La MaMa E.T.C.
STRIPTEASE & OUT AT SEA
Written by SLAWOMIR MROZEK
January 2 – 18, 2004 at La MaMa E.T.C., www.lamama.org
Directed by PAUL BARGETTO
Dramaturg AMIEL MELNICK
Sets YOUNG-JU BAIK
Costumes OANA BOTEZ-BAN
Hands SUZANNE WANG
Translators, "Out At Sea" AMIEL MELNICK, ASHA ONISZCZUK
Translator, "Striptease" LOLA GRUENTHAL
Publicity SAM RUDY MEDIA RELATIONS
Cornel Gabara – Nora Laudani – Troy Lavalee – Paul Todaro
In the program biography for playwright Slawomir Mrozek, the audience for STRIPTEASE (1961) and OUT AT SEA (1960) is alerted to the fact that while Mr. Mrozek’s name is familiar in Poland, where he is considered one of but three great modern playwrights, he is virtually unknown in the United States. The biography is, unfortunately, rather accurate. For, as socially, philosophically and politically witty as these two plays come across in translation, one can but wonder at their power when performed in the original Polish.
Though completely different in terms of plot, these two short works fit neatly into one program because the tone is so similar. The first play performed is OUT AT SEA, a piece that presents three hungry men stranded on a raft, and their desperate if seemingly logical methods for alleviating starvation. Adopting the personas of political candidates, the men literally campaign for their lives. The second of the program, STRIPTEASE, introduces two identically dressed businessmen of opposing personal philosophies who are thwarted from their daily journeys by a mysterious entity. In what could be a hopeless effort to mollify the captors, the men quickly find themselves stripping for a giant hand, even as they battle one another.
While the plots of these two plays are relatively simple, the rendering of the works and the details of the thematic development makes them theatrical gems, even if semi-precious ones. The best way to describe this evening entitled STRIPTEASE & OUT AT SEA is to recommend that the serious theatergoer attend a performance. You will feel like you are discovering a fantastic new playwright in Slawomir Mrozek, when what you have really happened upon is a living legend whose time has come to be known on the New York stage and in the United States.
- Kessa De Santis -