Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Actors' Gang Presents Hélène Cixous’s Oy!

Culver City, CA, August 26, 2013…The Actors’ Gang, the critically acclaimed Los Angeles based ensemble theatre company, presents Hélène Cixous’s Oy! Directed by Georges Bigot, Assistant Directed by Christiane Georgi opening Saturday, September 21 at 8pm. Show runs Thursday and Saturday evenings at 8pm and Sunday Matinee’s at 2pm at the company’s home theater at the Ivy Substation in Culver City, California. Tickets are available by phone 310.838.4264 or online at www.TheActorsGang.com
Through Oy!, playwright Helene Cixous interrogates the question of forgiveness, the work of memories and transmission to new generations, and the state of modern racism throughout the world. Oy! is the story of two German Jewish sisters, Selma and Jenny, who in 1995 in their late eighties are some of the last remaining witnesses to the period of Nazism in Europe. They return to their home in Paris after a trip to the German city of their youth. Upon their return to Paris, the sisters try to make something of the swirl of emotions, opinions and memories that have surfaced and all the things they were not able to express in Germany. Through their simple, flavorful work together, they begin to unravel the complexities of a society’s internalized racism – the broad anti-Semitism that so darkly colored their past.  Based on close family members of the playwright, the interaction between these fictional sisters is honest, emotional, humorous and compelling.  
Mr. Bigot says of this production, “Hélène Cixous is for me a kind of contemporary Shakespeare.  Like him, she places her writing desk in the human heart.  Her play, Oy!, is a theatrical ceremony, a memory resonating with our present.”
Director George Bigot has a long and rich history with The Actors’ Gang.  In 1984, Los Angeles was home to the Olympic Arts Festival, which brought Le Théâtre du Soleil and Mr. Bigot to Los Angeles, where they performed the Shakespeare cycle.  This was a watershed event for The Gang. Several Gang members including Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, took acting workshops with Mr. Bigot, based on the style of Theatre du Soleil and the spirit of working in ensemble. Mr. Robbins has said of this moment, “Working with Georges was a seminal moment for The Actors’ Gang.  He introduced a form and a discipline that respected the traditions of theatre and brought great passion to our commitment as an ensemble to produce theater that is vital and relevant.”
 About the Director, Georges Bigot
Georges Bigot is an internationally acclaimed actor and director and has been a lead actor at the Théâtre du Soleil since 1981. Under the direction of famed director, Ariane Mnouchkine, he appeared in Richard II, Twelfth Night, and Henry IV by William Shakespeare; The Terrible but Unfinished History of King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and L ' Indiade  by Hélène Cixous; Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides; and Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus.  He has performed the pivotal roles of King Richard II, the Duke Orsino, Prince of Wales, Prince Sihanouk and Pandit Nehru. 
In 1986 he received the National Union of Critics award for best actor for the role of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Some recent work as an actor include Ciels written and directed by Wajdi Mouawad created in Avignon Festival; Penelope O Penelope written and directed by Simon Abkarian ; The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, directed by Philippe Adrien ; Titus Andronicus, by Shakespeare, directed by Simon Abkarian, Life of Galileo by Bertold Brecht, directed by Christophe Rauck ; and Le Cid by Corneille directed by Declan Donnelan.
As a director, for over the past two decades, Mr. Bigot has staged productions such as Kalo by Maurice Durozier; La Dispute by Marivaux; Ambrouille (a collective writing of the le Petit Théâtre de Pain in French Pays Basque); The Return of Bougouniéré and Ségou Fassa with Atelier of Bamaco Mali ; and The Seagull by Anton Chekhov at The Actors’ Gang.  Recently, he translated and directed Embedded by Tim Robbins, (presented for the first time in France).  After long development, including a period of four years in Cambodia, Mr. Bigot directed the first part of The Terrible but Unfinished History of King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia by Hélène Cixous in Cambodia (created in December 2011 in Festival Sens Interdit from Lyon and at Le Théâtre du Soleil in Paris).  The second part of this creation is still in development and will premiere in 2013 in France, with plans to tour to the United States and beyond.
Mr. Bigot has directed theater and theater workshops throughout the world (Cambodia, Los Angeles, El Salvador, Brazil, Singapore, Chicago, Chile, Lebanon) and in many French national drama centers, theater companies, and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris.  He taught acting at the University of Bordeaux from 1993 to 2001, and directed the theater festival "Les Chantiers de Blaye" for six years. He continues to expand his work both as an actor and a director, in France and around the world. 
About the playwright, Hélène Cixous
Hélène Cixous is a professor, French feminist writer, poet, playwright, philosopher, literary critic and rhetorician. Born in Algeria in 1937, Ms. Cixous received French nationality at birth, but in 1941 her citizenship was revoked by the anti-Jewish laws of the Vichy regime.  In 1955 she moved to France and began a long career examining concepts of nationality, feminism and human interaction.  She holds honorary degrees from Queen's University and the University of Alberta in Canada; University College Dublin in Ireland; the University of York and University College London in the UK; and Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA.  
Helene Cixous is best known as a playwright for her epic work with Le Théâtre du Soleil. She has published over 70 works; her fiction, dramatic writing and poetry, however, are not often read in English. Ms. Cixous’s inimitable writing style has been described as ”not simply translatable.”  Literary critic Eric Prenowitz says of her work,” A translator of Cixous is never a fixed monument, but a smuggler, a furtive border-crosser, and a witness.”  In 2008 she was appointed as A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University until June 2014.  In 2000, a collection in Cixous's name was created at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France after Ms. Cixous donated the entirety of her manuscripts to date. They then were featured in the exhibit "Brouillons d'écrivains" held there in 2001.  “Cixous's work as a playwright - working mainly with Le Théâtre du Soleil and their director Ariane Mnouchkine - establishes her as a participant in some of the most adventurous European theatre making of the last 40 years.” – Psychology Press, 2004

