Marriage (an utterly improbable occurrence in two acts)
by Nikolai Gogol
The Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5
February 8 - 26, 2012
Directed by Tina Brock
Assistant Directors/Stage Managers
Gregory Day/Jaime Pannone
Assistant Lighting Design
Evan Leigh, Jaime Pannone, John D'Alonzo, Tina Brock and Bob Schmidt
Box Office Manager
Johanna Austin / AustinArt.org
Animals & Cannibals by 3 Leg Torso
This production is made possible in part by generous grants from:
The Samuel S. Fels Fund, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund and The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, through Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with additional support from PECO.
The IRC participates in the Barrymore Awards Honoring Excellence in Theater
Playing time is approximately 90 minutes; there will be no intermission.
Marriage (An Utterly Improbably Occurrence in Two Acts) (2012)
"Plot isn’t the point, but style is, and the IRC production carries Marriage off with considerable ridiculopathy."
Toby Zinman, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"The only company brave enough to regularly produce plays that explore our often non-sensical world, IRC has produced five seasons of odd but fabulous plays that would otherwise never grace a local stage."
J. Cooper Robb, The Philadelphia Weekly
“Trust Tina Brock's Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium not only to unearth another gem — Russian Nikolai Gogol's obscure "utterly improbable occurrence in two acts," a farce about the business of matrimony — but to provide another superb production in a tiny room."
Bruce Walsh, Metro Philadelphia
It seemed like the right place, right time for a good crop of fairy tales, so for 2012 we’re ushering in two rarely-performed works to coax you into the spirit.
Renowned playwrights Nikolai Gogol (Russia) and Witold Gombrowicz (Poland) wrote groundbreaking, absurdist-leaning plays and novels in the early-mid 19th and 20th centuries that made an indelible mark on drama and greatly influenced generations of writers to follow.
We uncovered Gogol’s Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts after seeing Geoffrey Rush perform as the lowly civil servant Poprischin in the darkly comic short story Diary of a Madman. Driven mad by bureaucracy, Poprischin loses his mind though the course of the story. Gogol captures the insanity and the conundrum of the human condition beautifully; Rush gave Poprischin red hot life onstage.
Russian political and literary historian Dmitry Petrovich Svyatopolk-Mirsky characterized Gogol's universe as "one of the most marvelous, unexpected -- in the strictest sense, original -- worlds ever created by an artist of words….his people are caricatures… but these cartoons have a convincing quality, a truthfulness, and inevitability, attained by slight but definitive strokes of unexpected reality…” In his book “The Technique of the Comic in Gogol,” writer Alexander Slonimsky says this about Gogol’s humor, “…humor, as the opposite of the sublime, annihilates not what is individual, but what is finite, by setting it in contrast with the idea. For humor, no individual foolishness and no individual fools exist, but only foolishness as such and a nonsensical world.” Russian literary critic Vissarion Belinsky, described Gogol’s humor as “...a comic outlook that is always overcome by a deep sadness and despondency…”
Thanks to all the many folks who helped bring Gogol’s world to life, we hope you enjoy.
And, if I might make so bold, would you be so kind as to pass on the word about the IRC to a like-minded comrade who enjoys a penchant for all Well wishes,
Producing Artistic Director
Friday, February 10, 2012
The Philadelphia Weekly
Arts and Culture 2/15/- 2/21
by J. Cooper Robb
The only company brave enough to regularly produce plays that explore our often non-sensical world, IRC has produced five seasons of odd but fabulous plays that would otherwise never grace a local stage. This week, IRC begins its two show season of "Fractured Fairy Tales" with the pioneering Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol's 1833 play Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts. IRC's fresh, contemporary staging of Gogol's farcical look at the hallowed institution of marriage takes it's inspiration from Bravo's bizarre dating show Millionaire Matchmaker. Millionaire focuses on a woman who is in the business of finding the perfect spouse for her super-rich (and often egocentric clients. Gogol's narcissistic characters are likewise desperate to wed, yet so blinded by their desire to nab the ideal mate they can't see their own imperfections.
Friday, February 10, 2012
The Philadelphia Inquirer
MARRIAGE (an utterly improbable occurrence in two acts)
by Toby Zinman
Nikolai Gogol, the 19th century Russian writer with a strong sense of the ridiculopathy of life—after all he wrote a story about a nose would seem to be a perfect fit with the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, a theatre company specializing in Theatre of the Absurd. Gogol’s play, Marriage (an utterly improbably occurrence in two acts) isn’t really Absurdist drama—it’s a farce, complete with loud voices, many doors (and a significant window).
Under Tina Brock’s direction, everything is farcically exaggerated: costumes (Erica Hoeschler) and a nifty set (Anna Kiraly) where all the much-discussed furnishings are flat painted images, with flat painted trees outside. It’s all amusing, in that broad, 19th century Russian way.
“There are such bloody awful names in Russian—they make you want to spit and cross yourself.” That being the case, it’s quite possible that I’ll mis-identify some of these actors, since it’s nearly impossible to keep their characters’ names straight. But here goes:
A young woman, Agafa Tikhonovna Kuperdyagina (see what I mean?) played by Kristen Egermeier needs a husband. Her ditsy mother Arina Panteleimonovna (Sonja Robson) agrees. Enter a matchmaker, Fyokla Feklusha Ivanovna (Tina Brock) has six candidates—one handsome, one fat, twin peasants, a young gentleman, a retired naval officer-- lined up for her to choose among. This is a predictable occasion for class insults. Meanwhile, one of the eligibles is being hounded by his friend to hurry up and marry (motive unclear unless it’s simply that misery loves company).
