Ashley Tata’s Women-Led Production of Molière’s Tragicomedy Dom Juan Opens Bard SummerScape 2022, June 23–July 17
Bridging 17th Century France and Late-‘70s America, This World Premiere Production Interrogates Questions of Class, Faith, Gender, and the Individual’s Responsibility to Society
Dom Juan Features a New Translation Commissioned from Scholar Sylvaine Guyot and Fisher Center Artistic Director Gideon Lester
Cast Includes Jordan Bellow, Roger Casey, Kirsten Harvey, Pauli Pontrelli, Zuzanna Szadkowski, Alok Tewari, Tony Torn, and Amelia Workman
The Fisher Center at Bard, which has become one of the world’s preeminent sources of major multidisciplinary performance works, presents a bold, gender-reframed, era-transcending vision of Molière’s 1665 tragicomedy Dom Juan, conceived and directed by Ashley Tata, with a new translation from NYU Professor of French Literature and theater scholar Sylvaine Guyot and Fisher Center Artistic Director Gideon Lester. Reimagining both the titular libertine (Amelia Workman, Fefu and Her Friends at TFANA) and Sganarelle (Gossip Girl’s Zuzanna Szadkowski), Dom Juan’s assistant and sidekick, as women, Tata recasts this subversive, hilarious, and incisive work in a contemporary light—creating a Dom Juan for the 21st century. Commissioned as the opening production of Bard SummerScape 2022, and marking this year’s global celebrations of Molière’s 400th anniversary, Dom Juan makes its world premiere June 23–July 17.
Rounding out Dom Juan’s cast are Jordan Bellow (GNIT at TFANA) as Elver, Roger Casey (Good Girl Gone Bad at HERE) as Pierrot/Alonso, Kirsten Harvey (Die Tote Stadt in the 2019 Bard Music Festival) as Carla/Charlotte, Pauli Pontrelli (The Visitor at the Public Theater) as Gusman/Matty, Alok Tewari (The Band’s Visit original Broadway cast, Homeland) as Louis, Tony Torn (Venus at Signature Theater, Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway) as A Poor Man/Mr. Sunday, and additional cast members to be announced. The creative team includes several of Tata’s collaborators from her celebrated 2020 virtual production of Mad Forest, including Paul Pinto (Original Music), Dan Safer (Choreography), Afsoon Pajoufar (Scenic Design), and Ásta Bennie Hostetter (Costume Design) joined by Cha See (Lighting Design), Chad Raines (Sound Design), Lisa Renkel (Video Design), Fre Howard / Faces by Fre (Hair and Makeup Design), Cha Ramos (Intimacy and Fight Direction), and Taylor Williams (Casting).
Molière’s portrait of the libertine Dom Juan combines slapstick comedy with the taut psychology of a thriller. With this production, Tata—currently serving as Visiting Artist-in-Residence in Theater and Performance at Bard College—becomes one of the first women directors ever to tackle the Molière classic. Setting his story in a fantasy world where 17th-century France meets late-1970s America (right after the passing of Roe V. Wade—and reverberating in a moment when Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned), her production asks: what is it for a woman to be a libertine? With this glittering and ferocious interpretation of Molière’s study of lust and power, Tata freshly examines class, faith, gender, and the individual’s responsibility to society.
Tata describes the world of her Dom Juan, “Our production is an invitation to collectively imagine a world where the 17th century France of Louis XIV and Molière overlaps with society right after the passing of Roe V. Wade and at the beginning of a period that will give rise to what I’ve come to think of as The Trump Baroque. Our dynamic duo are two women who live in a patriarchal society where strides towards equality have been made and on paper a woman or non-binary person have the same rights and opportunities as a cis-man—but we have a long way to go, baby. Class is the determining factor of one’s opportunities.”
Tata directed Bard’s live online production of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest during the 2020 lockdown; hailed as “fervently inventive” (New York Times) and “a revelation” (New York Theater), the production subsequently transferred off-Broadway to Theatre for a New Audience. Bard’s other theatrical success stories include SummerScape 2015’s Oklahoma!, which went on to win a Tony Award on Broadway, is currently touring the U.S., and opens in London this May. Like that Daniel Fish production—which originated with an earlier staging by Fish with Bard students—Tata’s Dom Juan is preceded by a production she directed (albeit with a different concept and translation) in March 2016. Kirsten Harvey ‘17, who played Donna Elvira (a character now called Elver in Tata’s 2022 production) in that initial vision, now takes on the role of Carla (Dom Carlos in Molière’s original text), Elver’s sister.
