Freely inspired by Victor Hugo's novel, equal parts horror, comedy, and romance, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS is a "live silent film," performed in grayscale with live music, about a man whose face has been carved into a permanent smile and his desperate quest for the world to take him seriously. Hugo's character of Gwynplaine, "the laughing man", inspired the creation of Batman's infamous nemesis, The Joker.
Stolen Chair's production will fully immerse audiences in a 1920s silent movie house. With freshly popped popcorn in hand they'll watch a humorous and heartrending story told in glorious grayscale through movement and projected title cards, with an original score performed live. Audience members are strongly encouraged to dress in 1920's fashion, and $20 tickets will be available at the door for anyone arriving in costume. There will also be screenings of silent films, which inspired the play, following select performances. Details TBA.
The production will be directed by Jon Stancato (The Bachelors' Tea Party) and will feature Raife Baker (Beyond Measure with The Slant Theater Company), Dave Droxler (trained with Dan Kamin who worked with Johnny Dep on Benny & Joon and Robert Downey Jr. on Chaplin), Jon Froehlich (Cho H Cho with Mabou Mines), Molly O'Neill (Cabaret at Trinity Rep), Noah Schultz (Theatre is Dead and So Are You with Stolen Chair), and Rebecca Whitehurst. The creative team will include Music by Eugene Ma (Saviana Stanescu's Aurolac Blues), Makeup by Jaclyn Schaefer (NYC Fashion Week), Costume Design by Julie Schworm (Theatre is Dead and So Are You), and Lighting Design by Daniel Winters (Kinderspiel).
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, presented by The Stolen Chair Theatre Company at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) will play a four-week engagement January 31-February; Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, with an additional performance on Monday, February 4 at 8:30pm. Tickets ($30; $25 students; $20 in 1920's costume) may be purchased online at www.stolenchair.org or by calling 212-868-4444. The show runs approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Stolen Chair's production of The Man Who Laughs originally premiered with Horse Trade Theater Group at The Red Room in 2005. The play appears in The New York Theatre Experience 2006 anthology Playing With Canons: Explosive New Works From Great Literature By America's Indie Playwrights.