The Flea Theater presents the New York premiere of Restoration Comedy by Pultizer Prize-finalist Amy Freed. It will be directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, a 2012 Drama Desk Award nominee for These Seven Sicknesses, and stars The Bats, the resident Acting Company at The Flea. Previews begin November 25 with opening night slated for December 10.
When virtuous Amanda Loveless learns that her rakish dead husband is very much alive, it's time to stop mourning and start plotting. With the help of the gallant Worthy, she disguises herself as a lascivious new mistress to tempt her husband back into her bed. As she triumphantly claims her man, she begins to question whether her marriage is the only true source of happiness. Wicked wit, irresistible intrigue and fabulous fashion combine through a dizzying kaleidoscope of Restoration characters, all chasing the joys of love.
Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar is creating a modern-day Restoration experience with this production. The play will begin with a baroque musicale in the lobby while guests sip on unique holiday cocktails created by Macao Trading Company. The show’s choreography is set to music by the Scissor Sisters. Intermission will feature a burlesque act with hors d’oeuvres from Macao. To end the evening guests will be able to join in a post show dance party and enjoy more libations to aid in the merrymaking.
Iskandar says, “My fascination with the play is rooted in its thoroughly post-modern examination of our right to love freely - told through the lens of the bawdy, fashionable, larger-than-life world of the Restoration, which ultimately posits that ‘while clothing and manners and music may change ... some things don't.’ The Restoration theatre was the social capital of its time, and this production will reimagine that culture in a joyous celebration of society, song and dance.” Echos Ms. Freed, “My hope in working on this material was always to introduce the pleasures of the Restoration era -- its high and low comedy, its sexual freedom, its embrace of life and high style -- to a new generation. What an ideal company and director for this play.”
Restoration Comedy is a radical combination of two plays - Colley Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift and John Vanbrugh’s The Relapse. Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift was 1696’s biggest hit. Vanbrugh so despised the play that he wrote a sequel to undo everything he found inauthentic, creating The Relapse – which became the rival sensation of the season. The combination of these plays– itself an homage to the Restoration fad of sublimating existing sources – brings us smack into the middle of a thoroughly modern marriage debate: is it a legal union, or a stitching of souls?
This production will feature The Bats: Michael Axelrod, Jaspal Binning, Naomi Bland, Brantley Brice, Emily Brown, Allison Buck, Alex Coelho, Whitney Conkling, Matthew Cox, Greg Engbrecht, Eloise Eonnet, Kelechi Ezie, James Fouhey, Justin Garascia, Rosa Gilmore, Cleo Gray, Kerry Ipema, Finn Kilgore, Chase Kinney, Alex Mandell, Anthony Martinez, Jennifer McCormick, Bonnie Milligan, Zac Moon, Seth Moore, Erik Olson, Ivano Pulito, Alexander Seife, Stephen Stout, Liz Tancredi, Jennifer Tsay, and Mari Yamamoto. The design team includes Will Taylor (Choreographer), Julia Noulin-Merat (Scenic Designer), Daniel B. Chapman (Lighting Designer), Loren Shaw (Costume Designer), Jill BC DuBoff and Jeremy Bloom (Sound Designers), and Rowan Doyle (Props Designer).
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar is a 2012 Drama Desk Award nominee for his direction of Sean Graney's These Seven Sicknesses (NY premiere) at The Flea (also a New York Times Critics' Pick). He is Founding Artistic Director of the groundbreaking NYC theatre collective Exit, Pursued By a Bear (EPBB), where he directed These Seven Sicknesses, Jason Williamson’s Lesser Mercies and Arok of Java, King Lear starring Billy Porter and Jeff Whitty's The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler starring Whitty and Porter. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect, a Drama League Directing Fellow, a two-time Resident Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and the recipient of the Robert M. Golden Medal for distinguished achievement in the creative arts and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for work involving social issues. Ed has taught at Stanford (BA Modern Thought & Literature) and Carnegie Mellon (MFA Directing). Upcoming: World premiere of Gabriel Jason Dean's Bacha Bazi (Broadway option, Davenport Theatrical). In the 2012-13 season: NY premieres of Jason Williamson's All Good Angels (EPBB, recipient of EST/Sloan Foundation Grant), Roland Schimmelpfennig's The Golden Dragon (The Play Company), Ismail Khalidi's Tennis in Nablus (The Culture Project), and the Asian premiere of David Ives' Venus in Fur (Singapore Repertory Theatre).