The guys—John D’Alonzo, David Stanger, Ethan Lipkin, Joe Matyas, Michael Dura and Tomas Dura-- are all good, although Brian McCann as the old deaf lecher is outstanding.
There is much balking at the gate; first the groom then the bride then the groom again, then the bride again until finally…. Well, it hardly matters. Plot isn’t the point, but style is, and the IRC production carries Marriage off with considerable ridiculopathy.
Posted: Thu, Jan. 12, 2012, 11:11 AM
Philadelphia City Paper
Second Season Arts: Theater
by Mark Cofta
'Marriage : An Utterly Improbably Occurrence in Two Acts'
Proof David Auburn's 2001 Pulitzer- and Tony-winning drama might seem overdone, but the Walnut Street Theatre's great cast — Alex Keiper, Krista Apple, Bill Van Horn, David Raphaely — makes it worthwhile. Kate Galvin's production will be the second (after last year's Glass Menagerie) that the Walnut tours nationally. Jan. 17-Feb. 3, Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, walnutstreettheatre.org.
The Scottsboro Boys The Philadelphia Theatre Company is the first regional theater to produce John Kander and Fred Ebb's hit musical, but hedges its bets by replicating Susan Stroman's original direction and choreography and enlisting half the Broadway cast, including Tony-nominated, Barrymore-winning Philadelphia stage veteran Forrest McClendon. Jan. 20-Feb. 19, Philadelphia Theatre Company, philadelphiatheatrecompany.org.
Marriage -- Trust Tina Brock's Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium not only to unearth another gem — Russian Nikolai Gogol's obscure "utterly improbable occurrence in two acts," a farce about the business of matrimony — but to provide another superb production in a tiny room. Feb. 8-26, Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org.
A Play, A Pie, and A Pint Tiny Dynamite's Knight Arts Challenge Award-winning season of early-evening one-hour one-acts (served with pizza and beer) was such a hit last October that they're producing four more plays on successive Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Society Hill Playhouse's Red Room. Great theater on the way home. March 6-28, Society Hill Playhouse, tinydynamite.org.
Fool for Love Expect Iron Age's co-directors John Doyle and Randy Wise to revel in the wall-slamming emotional and physical violence that made Sam Shepard's 1983 Obie Award winner about love/hate between half-siblings a groundbreaking hit. For a mini Shepard festival, catch the Wilma's Curse of the Starving Class (March 7-April 8) too. March 1-25, Centre Theater, ironagetheatre.org.
Cyrano Edmond Rostand's classic romance gets a facelift from playwright Michael Hollinger and director Aaron Posner, with Eric Hissom as the titular swashbuckler with the prominent proboscis, plus Philly favorites Luigi Sottile, Benjamin Lloyd, Scott Greer and David Bardeen. March 8-April 15, Arden Theatre Company, ardentheatre.org.
Outside the Frame InterAct offers eight shows and a performance workshop with this festival, subtitled "Voices from the Other America." Lanna Joffrey's Valiant, Tim Miller's Lay of the Land and Najia Said's Palestine highlight a lineup of passionate, issue-oriented plays. March 27-April 22, The Adrienne, interacttheatre.org.
The Golem EgoPo's Festival of Jewish Theatre includes this ensemble-created drama, which sets the scary ancient myth in a real-life scary place: a 1940 German train full of Prague Jews. Brenna Geffers' production will feature live Klezmer music and Jewish-Czech puppetry. March 28-April 15, Prince Music Theater Cabaret, egopo.org.
Angels in America Part I: Millennium Approaches Tony Kushner's 1993 award winner (Tony, Pulitzer) receives a major revival this spring — with Part II: Perestroika slated to start the Wilma's fall 2012 season. No doubt the looming presidential election will reveal fresh insights in this multifaceted epic about love in a time of AIDS. May 23-July 1, Wilma Theater, wilmatheater.org.
Trust Tina Brock's Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium not only to unearth another gem — Russian Nikolai Gogol's obscure "utterly improbable occurrence in two acts," a farce about the business of matrimony — but to provide another superb production in a tiny room. Feb. 8-26, Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org.
November 10, 2011 7:08 p.m.
’Tis the season for great theater
by Bruce Walsh
There may be 14 different productions of “A Christmas Carol” coming to stages near you this holiday season, but don’t be dismayed. During the blustery months ahead, Philadelphia theater offers plenty of non-holiday fare, from recent off-Broadway hits to exciting DIY experiments to rarely seen 19th-century classics. Here are four of the most promising upcoming productions from all corners of the Philly scene (and one unusual holiday play, just for good measure).
‘The Whipping Man’
After a New York production starring Andre Braugher, “Whipping Man” has moved on to regional theaters around the country. Written by newcomer Matthew Lopez, it’s a Civil War tale of a Jewish man returning from the battlefield to confront two former slaves.
Through Dec. 18
Arden Theatre Co.
40 N. Second St.
‘Hershel & The Hanukkah Goblins’
Director Lisa Jo Epstein has teamed up with local playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger to adapt this popular 1994 children’s book by Eric A. Kimmel.
Gas & Electric Arts
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St.
For over six years, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium has been celebrating absurdity, along with some of history’s most distinguished writers. This time up it’s Nikolai Gogol’s 1833 farce, featuring a bachelor who desperately wants to marry, then even more desperately wants to call it off.
Consortium, Walnut Street Studio 5, 825 Walnut St.