Sunday, March 04, 2018

Apollinaire Theatre Company Presents The U.S. Premiere of "Winter Solstice" by Roland Schimmelpfennig, Translated by David Tushingham

Roland Schimmelpfennig has written a very Germanic play to warn his fellow Germans of the insidious dangers of letting a wolf in sheep's clothing in the door. The elongated shadow of fascism still has this dysfunctional bourgeois German family adumbrated as they prepare to celebrate Christmas and the Winter Solstice. The feel and mood in the play is almost Expressionistic, as Albert (Brian McCarthy) and Bettina (Lindsay Beamish) await the arrival of Bettina's troublesome mother, Corinna (Maureen Adduci). The problematic mother surprises her hosts by inviting in a stranger she had just met on the train, Rudolph (Phil Thompson), an urbane doctor who has come from Paraguay. A fifth character, Konrad (Ambjorn Elder) plays an enigmatic role, reading stage directions that the playwright specified be read, and also functioning as a one man Greek chorus. It is only as the evening wears on that Albert becomes concerned about his guest, who spouts pietistic mottoes about racial purity and the importance of not mixing. The doctor's presence and philosophy has a toxic effect upon Albert.

While clearly meant as a cautionary tale for Germans to never forget how subtly evil can present itself and insinuate itself, this English translation comes at a time when Americans are sorely in need of a similar warning. The shadows that benighted Germany during the Third Reich have begun to creep across our borders, and no wall can keep the darkness from spreading into the very fabric of the life of our fragile republic.

Maureen Adduci as Corinna
Brian McCarthy as Albert
Ambjorn Elder as Konrad
Phil Thompson as Rudolph
Lindsay Beamish as Bettina
"Winter Solstice" by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Translated by David Tushingham
Directed by Brooks Reeves
Apollinaire Theatre Company
Through March 11

Director Brooks Reeves has cleverly apportioned the stage directions among several characters in addition to Konrad. He has his quintet of actors movingly well among the levels of the stylized set, designed and lit by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Costume Design is by Elizabeth Rocha, and Sound Design is by David Reiffel.

The play will run through March 11 at Chelsea Theatre Works.

Apollinaire Website



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