Tony Award-winning director Ivo van Hove is bringing the prestigious Comédie-Française, the oldest still-active theatre group in the world, to New York City for the North American premiere of his adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s drama The Damned. The enormous Wade Thompson Drill Hall in the Park Avenue Armory will serve as the backdrop of the production, which traces the destruction of the Essenbeck family and their steel dynasty during the seizure of power of the Nazis in 1933 Germany. The story of the Essenbeck family and the lengths to which they'll go for their own economic benefit is more relevant than ever in today's corrupt political landscape.
The troupe performs 11 months out of the year in France, making international shows quite rare. Although it will be performed in French, the show at the Armory will include English subtitles, as well as cameramen who will film the show close up to better demonstrate the actor's facial expressions and nuances.
"After attending The Damned at its creation in 2016, Pierre Audi shared his desire to welcome Comédie-Française at the Park Avenue Armory," explained Eric Ruf, the General Administrator for Comédie-Francaise. "One of its [The Troupe's] specificities is the ability of its actors to play all repertories, ancient works as well as contemporary ones: I like calling them 'athletes of emotions.' This 'celebration of Evil', as Ivo van Hove says, personifies the perils of alluring ideology and wanton greed during a time of political upheaval. It is a shocking work, a diabolical and claustrophobic atmosphere that reminds us how these terrible times happened and encourages us to be extremely careful."
Watch the trailer, ahead. Tickets can be purchased here.