richelieu, Marianna in The Miser, and Angela in The King Stag with Thomas Derrah, all directed by Andrei Serban. She played Stella/Ann in The End of the World with Symposium to Follow, directed by Richard Foreman, and performed in two Pirandello productions directed by Robert Brustein, and appeared in Gillette and The Day Room, both directed by David Wheeler. Other theater credits include Lavinia in Titus Andronicus for the Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival, Alicia in Piano by Anna Deavere Smith, and Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana at the LATC, for which she won a Dramalogue Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre. She has performed in the New Works Festival at the Mark Taper Forum, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and at South Coast Repertory. Her television appearances include guest-starring roles in Tales From the Crypt, Reasonable Doubts, Hunter, Secret Lives, and Into Thin Air. Her film credits include Men Seeking Women and The Last Supper.
Alvin Epstein is a former artistic director of the Guthrie Theater and associate director of Robert Brustein's Yale Repertory Theatre. He has directed over twenty productions (five at the American Repertory Theater, including the inaugural A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1980) and performed in over one hundred (over fifty at the A.R.T.). His A.R.T. roles include Old Man in Lysistrata, the Herald in Marat/Sade, Dionisio Genoni in Enrico IV, John of Gaunt/First Gardener in Richard II, Erich Honecker in Full Circle, McLeavy in Loot, Shabelsky in Ivanov, and Lee Strasberg in Nobody Dies on Friday; Mr. Epstein has also appeared in The Doctor's Dilemma, Antigone, Three Farces and a Funeral, The Winter's Tale, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, In the Jungle of Cities, The Bacchae, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Slaughter City, Tartuffe, The Tempest, Beckett Trio, The Threepenny Opera, and Waiting for Godot, among many others. His twenty Broadway and off-Broadway productions include his debut with Marcel Marceau, the Fool in Orson Welles's King Lear, Lucky in the American premiere of Waiting for Godot, Clov in the American premiere of Endgame, Peachum in The Threepenny Opera (co-starring with Sting), and the world premiere of Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable). For twenty years he and Martha Schlamme performed A Kurt Weill Cabaret on tour in the U.S. and South America and a year's run on Broadway. He has performed at many resident theaters throughout the U.S., in films and on television. Awards include Most Promising Actor ('56 Variety Poll), Brandeis Creative Arts Award ('66), Obie for Dynamite Tonight! ('68), Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence ('96), and the IRNE Award for Best Supporting Actor as Shabelsky in Ivanov ('99). Mr. Epstein teaches acting at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.
Jerome Kilty, who plays the role of Old Ekdal in The Wild Duck, co-founded the Brattle Theatre Company in 1948. For the American Repertory Theater he staged The Lost Boys and Love's Labour Lost and has performed in nine productions, including James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night, the title role in King Lear, Larry Gelbart's Mastergate, and Phil Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten, a role he repeated on Broadway (Tony nomination, voted best actor of the year by the Boston Theatre Critics Circle). He played Harry Hope in O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (Joseph Jefferson award for best actor). Most recent credits include Horace Van Der Gelder in The Matchmaker at McCarter Theatre and two seasons in Houston, both with the Alley Theater and Stages Repertory Company, as director of Arms and the Man and playing Danforth in The Crucible, Sheridan Whitehead in The Man Who Came to Dinner, and Tobias in A Delicate Balance (directed by Edward Albee). He also played King Lear at the Asolo Theatre in Florida and the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, and was the Court Envoy in the world premiere of Robert Di Domenica's opera The Balcony with the Opera Company of Boston, both in Boston and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. His plays Dear Liar and The Ides of March continue in the international repertoire.
Harry S. Murphy
Harry S. Murphy, who returns to play Christopher Sly in The Taming of the Shrew and Collie Couch in In the Jungle of Cities, spent many seasons at the American Repertory Theater and appeared in over a dozen productions here, including The King Stag, Angel City, Platonov, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, As You Like It, The School for Scandal, Alcestis, The Balcony, Sganarelle, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and The Marriage of Figaro. His Broadway credits include Macbeth, Othello, Big Time, and The Good Times are Killing Me. He also appeared in such musicals as The Boys from Syracuse and Happy End (at the A.R.T ), as well as Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well . . . and Good Sport. Other resident credits include Room Service, Henry V, Hedda Gabler, Phaedre, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night. Mr. Murphy appeared in the feature films Calendar Girl, Eddie Macon's Run, and The Return, and his television credits include Cosby, Law and Order, Spenser for Hire, True Blue, and New York Undercover.
A.R.T.: 119 productions, including R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Myster) OF THE UNIVERSE (R. Buckminster Fuller), Cabaret (Fraulein Schneider), Endgame (Clov), The Seagull (Dorn), Oliver Twist (also at Theatre for a New Audience and Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Birthday Party (Stanley), Highway Ulysses (Ulysses), Uncle Vanya (Vanya), Marat/Sade (Marquis de Sade), Richard II (Richard). Broadway: Jackie: An American Life (23 roles). Off-Broadway: Johan Padan (Johan), Big Time (Ted). Tours with the Company across the U.S., with residencies in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and throughout Europe, Canada, Israel, Taiwan, Japan and Moscow, and has recently been performing Julius Caesar in France. Other: I Am My Own Wife, Boston TheatreWorks; Approaching Moomtaj, New Repertory Theatre; Twelfth Night and The Tempest, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.; London’s Battersea Arts Center; five productions at Houston’s Alley Theatre, including Our Town (Dr. Gibbs, directed by José Quintero); and many theatres throughout the U.S. Awards: 1994 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, 2000 and 2004 IRNE Awards for Best Actor, 1997 Los Angeles DramaLogue Award (for title role of Shlemiel the First). Television: Julie Taymor’s film Fool’s Fire (PBS American Playhouse), "Unsolved Mysteries," "Del and Alex" (Alex, A&E Network). Film: Mystic River (directed by Clint Eastwood), The Pink Panther II. He is on the faculty of the A.R.T. Institute, teaches acting at Harvard University and Emerson College, and is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
A.R.T. Senior Actor, founding member of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the A.R.T. Yale: more than 40 productions (including The Seagull). A.R.T.: 100 productions including The Seagull (three turns as Sorin), Julius Caesar, Three Sisters, The Onion Cellar, Major Barbara (Undershaft), Heartbreak House (Shotover), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Quince four times, Snug once), Henry IV (Falstaff), Twelfth Night (Toby Belch), The Caretaker (Davies), The Homecoming (Max), Loot (Truscott), Man and Superman (Mendoza/Devil), Waiting for Godot (Vladimir), The Threepenny Opera (Peacham/Petey), Ivanov (Lebedev), Three Sisters (Chebutkin), Buried Child (Dodge), The Cherry Orchard (Gaev) and The King Stag (Pantelone). Teaches at Harvard College, Harvard’s Summer and Extension Schools and at the A.R.T/MXAT Institute. Trained at the Old Vic Theatre School and subsequently taught there. Acted at the Old Vic, Young Vic, The Royal Court, in the West End, in films and television and has been hosting his own show “The Caravan” for the BBC for five years. Came to the U.S. with the satirical revue The Establishment and acted on and off Broadway, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and at the Lincoln Center Festival. Lectured on Shakespeare in India and the Netherlands Theatre School. Received the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Boston Actor and the Jason Robards Award for Dedication to the Theatre.