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Casting Announced for TACT/The Actors Company Theatre’s “The Memorandum” by Vaclav Havel

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE

COMPLETE CAST ANNOUNCED FOR
TACT/THE ACTORS COMPANY THEATRE’S
“THE MEMORANDUM”
BY VÁCLAV HAVEL

JENN THOMPSON DIRECTS

IN RESIDENCE AT THE BECKETT THEATRE ON THEATRE ROW

OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 27, 2010

New York, NY
(9/24/10) – TACT/The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones, Co-Artistic Directors), the critically-acclaimed company “dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit,” announces complete casting for The Memorandum, by Václav Havel, the first production of the company’s 2010/11 season. Directed by TACT Company Member and Associate Producer Jenn Thompson, performances begin at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre (410 West 42nd Street - between 9th & 10th Avenues) on Monday, October 25th, 2010 at 7:30pm. Opening night is Thursday, November 4th at 7:30pm. Performances will continue through Saturday, November 27th. Please note: There will be an added performance on Tuesday, November 23rd at 7:30PM and no performance on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th.

The cast of The Memorandum includes TACT Company Members Mark Alhadeff (The Cocktail Party, Incident at Vichy), Jeffrey C. Hawkins (Incident at Vichy, The Confidential Clerk), Simon Jones (TACT Co-Artistic Director, Blithe Spirit, The Cocktail Party), John Plumpis (The Lion King, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Gregory Salata (Bent, Incident at Vichy), Lynn Wright (The Elephant Man, As Bees in Honey Drown) and guest artists Nilanjana Bose (TACT debut, 2010 Juilliard graduate), Trent Dawson (TACT debut, “As The World Turns”) and Kate Levy (On Golden Pond, Well).

The creative team is comprised of Adrian W. Jones (sets), David Toser (costumes), Philip S. Rosenberg (lights), Stephen Kunken (sound), Joseph Trapanese (original music), and Lily Fairbanks (properties). Meredith Dixon is Production Stage Manager.

In The Memorandum, renowned playwright, former political prisoner, and the first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, gives us a spiky satire of bureaucracy gone mad. When the managing director of an enormous organization discovers that all office communications are suddenly being written in “Ptydepe,” a newly invented and impossibly complicated language, his attempts to get one memo translated lead him through an increasingly ridiculous maze of red tape.

Inspired by the absurdities of life in Eastern Europe under Communism, Havel began writing The Memorandum as early as 1960. Rewritten many times over the next few years, it became the second of Havel’s plays produced at Prague’s Theatre of the Balustrade, where he was then literary manager. The play had its American premiere in 1968 as part of Joseph Papp’s inaugural season at The Public Theatre winning an Obie Award for Best Foreign Play. First produced in London in 1977 (and revived in 1995), The Memorandum has been presented regularly around the world. TACT is staging the first major Off Broadway revival in over 40 years.

The Memorandum will have the following performance schedule: Monday, Wednesday – Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $36.25 - $56.25 and are available 24/7 through Telecharge.com/212-239-6200 or at the Theatre Row box office (410 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues) between 12pm and 8pm daily.

TACT/THE ACTORS COMPANY THEATRE’s celebrated company of actors was drawn together in 1992 by a love of the literature of the theatre. Since that time, they have grown to become a true ensemble: a group that has developed a common vocabulary and a technique based on their specific artistic vision and collective body of work. TACT company members, whose cumulative experience includes scores of significant roles on and off Broadway, in the country’s finest regional theatres and in many films and television shows, have received Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, in addition to several Tony nominations.

After presenting thirteen seasons of “in-concert” performances, the company took a leap forward with its 2006-07 season by presenting fully staged productions of David Storey’s Home and The Sea by Edward Bond at The Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row. TACT became a resident company on Theatre Row with its 2007-08 season when they presented critically-acclaimed productions of The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt and The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, by Tennessee Williams, which The New York Times included in its “Top 10 Theatre Picks for 2008.” The company’s productions of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy and last season’s The Late Christopher Bean by Sidney Howard and The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot, became instant hits and enjoyed extended runs.

