(via Jim Byk/Kelly Guiod, The Press Room)
The Wooster Group’s production
of Bertolt Brecht’s
to make US debut
The Performing Garage
Photo: The Wooster Group’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother in rehearsal.
Performers: Ari Fliakos, Kate Valk
Photographer: Michaela Murphy
(July 29, 2021 – New York, NY) – Following its world premiere at Vienna’s prestigious Wiener Festwochen, The Wooster Group’s new production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, will open in New York at The Performing Garage (33 Wooster Street). Performances will run from October 12 – November 6 and an official opening on October 26, 2021. The Mother marks the first time The Wooster Group has staged a work by Brecht.
After a year’s delay due to the global pandemic, the piece premiered in June at Wiener Festwochen, the festival’s only theater piece from the United States. Brecht conceived of The Mother as a “learning play,” intended to both entertain with its clear, plainspoken language and musical numbers, and to incite social change. Brecht addressed the play mainly to working class women. It tells a story of a poor, uneducated Russian mother’s journey to revolutionary action. The play premiered in Berlin in 1932 and was the last of Brecht’s plays to open in Germany before the Nazis seized power.
The Group’s modern American interpretation of The Mother evokes parallels between contemporary political unrest and the socialist revolutions that inspired Brecht’s play. In embracing Brecht’s ideas for his “learning plays,” the Wooster Group takes a direct approach to the source text and incorporates new music by composer Amir ElSaffar.
The Wooster Group’s production of The Mother is composed by the Group, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte and features performances by Kate Valk in the titular role, Jim Fletcher, Ari Fliakos, Gareth Hobbs, and Erin Mullin. The sound is by Eric Sluyter, the video by Irfan Brkovic, and the lighting by David Sexton. Musician and composer Amir ElSaffar, who works across classical, jazz, and Arabic musical forms, has provided new music for the piece. (The play’s original music was written by Hanns Eisler).
The full company for The Mother includes Hai-Ting Chinn (choral music director), Erin Mullin (stage manager), Michaela Murphy (assistant director), Joseph Silovsky (technical direction & set construction), David Glista (technical director at The Performing Garage), Bona Lee (production manager), and Cynthia Hedstrom (producer).
The Mother is supported by co-production funds from Wiener Festwochen and piece by piece productions.
Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; Lucille Lortel Foundation; Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Harold & Mimi Steinberg Foundation; the Group’s Directors Circle; and generous individual donors. A special thank you to Rita Ackermann and Hauser & Wirth.
Music by Amir ElSaffar is commissioned by The Wooster Group with funds from New York State Council on the Arts and New Music USA (made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Howard Gilman Foundation, Anonymous).