January 24, THU, 7:30 p.m.
January 24-27, THU-SUN & January 31-February 3, THU-SUN
THU-SAT: 7:30 pm
SUN: 2:30 pm
First Floor Theater
74 East 4th Street, New York
Tickets: $18 / $13 for Students & Seniors
Online tickets and information:
Box Office: 212-475-7710
BUY ONE $18 TICKET AND BRING A FRIEND FOR FREE.
VALID ONLY 1/24-27
The American debut of a new French production directed by Swedish playwright/director Lars Norén and featuring acclaimed French-Romanian actress Simona Maicanescu
La MaMa is pleased to present The Fever, a gripping play by Wallace Shawn (My Dinner With André, Vanya on 42nd Street, and Grasses of A Thousand Colors), in a new production directed by Lars Norén, one of Sweden’s most prominent playwrights/directors, and featuring acclaimed French-Romanian actress Simona Maicanescu. This powerful dramatic monologue, written between 1985 and 1990 but more relevant now than ever, is a fierce, forensic examination of social inequality and the links between the affluence many take for granted and the poverty and suffering that haunt the lives of millions. Running for a two-week American debut at La MaMa’s first-floor theater – January 24 to February 3rd – the 80-minute French production is an adaptation by Maicanescu and Norén, drawing both from Shawn’s original text and his 2007 rewrite. Since 2009, Maicanescu (best known for her work with Andrei Serban in Romania, André Wilms, Lukas Hemleb and Jean-François Peyret at Paris’ famed Odéon Theater, and her roles in the TV series Spiral (Engrenages) and Splice) has performed the show to critical acclaim in both French and English throughout France and at international festivals in Sweden, Luxemburg, and Romania. The Fever marks her first one-woman show and the first time Lars Norén directs a contemporary piece other than his own. It will be performed in English.
In this hallucinatory, spiraling narrative, an unnamed upper-middle-class woman from New York wakes up fevered and frightened in the bug-infested hotel room of some war-torn country and begins probing the very foundations on which both her way of living and her way of thinking are based. A Candide of our times, this naïve traveler replays scenes from the past and questions the history of every material object, unable to keep pretending that “we live in a world where coats have no history, but just fall down from heaven with the prices marked inside.” The humor is quirky, and the questions are unsettling. They are not meant to be answered, but to bring attention to the shocking landscape of social injustice through which most of us walk every day and almost all of us fail to see. Wallace Shawn’s brilliant text offers a profound and provocative insight into what it means to be a liberal, compassionate individual, and at the same time a member of the privileged class in a rich society whose very existence is based upon the suppression of others less fortunate.
“The Fever is an attempt to state the obvious so that the obvious can finally be seen. In my view, injustice, and particularly economical injustice, still is the root cause of the rage which everyone feels all around them. The injustice is brutal, it’s astounding, and it’s everywhere, and it’s not hidden at all, but it’s still so upsetting that even the most enlightened of us can only glimpse it for moments at a time.” – Wallace Shawn (2008)
Running time: 85 minutes
Written by Wallace Shawn
Adaptation by Simona Maicanescu and Lars Norén
Performed by Simona Maicanescu (Paris)
Directed by Lars Norén
Lighting by Jean Poisson
Costume by Chatoon
Sound by Sophie Buisson
Artistic collaboration: Nelly Bonnafous, Bob Meyer
Presented in association with Le Nouvel Olympia – CDR de Tours Théâtre de l’Espace – Scène Nationale de Besançon / Apocryphe Tendance. With the support of Athénée -Théâtre Louis Jouvet.
Simona Maicanescu was born in Craiova, Romania, where she performed under the direction of Silviu Purcarete, Lucian Pintilie, Tompa Gabor, and Andrei Serban. After performing in a French-Romanian production presented at the Avignon Festival, she was invited to perform in 1994 at Odéon Theatre in Paris, where she worked with André Wilms, Lukas Hemleb, and Jean-François Peyret. She then decided to move to France to continue acting. She has since performed in both French and English, with credits ranging from Norén's War and Molière's Tartuffe to the French TV series Engrenages and movies like Dante 01, Stowaways and Splice.
Lars Norén, born in Stockholm, is regarded by many as Sweden's greatest playwright since Strindberg. His work is widely produced and celebrated in Europe. His best-known plays include Autumn and Winter, Blood, War, and Night Is Mother To The Day. Since 1993 he has directed for the theater, staging plays by Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Ibsen, and Chekhov, as well as his own texts. He succeeded Ingmar Bergman at the head of the National Theater in Stockholm. He later ran Riksteatern, and since 2009 he has been working as the manager of Göteborg’s new theater, Folkteatern.
The American character actor and writer Wallace Shawn was born in New York City in 1943. He has excelled on stage, TV and film, garnering international recognition from acting in Woody Allen's Manhattan, Star Trek, Toy Story, and James Ivory's The Bostonians and from his brilliant collaborations with director André Gregory, including My Dinner With André, Vanya on 42nd Street, and Grasses of A Thousand Colors. Shawn has pursued a parallel career as a playwright and scriptwriter. His most well known works are My Dinner With Andre, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Designated Mourner. Wallace Shawn received his second OBIE Award for The Fever.
[Photo credit: François Berthon]