The Actors’ Gang
For 32 years, The Actors’ Gang has received international acclaim for presenting over 150 new, unconventional and uncompromising plays and dynamic reinterpretations of the classics in Los Angeles, throughout the United States, and on five continents. Guided by Founding Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, and Co-Artistic Director, Cynthia Ettinger, the company was founded in 1981 by a group of like minded artists looking to create theater relevant to the society we live in and restore the ancient sense of the stage as a shared sacred space

The Actors' Gang has presented the work of innovative theater artists including Georges Bigot and  Simon Abkarian of the Theatre du Soleil, Bill Rauch and the Cornerstone Theatre Company, Culture Clash, Oskar Eustis, Tracy Young, Charles Mee, Roger Guenver Smith, Eric Bogosian, David Schweizer, Danny Hoch, Beth Milles, Brian Kulick, Stefan Haves, Namaste Theater Company, Jason Reed, Michael Schlitt, and Tenacious D.

The Actors' Gang ensemble has included accomplished actors such as Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Helen Hunt, Jeremy Piven, Jon Favreau, Kate Walsh, Fisher Stevens, Ebbe Roe Smith, Brent Hinkley, Kate Mulligan, Lee Arenberg, Kyle Gass and Tim Robbins. 

The Actors’ Gang began touring its productions throughout the world in 1989, representing the US at the Edinburgh Festival with Carnage, a Comedy before moving to the Public Theater in New York. Since then the company has toured in Europe, Asia, Australia, Central and South America and throughout the US with productions such as 1984, The Trial of the Catonsville 9, The Guys, The Exonerated and Embedded. In 2004, The Actors’ Gang performed its anti Iraq war satire Embedded to four months of sold-out houses at New York’s Public Theater and in 2001 Bat Boy: The Musical won the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics awards for best new musical Off-Broadway. 

Performances of Oy! Begin Saturday, September 20 at 8pm and run Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday matinee’s at 2pm

The Actors' Gang is located at the Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd. (near the intersection of Culver and Venice Blvds.) in Culver City.  Two hours free parking is available throughout downtown Culver City; the Ince Parking Lot (corner of Culver and Ince) is directly across the street from the theater. Several restaurants are only a few blocks' walk from The Actors' Gang and offer a variety of dining options before and after the theater. Show your ticket stub at Akasha, Kay N’ Dave’s, Rush Street, La Rocco’s Pizzeria, and City Tavern to receive 10% off your meal. Show your ticket stub at Ugo Café to receive a free gelato. 

The Ivy Substation is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.  For reservations and information, call The Actors' Gang Box Office at 310-838-GANG (310-838-4264) or visit www.theactorsgang.com

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