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When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable)

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A hauntingly lyrical memory play, When the World Was Green is steeped in the elliptical, poetic style for which Shepard is justly celebrated. Sketched out in just a handful of scenes is a world of sensual delight, of great journeys to distant lands, and exotic food “piled as high as a mountain, glistening in the sun.” But as always, the beauty of Shepard’s landscape is only skin-deep. Under the surface lies a family vendetta that has lasted for seven generations. The play has only two characters, and old man who was once a superb chef, and a young reporter who comes to interview him in the prison where he as been locked up for many years after poisoning a man he mistook for his cousin. Their eight conversations are interspersed with a sequence of monologues in which both characters recall incidents from their childhood. These link together to form a tender narrative of regret and loss through which they transcend their memories and reach mutual forgiveness and love.

This production premiered at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Arts Festival and was presented together with Shepard’s Chicago by the Signature Theatre in New York prior to the Cambridge performances.

SYNOPSIS

An old man, once an excellent chef, is in jail for poisoning a man he mistook for his cousin. A young woman comes to visit him, apparently a local journalist with an interest in his case. As their conversations progress, both learn more about each others lives than they could possibly have imagined, or wanted to know.

Credits

Creative team

by

Joseph Chaikin

Joe Chaikin, who founded the influential Open Theater in the 1960s, has written three other plays with Sam Shepard in addition to When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable). They are Tongues, Savage/Love, and The War in Heaven: An Angel's Monologue. The latter was first conceived when the pair spent four weeks teaching and working at the Loeb Drama Center in 1984. Their correspondence from 1972–1984, which stands as an eloquent commentary on an important decade of American drama, is published by New American Library.

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by

Joseph Chaikin

Joe Chaikin, who founded the influential Open Theater in the 1960s, has written three other plays with Sam Shepard in addition to When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable). They are Tongues, Savage/Love, and The War in Heaven: An Angel's Monologue. The latter was first conceived when the pair spent four weeks teaching and working at the Loeb Drama Center in 1984. Their correspondence from 1972–1984, which stands as an eloquent commentary on an important decade of American drama, is published by New American Library.

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Co-directed by

Anders Cato

Co-directed by

Anders Cato

Anders Cato, co-director of When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), directed All My Sons at 7 Stages in Atlanta, Texts for Nothing at the Magic Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre in London, The War in Heaven at 7 Stages and La Jolla Playhouse, Peer Gynt at the Lincoln Center Institute, The Tempest at Theatre Icarus, and A Dream Play at Westbeth Theatre. Mr. Cato has worked as an associate of Joseph Chaikin since 1991. He is the co-founder of the New York–based Lafayette Workshop.

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Set design by

Christine Jones

Set design by

Christine Jones

Christine Jones, the set designer for Nocturne, previously designed The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Man and Superman, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Hot 'n' Throbbing, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Silence, Cunning, Exile, and The L.A. Plays for the American Repertory Theater. Her other credits include The Green Bird (for which she received Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Award nominations) for the New Victory Theatre in New York, Texts for Nothing and Richard II for the New York Shakespeare Festival, Tartuffe and Richard III for Hartford Stage, and sets and costumes for Iolanthe at Glimmerglass Opera.

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Costume design by

Mary Brecht

Costume design by

Mary Brecht

Mary Brecht, the costume designer for When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), has worked extensively Off-Broadway with some of New York's most innovative directors, such as Charles Ludlam, Richard Foreman, and Joseph Chaikin. Her work with Mr. Chaikin includes The Dybbuk, Tourists and Refuges, Tongues, Savage/Love, Endgame, Texts, and The Bald Soprano.

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Lighting design by

John Ambrosone

Lighting design by

John Ambrosone

Lighting Designer John Ambrosone has designed over thirty productions for the American Repertory Theater, including Lysistrata, Absolution, Marat/Sade, Othello, Animals and Plants, Mother Courage (2001 Elliot Norton Design Award), The Doctor's Dilemma, Three Farces and a Funeral, Nocturne, IvanovThe Cripple of Inishmaan, The King Stag, Boston Marriage, Charlie in the House of Rue, Valparaiso, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, How I Learned to Drive, Nobody Dies on Friday, Man and Superman, The Old Neighborhood, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, and Buried Child. On Broadway he designed The Old Neighborhood. Work in resident theaters includes the Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Walnut Street Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and Arena Stage. Mr. Ambrosone also has designed in Singapore, Moscow, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, Germany, and France.

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Music composed by

Woody Regan

Music composed by

Woody Regan

Composer/Musician Woody Regan, who composed and performs the music in When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), has been musical director and conductor for Elly Stone, Kaye Ballard, Lilliane Montevecchi, and David Staller, in cabaret and in concert. He has composed incidental scores for The Duchess of Malfi, The Country Wife, Oscar Wilde's Salome, and A Taste of Honey. He was most recently musical director for Laura Kenyon in The Ballad of June Cool at La MaMa ETC.

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Interviewer Amie Quigley
Old Man Alvin Epstein