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World Premiere of John Banville’s Love in the Wars

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Chris Stack and Brigit Huppuch - JULIETA CERVANTES
  • Julieta Cervantes
  • Chris Stack and Brigit Huppuch


Bard SummerScape Presents World Premiere of Love in the Wars

Opening July 10, Bard SummerScape presents the world premiere of Love in the Wars, an adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s romantic drama Penthesilea by the Booker Prize–winning novelist John Banville. Starring Obie Award winner Birgit Huppuch and One Life to Live’s Chris Stack, Bard’s premiere production is by Ken Rus Schmoll, the Obie Award–winning director “whose name attached to a show most warms us with optimism” (Village Voice). Representing a fresh, playful, and earthy take on Kleist’s original, Love in the Wars will be presented in two previews and eight performances between July 10 and 20 in Theater Two of the Fisher Center, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark.

As in previous years, SummerScape is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 25th anniversary season with an exploration of “Schubert and His World.” The German poet, dramatist, and novelist Heinrich von Kleist—Schubert’s close contemporary—is now recognized as “by far the most important North German dramatist of the Romantic movement” (Encyclopedia Brittanica). His romantic drama Penthesilea, drawn loosely from Homer, recounts the meeting between its eponymous heroine, the Queen of the Amazons, and the Greek hero Achilles; the ferocity of her passion collides with his stubborn will, setting in motion a tragicomedy of love and misunderstanding that threatens to derail the course of history.

SummerScape’s world premiere presentation of Love in the Wars is the creation of Ken Rus Schmoll—winner of two Obies and hailed as “adventurous” and “inventive” by the New York Times—who makes his SummerScape debut after a string of recent Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway successes. Birgit Huppuch, a “bona fide tour de force” (New York Times), whose previous collaborations with the director include her Obie-winning Off-Broadway turn in Telephone, stars as the Amazon queen Penthesilea. Opposite her, as her prisoner-of-war Achilles, is Chris Stack, best known as Dr. Michael McBain on ABC’s One Life to Live and for his recent stage work at Soho Rep and Playwrights Horizons. Karen Pittman, as seen on TV’s House of Cards and The Americans, plays the queen’s confidante, Prothoe, with “the always suberb” (Village Voice) Karen Kandel (fresh from Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information at New York Theatre Workshop) as the Amazon High Priestess, and Stacey Yen (recently seen Off-Broadway in Eager to Lose at Ars Nova) as the Amazon warrior Asteria. Chad Goodridge, a breakout talent after appearing in Passing Strange on Broadway, portrays Greek warrior Diomedes, alongside “acting standout” (Broadway World) KeiLyn Durrel Jones as the Greeks’ leader, Agamemnon.

For more information visit fishercenter.bard.edu or call 845-758-7900.

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