Purchase Repertory Theatre presents Three Birds Alighting On A Field, a witty social comedy by Timberlake Wertenbaker about well-to-do Brits and the art scene in 1990’s London where artists and dealers collide. Performances are March 8-13 in the Performing Arts Center. Tickets $20. Box Office 914-251-6200 or www.artscenter.org.
The play is directed by David Bassuk, Professor of Acting and Dean Emeritus of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, and is a first for Purchase. It represents a collaboration of the visual arts, live art, and theatre in which a play has been created within an art installation.
Through video projections incorporated into the stage design, the audience can experience the art and the internal visions of the artists in an ongoing conversation with the themes of the play.
Timberlake Wertenbaker uses the fashion-mad arena of London’s high art scene in 1991 as a means of exposing the difficulty of reaching for national identity after decades of wealth obsession and Tory government. Human values have been usurped by financial valuations. Credit worthiness has replaced integrity and art has been mugged by celebrity culture. Amid the pretentiousness are a few honest souls who bravely attack this vacuous tide through irony, derision and wit, while asserting some notions of real value. The play provides a distant mirror of our own times and country.
The Purchase College designers and actors have created a world that is a synthesis of the themes of the play. According to David Bassuk, “The techniques by which video is utilized are manifold. They include the demonstration of art and the making of art, and articulate the tension between the live and recorded. The video also invokes the image and experience of surveillance, it occupies a sculptural space, emphasizes the utter artifice of the theatrical event, and lastly it acts as a microscope-closing in on and recording elements unbeknownst to the human eye.”
“Our talented designers from different majors in Theatre Arts, Film & Media Studies, and Art & Design have all worked toward creating a world that is a synthesis of the themes of the play-therefore; you have a world of mutable time with an ever-changing vision of Biddy’ s fragmented memory,” said Bassuk. Biddy is the evolving heroine who strives to prove she is “interesting.”
Director David Bassuk, Ridgefield, CT, is a theatre director of many productions, including the world premiere musical Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Chaim Potok’s Off-Broadway The Chosen with Rob Morrow and George Hearn, and “American Camera” produced at Lincoln Center. He was formerly on the artistic staffs of Lincoln Center Theatre, American Place Theatre, and served as Artistic Director at Novel Stages & Arcadia Shakespeare Festival in Philadelphia and was co-Artistic director of Ark Theatre in Los Angeles. He directed and produced the first plays written by Nadine Gordimer, Richard Sennett and Chaim Potok. He is playwright of new adaptations of William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury and Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Cody. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Methodist University and a BA in Culture and Society from Purchase College.
Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker grew up in Basque country. Three Birds Alighting On A Field was first performed at the Royal Court in 1991 and won a London Critic’s Circle Best West Ed Play Award, the Writer’s Guild Award (Best West End Play) and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
Eunice Hong-Nicola/ Fiona
Steven Laing- David/ Ahmet
Sofia Lauwers- Marianne
Christine Osuala-Alex/Mrs. Boreman
Cassie Post- Auctioneer/LeLouche/Catherine Micah Stock-Dr. Mercer/Russet/Yoyo’s mother Arielle Uppaluri-Gwen
Jean Sean Willkens-Sir Phillip/Mr. Boreman/Priest Frank Winters-Yoyo