La MaMa will present The Fever, a gripping play by Wallace Shawn (My Dinner With André, Vanya on 42nd Street, and Grasses of A Thousand Colors), in a new production directed by Lars Norén, one of Sweden's most prominent playwrights/directors, and featuring acclaimed French-Romanian actress Simona Maicanescu. This powerful dramatic monologue, written between 1985 and 1990 but more relevant now than ever, is a fierce, forensic examination of social inequality and the links between the affluence many take for granted and the poverty and suffering that haunt the lives of millions. Running for a two-week American debut at La MaMa's first-floor theater - January 24 to February 3rd - the 80-minute French production is an adaptation by Maicanescu and Norén, drawing both from Shawn's original text and his 2007 rewrite. Since 2009, Maicanescu (best known for her work with Andrei Serban in Romania, André Wilms, Lukas Hemleb and Jean-François Peyret at Paris' famed Odéon Theater, and her roles in the TV series Spiral (Engrenages) and Splice) has performed the show to critical acclaim in both French and English throughout France and at international festivals in Sweden, Luxemburg, and Romania. The Fever marks her first one-woman show and the first time Lars Norén directs a contemporary piece other than his own. It will be performed in English.
In this hallucinatory, spiraling narrative, an unnamed upper-middle-class woman from New York wakes up fevered and frightened in the bug-infested hotel room of some war-torn country and begins probing the very foundations on which both her way of living and her way of thinking are based. A Candide of our times, this naïve traveler replays scenes from the past and questions the history of every material object, unable to keep pretending that "we live in a world where coats have no history, but just fall down from heaven with the prices marked inside." The humor is quirky, and the questions are unsettling. They are not meant to be answered, but to bring attention to the shocking landscape of social injustice through which most of us walk every day and almost all of us fail to see. Wallace Shawn's brilliant text offers a profound and provocative insight into what it means to be a liberal, compassionate individual, and at the same time a member of the privileged class in a rich society whose very existence is based upon the suppression of others less fortunate.
"The Fever is an attempt to state the obvious so that the obvious can finally be seen. In my view, injustice, and particularly economical injustice, still is the root cause of the rage which everyone feels all around them. The injustice is brutal, it's astounding, and it's everywhere, and it's not hidden at all, but it's still so upsetting that even the most enlightened of us can only glimpse it for moments at a time." - Wallace Shawn (2008)
Running time: 85 minutes
Written by Wallace Shawn
Adaptation by Simona Maicanescu and Lars Norén
Performed by Simona Maicanescu (Paris)
Directed by Lars Norén
Lighting by Jean Poisson
Costume by Chatoon
Sound by Sophie Buisson
Artistic collaboration: Nelly Bonnafous, Bob Meyer
January 24 [Thu.]: 7:30 p.m.
January 24-27 [Thu-Sun] & January 31-February 3 [Thu-Sun]
Thursday-Saturday: 7:30 pm
Sunday: 2:30 pm
La MaMA, First Floor Theater, 74 East 4th Street, New York
Tickets: $18 / $13 for Students & Seniors
Online tickets and information: www.lamama.org
Box Office: 212-475-7710