13 new plays from U.K. and Russia at Wirtz


Thirteen critically acclaimed plays from the U.K. and Russia will be captured on film and featured in the 2017/2018 Stage on Screen series at Northwestern University’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

Stage on Screen broadcasts will run from Sept. 16, 2017 to May 19, 2018, and each will be shown for one night only at either the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, or the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.

After arriving in only a handful of American movie theaters last year, Stage Russia HD launches its second season of filmed Russian theater performances with five new plays.

Stage Russia highlights include two plays by Anton Chekhov: “The Seagull” in a boldly reimagined production by the Satirikon Theatre and “Uncle Vanya,” an award-winning production by Vakhtangov Theatre. Cutting-edge offerings include the breathtaking modern opera “Drillalians” by the Stanislavsky ElectroTheatre, Nikolai Erdman’s black comedy “The Suicide” and the Lensoviet Theatre’s David Lynch-like “Macbeth.Kino.”

National Theatre Live presents eight new broadcasts including works by American dramatists Edward Albee, Tony Kushner and Stephen Sondheim, a radical retelling of the biblical tale “Salomè,” Federico García Lorca’s masterpiece “Yerma,” the new comedy “Young Marx” by the writing duo Richard Bean and Clive Coleman and a new take on Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

Diane Claussen, managing director of Northwestern’s Wirtz Center, said, “We are excited to be able to expand the Stage on Screen series, which has been popular with our audiences. The new broadcasts offered by Stage Russia HD are specifically attracting new Russian-speaking arts patrons to Evanston from the greater Chicago metropolitan area.”

The 2017/2018 schedule is as follows:

Stage Russia HD: “The Seagull”
by Anton Chekhov
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Yury Butusov’s frenetic production for Satirikon Theatre abounds with an incredible freedom and openness, delving deep into the throes of artistic creation and the anguish of the artist who struggles to find a language of his own. This is not only a performance about the theater, it is an analogy of the theater that devours its children like monsters. 

Presented in Russian with English subtitles, the running time is three hours and 50 minutes (with one 15-minute intermission).

• National Theatre Live: “Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches”
by Tony Kushner
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Set during the mid-1980s, in the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers must grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.

Andrew Garfield (“Silence,” “Hacksaw Ridge”) plays Prior Walter along with a cast that includes Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, James McArdle and Russell Tovey.

This new staging is directed by Olivier and Tony award-winning director Marianne Elliott (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “War Horse”). 

• National Theatre Live: “Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika”
by Tony Kushner
Saturday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Part two of Tony Kushner’s multi-award winning two-part play, “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” follows part one’s matinee screening.

• National Theatre Live: “Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”
by Edward Albee
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater

Imelda Staunton (“Gypsy,” “Vera Drake,” the “Harry Potter” films), Conleth Hill, Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots star in James Macdonald’s new production of Edward Albee’s landmark play.

In the early hours of the morning on the campus of an American college, Martha, much to her husband George’s displeasure, has invited the new professor and his wife to their home for some after-party drinks. As the alcohol flows and dawn approaches, the young couple is drawn into George and Martha’s toxic games until the evening reaches its climax in a moment of devastating truth-telling.

• National Theatre Live: “Salomé”
by Yaël Farber
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater

In an occupied desert nation, a radical from the wilderness is on a hunger strike, and a girl’s mysterious dance will change the course of the world. This charged retelling turns the infamous biblical tale on its head, placing the girl we call Salomé at the center of a revolution. Internationally-acclaimed theater director Yaël Farber (“Les Blancs”) draws on multiple accounts to create her urgent, hypnotic production.

Please note this production contains nudity, and the characters depict and make reference to sexual violence.

• National Theatre Live: “Yerma”
by Federico García Lorca
Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater

A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s powerful masterpiece. This critically acclaimed production starring Billie Piper sold out at the Young Vic. Set in contemporary London, Piper’s portrayal of a woman in her 30s desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking climax.  

The running time is one hour and 30 minutes.

• Stage Russia HD: “The Suicide”
by Nikolai Erdman
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater

Sergey Zhenovach’s adaptation of Nikolai Erdman’s comedy centers around a young, unemployed man desperate enough to contemplate ending it all. As soon as he declares his will to die, he finds himself surrounded by a variety of characters begging him to kill himself as a gesture for their cause. Flattered by this notoriety but panicked at the prospect of actually having to go through with it, he must find a way out that somehow leaves his dignity intact. 

Presented in Russian with English subtitles, the running time is three hours (with one 15-minute intermission).

• National Theatre Live: “Follies”
book by James Goldman
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Thursday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater

It’s 1971 in New York, and there’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow, the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Directed by Dominic Cooke (“The Comedy of Errors”), “Follies” features a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21.

The running time is three hours and 30 minutes.

• Stage Russia HD: “Uncle Vanya”
by Anton Chekhov
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

This unique adaptation is about what Chekhov’s characters think and what they admit to only at moments of emotional turmoil. They are at times tongue-tied or overly brutal, but their revelations break out of them fervently, desperately, just as a man breaks out of a stuffy room into the open air. A Golden Mask Winner for Best Drama, “Uncle Vanya” features the inimitable Sergey Makovetsky as Voynitsky.

Presented in Russian with English subtitles, the running time is three hours (with one 15-minute intermission).

• National Theatre Live: “Young Marx”
by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman
Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 7 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

It’s 1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, SoHo. Broke, restless and horny, the 32-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit and child-like emotional illiteracy. Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night than Marx.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner and written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, the production reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy “One Man, Two Guvnors.”

• Stage Russia HD: “Macbeth.Kino”
by William Shakespeare
Saturday, March 10, 2018, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Yuri Butusov’s pastiche of conflicting styles only touches on the storyline of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” reflecting, instead, both confusion from confronting the myth and the desire to unveil it. It follows a non-linear technique, compiling fragments, jumbling up the characters, having them swap roles, understanding that only by blending together these singular moments can the desired completeness be achieved.

Presented in Russian with English subtitles, the running time is three hours and 40 minutes (with one 15-minute intermission).

• National Theatre Live: “Julius Caesar”
by William Shakespeare
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 7 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. Nicholas Hytner’s production will thrust the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake.

The production stars Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley, David Calder and David Morrissey.

• Stage Russia HD: “Drillalians”
by Boris Yukananov
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater

Alongside earthly reality, another civilization exists parallel to it. Drillalia, the land of the Drill, is inhabited by numerous races, and its people throughout history have traveled to and from Earth, leaving signs of genius behind, while opening up their own world to destruction. We follow the initiation and adventures of a Drillalian prince, on a journey through time and space, in an effort to save his people. Boris Yukananov’s visionary modern opera for Stanislavsky ElectroTheatre in Moscow perfectly weds drama and music.

Presented in Russian with English subtitles, the running time is two hours and 30 minutes (with two 10 minute intermissions).

The Wirtz Center’s Stage on Screen broadcasts are sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University. National Theatre Live is supported by funding from Arts Council England and AVIVA.

Tickets are $20 for general public, $16 for Northwestern faculty and staff and $10 for students with valid I.D. Tickets are available online at the Wirtz Center website, by phone at 847-491-7282 or in person at the Wirtz Center box office in the Barber Theater lobby, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston.

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