BIOGRAPHIES

Václav Havel
(Playwright) Although perhaps best known to Americans as a prominent humanitarian and the former president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel is also an enormously important man of the theatre and of one of the most influential Eastern European playwrights of his generation. Born on October 5, 1936, three years before the onset of the Second World War, Havel grew up in a family of politically active, middle-class intellectuals in the suburbs of Prague. Following the communist coup of 1948, Havel’s family’s bourgeoisie background made it increasingly difficult for them to retain their former prominent position in Czech society. In fact, when Havel finished his primary education in 1951 and wanted to continue his studies in the humanities, he was unable to gain admittance to a secondary educational institution because of his family’s background. It was after a brief stint studying economics and two years in the military that Havel discovered the theatre. Starting out as a stagehand, Havel would eventually find his theatrical home at the Theatre on the Balustrade alongside of the prominent director and critic Jan Grossman and his future wife, Olga Splichalova. Havel discovered his theatrical voice during the Czech thaw of the 1960’s and began writing the influential absurdist plays that would prominently place him on both the national and international stage, including The Garden Party, The Memorandum and The Increased Difficulty of Concentration. This brief period of Czech artistic freedom was short-lived, however, and in the wake of the Soviet tanks that rolled into Prague in 1968, Havel began a career as a dissident writer, officially banned in his home country and only able to produce works abroad. Throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s Havel was imprisoned on several occasions, and was under constant surveillance. Indeed, after the 1970’s none of Havel’s plays were performed in Czechoslovakia until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. It was after this peaceful revolution and the fall of Soviet Communism that Havel rose to political prominence, being first elected as President of Czechoslovakia by Parliament from 1989 until the dissolution of the federation in 1992 and, after the formation of the Czech Republic, serving two terms as president until 2003. Throughout his political career Havel worked as a tireless advocate for human rights and freedom of speech. In 2008, Havel premiered the play Leaving, his first theatrical work in over 18 years, at Archa Theatre in Prague. Havel’s theatrical oeuvre includes The Garden Party, The Memorandum, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, Conspirators, The Beggar’s Opera, Audience, Protest, Mistake, Largo Desolato, Temptation, Redevelopment and Leaving. His non-fiction works include The Power of the Powerless, Living in Truth, Letters to Olga, Disturbing the Peace, Towards a Civil Society, The Art of the Impossible and To the Castle and Back.

Jenn Thompson (Director) is both a company member and Associate Producer of TACT, having appeared in several productions and, most recently, directed last season’s critically-acclaimed production of The Late Christopher Bean. Other directing credits for TACT include Bedroom Farce, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (which was included in The New York Times “Top Ten Theatre Picks for 2008”), Ladies in Retirement, My 3 Angels, Rain and Kind Lady. Last fall, Ms. Thompson directed the world premiere of the new musical Seeing Stars at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Other recent NYC directing credits include the world premieres of Badge by Matthew Schneck (Rattlestick), Term Limit by Viki Boyle (American Globe Theatre), The Brilliance of Bernstein (featuring Phyllis Newman - American Musicals Project at the NY Historical Society) and Richard Thompson’s critically acclaimed play Big Doolie, which sold out its run at the 10th Anniversary NYC Fringe Festival. As a Producing Director and founding company member of Connecticut’s award-winning River Rep Theatre Company, she has performed in over 40 plays and musicals and has, most recently, directed productions of The Foreigner, Dinner with Friends, The Heiress and Damn Yankees. As an actress, Ms. Thompson’s credits include extensive appearances in TV and Film, as well as in the Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of Ah, Wilderness!, The Heiress and Annie, and in Off-Broadway productions at Playwrights’ Horizons, the Public Theatre, Soho Rep, The York, American Jewish Theatre, The Hudson Guild, W.P.A., Protean Theatre Company, Perry Street Theatre and Ubu Rep, as well as work at many of the finest regional theatres across the country.

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