Performance Schedule and Ticketing
Performances of Dom Juan take place June 23–25, & 30, July 1, 3, 7–9, 14, & 15 at 7:30 pm; July 2 at 7pm; June 26, 29, July 6, 9, 10, 13, 16, & 17 at 2pm; and July 2 at 1pm in the LUMA Theater at the Fisher Center (Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504). There will be an opening night reception for members, Saturday, July 2; a post-performance conversation Sunday, July 10, following the matinee performance; and a pre-performance conversation Wednesday, July 13.
Tickets, starting at $25 ($5 for Bard students), can be purchased at fishercenter.bard.edu or 845-758-7900.
About Ashley Tata
Ashley Tata makes multimedia works of theater, contemporary opera, performance, cyberformance, live music, and immersive experiences. These works have been called “fervently inventive,” by Ben Brantley in The New York Times, “extraordinarily powerful” by The Los Angeles Times, and a “notable production of the decade” by Alex Ross of TheNew Yorker. They have been presented in venues and festivals throughout the US and internationally including Theatre for a New Audience, the Fisher Center at Bard, LA Opera, Austin Opera, The Miller Theater, National Sawdust, EMPAC, BPAC, FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival, Holland Festival, The Prelude Festival, and The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Tata is also an educator and is currently on faculty at the College of Performing Arts at the New School and at Bard College. For more information, visit www.tatatime.live.
About Sylvaine Guyot
Sylvaine Guyot is a professor of French Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University. She is the author of Racine ou l’alchimie du tragique (PUF, 2010) and Racine et le corps tragique (PUF, 2014). She has co-edited a special issue of Littératures classiques on L’Œil classique (2013, with T. Conley), a new edition of Racine’s Théâtre complet (Garnier, 2013, with A. Viala), and a forthcoming volume on The Eighteenth-Century French Stage Online (MIT Press, 2018, with J. Ravel). She has published numerous articles on Corneille, the intersections of drama and painting, Louis Marin, the figure of the king in 17th-century tragedy, as well as the development of aesthetics and the neoclassical sublime.
About Gideon Lester
Gideon Lester’s previous translations include plays by Brecht, Büchner, Marivaux, and Vinaver. Adaptations include Kafka’s Amerika and Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. He has been artistic director of the Fisher Center at Bard since 2012, where recent projects include Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets, Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! (Tony award) and Most Happy, Will Rawls/Claudia Rankine’s What Remains, and three editions of the Fisher Center LAB biennial. A professor of Theater & Performance at Bard and senior curator of the Center for Human Rights and the Arts, he was previously co-curator of Crossing the Line Festival and associate artistic director of the American Repertory Theater.
About Amelia Workman
Amelia Workman's stage career has led her to work with Pulitzer-winning playwrights, perform in over a dozen countries, and understudy Kerry Washington on Broadway. In 2019 she played the titular role in the lauded revival of Fornez’s Fefu and her Friends, and most recently she originated the role of Jane Anger in Jane Anger, opposite Michael Urie. Her television credits include Bull, Blindspot, and Succession (selected). For more information, visit ameliaworkman.com.
About Zuzanna Szadkowski
Zuzanna is known for playing Dorota on Gossip Girl. She can be seen as Mabel Ainsley on HBO’s The Gilded Age and in the upcoming Showtime series Three Women. Other television and film credits include Worth, Bull, Search Party, The Knick, The Good Wife and Girls. Theater credits include queens at LCT3, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet (WSJ Performance of the Year 2018) with Bedlam, The Comedy of Errors at the Public Theater, King Philip’s Head… with Clubbed Thumb and regional work at Bristol Riverside Theatre, The Actors Theater of Louisville, Two River Theater and at the Bucks County Playhouse. B.A. from Barnard College and M.F.A. from A.R.T./MXAT Institute at Harvard.
About Jordan Bellow
New York: California with Clubbed Thumb; Gnit with Theatre for a New Audience; Ransom with Arts On Site; Interior with 59E59 Theaters; The Russian and the Jew with The Tank; The Feels...KMS with New Ohio; Macbeth and Alkestiswith The Connelly. Regional: Westport Country Playhouse; Denver Center; Syracuse Stage; Indiana Repertory Theatre; Florida Studio Theatre and South Coast Repertory. Television: Dickinson; Gotham; Orange is the New Black.
