2019–2020 Season

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September  21–October 6, 2019

U.S. PREMIERE

WHY?

Written and Directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne
Featuring Hayley Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter, and Marcello Magni

“In the second half of the 20th century, no director has had more influence or more recognition than Peter Brook.”
—The New York Times (2005, reviewing Michael Kustow’s biography of Peter Brook)

Why theatre? What is it for? What is it about? Why? takes these questions, and many others, on a journey that is both dramatic and joyful. The piece allows us to discover that we are not alone in asking these questions and that many great theatre practitioners have been inspired by the exploration of these questions. “Theatre is a very dangerous weapon.” These words were written in the 1920s by one of the most creative and innovative directors the theatre has known – Vsevolod Meyerhold. Meyerhold saw the menacing dangers that the theatre, and art in general, were facing in 1930s Russia and saw “the writing on the wall.” This did not deter him in his work as he held onto the hope that the revolution could win.

Why? received its world premiere at C.I.C.T/Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, France on June 19, 2019. 

The project was co-commissioned by C.I.C.T./Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Theatre for a New Audience, Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw, National Performing Arts Center, Taiwan R.O.C. – National Taichung Theater, Centro Dramatico Nacional, Madrid; Teatro Dimitri, Verscio, Théâtre Firmin Gérmier, La Piscine.

Why? is presented as part of Crossing the Line Festival. Crossing the Line Festival is produced by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF).

 

November 16–December 12, 2019

FEFU AND HER FRIENDS

By María Irene Fornés
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

“Irene is in the pantheon of the great writers like Beckett or Pinter or Caryl Churchill.”
—Director Joanne Akalaitis, The New York Times (2018)

Fefu and Her Friends, one of the most beloved and discussed plays of the late Cuban-American dramatist María Irene Fornés, tells the story of a group of intelligent, outgoing young women who have so internalized male views of their sex that they lash out indirectly in mysterious ways. A classic of both feminist and environmental theater, Fefu splits its audience into groups that move around to different locations in the theater. The women’s fascinatingly enigmatic gathering at a New England country house in 1935 is seen through multiple perspectives and degrees of intimacy.
 
TFANA’s production is the first Off-Broadway revival of Fefu and Her Friends since American Place Theatre’s 1978 production.

 

January 11–February 9, 2020

TIMON OF ATHENS

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin
A Co-Production with Shakespeare Theatre Company
In Association with the Royal Shakespeare Company

Simon Godwin (Measure for Measure) returns to TFANA with a reimagining of his acclaimed production of Timon of Athens, which premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2017. In this new production with an American company, the character of Timon is regendered as female.
 
Timon lives in a world of opulence and generosity throwing wild parties attended by politicians, artists and the celebrities of Athens. When she loses her wealth and her friends abandon her, Timon takes to the forest, exchanging her luxurious gowns for sackcloth and plotting revenge against the city she loves. This production of Timon of Athens marks the 33rd of Shakespeare’s 38-play canon that TFANA has produced. 

 

March 7–29, 2020

GNIT

By Will Eno
Directed by Oliver Butler

“[Audiences] will delight in how snugly Ibsen’s peculiar drama accommodates Mr. Eno’s flair for playing games with language and his offbeat humor, which cuts to the heart as incisively as it tickles the funny bone.” —The New York Times reviewing the 2013 world premiere of Gnit at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival

Gnit is the celebrated American playwright Will Eno’s acerbically witty adaptation of the Ibsen classic Peer Gynt. Eno has reimagined that sprawling, satirical, 19th-century quest tale as a quick-paced contemporary tragicomedy. Peter Gnit is a feckless, well-meaning sloucher who bounces between glib reactions to Experience and ill-considered efforts at finding his True Self, all the while missing the love, joy, sorrow, goodness and authentic experience that are right in front of his nose. Packed with Eno’s signature wordplay, wit, and deflated pretentiousness, Gnit finds hilarity in calamitous self-deception and profundity in a pratfall life.

 

April 25–May 17, 2020

WAITING FOR GODOT

By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Arin Arbus

“Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.” —The New York Times

Since their first appearance in a tiny Paris theater in 1953, Samuel Beckett’s iconic down-and-outs Vladimir and Estragon have rarely been off the stage. Nearly every evening, somewhere on the globe, they show up for their dubious appointment with a savior named Godot who never comes, filling time with games and musing aphoristically on existence. Hilarious and heartbreaking, Waiting for Godot is the modern theater’s indispensable document of rootlessness, uncertainty, and perpetually postponed deliverance. Godot will be directed by Arin Arbus—Resident Director, TFANA—whose critically acclaimed productions for the company include her OBIE Award-winning staging of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth.

 

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Principal support for Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs is provided by Booth Ferris Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SHS Foundation and The Shubert Foundation, Inc.

Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs are also made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The production of Timon of Athens is supported by endowment funds provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation Fund for Classic Drama, as well as a gift from Constance Christensen.