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When We Dead Awaken

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Rubek, an aged sculptor, vacations with his young dissatisfied wife, Maya, at a mountain spa. Irene, his former model and a patient at the local sanitarium, seeks revenge on him for having used her to create his greatest work while rejecting her selfless love. Rubek realizes that he has sacrificed his soul for the sake of his art, and Maya runs off to cavort with Ulfheim, a bear hunter. Rubek and Irene ascend to the mountaintop only to be killed by an avalanche.

Credits

Creative team

by

Henrik Ibsen

Translated by

Robert Brustein

Translated by

Robert Brustein

As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, Robert Brustein has supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve.  He has written eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and is the author of thirteen books on theater and society. His latest book, The Tainted Muse: Prejudices and Preconceptions in Shakespeare's Works and Times, was released earlier this year. Mr. Brustein also served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, is a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University and drama critic for The New Republic. He is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the recipient numerous awards including the George Polk Award in Journalism, the Commonweath (Massachusetts) Award for Organizational Leadership, and most recently the Eugene O'Neill Foundation's Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction.

His 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. His newest play, The English Channel, was produced in 2007 in Boston and at the Vineyard Playhouse. In the Fall of 2008, it played at the Abingdon Theatre in New York where it was nominated 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 ART 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, as well as touring theatres in Florida and in Stamford, Connecticut. The play has also been produced at Theater J in Washington, DC. Shlemiel the First comes to Peak Performances @ Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, in January 2010.  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 is 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.  He was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2002.

Brustein is a former professor of English at Harvard University (now a Senior Research Fellow), Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, the 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/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He retired from the artistic directorship of ART in 2002 and now serves as Founding Director and Creative Consultant. He is also a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and the Open University.

During his tenure at ART, 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 ART, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, directed by Andrei Serban.  He also directed numerous adaptations while at ART 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); Tonight We Improvise; 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 has 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 is the recipient of many coveted 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 Associatione
  • 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

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Adapted and directed by

Robert Wilson

Set design by

John Conklin

Set design by

John Conklin

At the American Repertory Theater, John Conklin has designed sets for The Tempest, Henry V, and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2; sets and costumes for Robert Wilson's production of When We Dead Awaken, and costumes for Wilson's Alcestis. Locally his work has been seen in the Boston Lyric Opera's I Puritani, where he also designed La Bohéme and Beatrice and Benedict. Mr. Conklin's designs are seen in opera houses, ballet companies, and theaters all over the world, including designs for the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Bastille Opera in Paris, the Boston Ballet, Louisville Ballet, the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, and the Goodman Theatre, among many others.

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Costume design by

John Conklin

Costume design by

John Conklin

At the American Repertory Theater, John Conklin has designed sets for The Tempest, Henry V, and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2; sets and costumes for Robert Wilson's production of When We Dead Awaken, and costumes for Wilson's Alcestis. Locally his work has been seen in the Boston Lyric Opera's I Puritani, where he also designed La Bohéme and Beatrice and Benedict. Mr. Conklin's designs are seen in opera houses, ballet companies, and theaters all over the world, including designs for the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Bastille Opera in Paris, the Boston Ballet, Louisville Ballet, the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, and the Goodman Theatre, among many others.

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Lighting design by

Stephen Strawbridge and Robert Wilson

Sound design by

Hans Peter Kuhn 

Songs by

Charles “Honi” Coles

Associate direction by

Ann-Cristin Rommen

Cast

Rubek

Alvin Epstein

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.

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Maya

Stephanie Roth-Haberle

A.R.T.: Oedipus (Jocasta), Lysistrata (Lampito), Marat/Sade (Charlotte Corday), Enrico IV (Matilde), Hamlet (Ophelia), Alice in Bed (Alice), Silence Cunning Exile (Suzie), King Lear (Cordelia), When We Dead Awaken (Maya), Servant of Two Masters (Beatrice), Misalliance (Hypatia), The Seagull (Nina), and Hedda Gabler (Thea). Resident credits include A Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night (California Shakespeare Festival), Swimming in March (Market Theater of Cambridge), Macbeth (Hartford Stage), Betrayal (Yale Repertory Theatre). Abroad: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare's Globe in London). Broadway: Artist Descending a Staircase (Drama Desk nominee for Featured Actress), and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (with the Royal Shakespeare Company). Off-Broadway: Cymbeline (Delacorte Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Theatre for a New Audience), The Cherry Orchard (directed by Peter Brook); works at Circle Repertory Theatre and Second Stage Theatre. Film and television credits: Songcatcher (2000 Sundance Ensemble Acting jury award); The Cradle Will Rock, Deconstructing Harry, Philadelphia; Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hollywood Ending, and the upcoming Melinda and Melinda; and Law & Order.

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Irene

Elzbieta Czyzewska/Sheryl Sutton

Irene

Elzbieta Czyzewska/Sheryl Sutton

Ulfheim

Mario Arrambide

Ulfheim

Mario Arrambide

Spa Manager

Charles “Honi” Coles

Spa Manager

Charles “Honi” Coles

Maid

Margaret Hall

Maid

Margaret Hall

Manservand

Michael Starr

Manservand

Michael Starr