About Roger Casey
Roger Casey is a New York-based artist. Recent Theater credits include Dick Rivington & the Cat - Councillor Warren(Abrons Arts Center), Playboy of the Western World - Christopher (Irish Rep), BrandoCapote – Marlon Brando – (The Tank), Not Knowing – Bob – (3-Legged-Dog), Living the Dream – Tyke Peacock – (52nd St. Project), CasablancaBOX– Humphrey Bogart – (HERE Arts), The Dudleys – Officer Peters – (Loading Dock Theatre), H5: Life after Death – Steffon – (Schomburg Center), Good Girl Gone Bad – The Man – HERE Arts, You Should Be here – Dexter – (The Amoralists), God is a Verb - Bob/Undergrad – (Hook & Eye Theater), Lunchtime in Heaven - Freddie Gray - (48hrs in Harlem, National Black Theatre), The Return - Adam - (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Tyson Vs. Ali - Mike Tyson & Muhammad Ali - (3-Legged Dog & Foxy Films), Coal Run Road - Caleb Cobb - (Kraine Theatre), The Misanthrope - Acaste - (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), 12th Night – Antonio (STNJ). Recent Film/TV: Coyote In Inglewood, Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 3. Screenwriting: Cry Wolf, Book. Recent VO work: Tiger Woods, The Unquiet Grave, The Book in room 316.
About Kirsten Harvey
Kirsten returns to the Bard stage having previously performed in the 2019 Bard Music Festival production of Korngold’s opera Die Tote Stadt directed by Jordan Fein. Her recent credits include the world premieres of Lily Houghton’s Of the woman… (Normal Ave) and Kedian Keohan’s Panic Encyclopedia (the Brick). Kirsten is a founding member of Lisa Fagan's company CHILD, with whom she debuted new work at LifeWorld and Mercury Store in 2022. She has developed work with Lee Sunday Evans, PlayCo, Waterwell, Soho Rep, and Ensemble Studio Theater. BA: Bard College. @kirstensharvey www.kirstensharvey.com
About Pauli Pontrelli
Pauli Pontrelli’s theater credits include The Visitor (The Public, Original Cast Recording), This Clement World (St. Ann’s Warehouse), House of Dance (Half Straddle, Zürich Theater Spektakel, Kyoto Experiment), Look Upon Our Lowliness (The Movement). Tiny Beautiful Things (Long Wharf), The Aliens (Chester Theatre Company). TV/Film: Instinct (CBS), Fry Day. MFA: NYU Grad Acting.
About Alok Tewari
Broadway: The Band’s Visit. Other theater: India Pale Ale (MTC); Monsoon Wedding (Berkeley Rep); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic); Awake and Sing! (Public / NAATCO); A Fable, Through the Yellow Hour, War (Rattlestick); Bunty Berman Presents, Rafta, Rafta… (New Group). Television: The Good Fight, Ramy, FBI, Billions, BULL, Looming Tower, Iron Fist, House of Cards, Madam Secretary, Homeland, Fringe. Upcoming TV: Jigsaw Film: 40-Love, Pirates of Somalia,Shelter, Brooklyn’s Finest.
About Tony Torn
Recent Theater: Spider Rabbit (Verse Theatre of the Americas), Superterranean (Pig Iron Theater Company), Paul Swan Is Dead And Gone (The Civilians). Recent TV: Law & Order SVU, Teenage Bounty Hunters, The Blacklist. Tony is known for working extensively with celebrated experimental theater-makers Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, as the founding director of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, playing Rusty Trawler in Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway opposite Emilia Clark, and creating and starring in Ubu Sings Ubu with Dan Safer. He manages Torn Page, a private event space named in honor of his parents Rip Torn and Geraldine Page.
The 2022 SummerScape season is made possible in part by the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Advisory Boards of the Fisher Center at Bard and Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center and Bard Music Festival members. The 2022 Bard Music Festival has received funding from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
The commissioning and development of Dom Juan is made possible through the Fisher Center’s Artistic Innovation Fund, with lead support from Rebecca Gold and S. Asher Gelman ’06 through the March Forth Foundation.
About the Fisher Center
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 162-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.
The Center presents more than 200 world-class events and welcomes 50,000 visitors each year. The Fisher Center supports artists at all stages of their careers and employs more than 300 professional artists annually. The Fisher Center is a powerful catalyst of art-making regionally, nationally, and worldwide. Every year it produces 8 to 10 major new works in various disciplines. Over the past five years, its commissioned productions have been seen in more than 100 communities around the world. During the 2018–2019 season, six Fisher Center productions toured nationally and internationally. In 2019, the Fisher Center won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma!, which began its life in 2007 as an undergraduate production at Bard and was produced professionally in the Fisher Center’s SummerScape Festival in 2015 before transferring to New York City.
For more information, please contact Blake Zidell of Blake Zidell & Associates at [email protected] or 917.572.2943.
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