A Noise Within Presents O'Neill's Desire Under The Elms

Nov 1, 2011
Desire Under The Elms

A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre company, continues its inaugural season in its new state-of-the-art Pasadena venue with DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS by EUGENE O'NEILL, directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, which opens Saturday, November 19 and closes Sunday, December 18, 2011 (previews begin November 12). A "Pay What You Can" date, which allows patrons to purchase tickets for what they can afford, is Thursday, November 17.

Although Desire Under the Elms is less frequently staged than such later O'Neill classics as Long Day's Journey Into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten, this earlier work is no less masterful. The three complex central characters - Ephraim Cabot, Eben Cabot and Abbie Putnam - are trapped in an incestuous triangle. Young Eben Cabot greedily covets the family farm, while his father's voluptuous new bride not only has her avaricious eye on the farm but also on Eben. As the pair vies for the plot of land, sexual tension and hatred intensify to explosive effect. This darkly humorous salute to the combustible essence of great Greek drama was first presented in 1924 by the Provincetown Players, the launch pad for O'Neill's career as America's premiere tragedian.

"This play, which requires an expansive space for simultaneous playing of interior and exterior locations in and around an aging two-story New England farmhouse, was seemingly made for A Noise Within's glorious new theatre," says Rodriguez, who previously directed ANW's productions of Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. "Our award-winning set designer John Iacovelli takes full advantage of the venue's height and depth, creating a fractured version of the Cabot home that is symbolically poetic and realistic."

The cast includes William Dennis Hunt (Ephraim Cabot), Jason Dechert (Eben), Monette Magrath (Abbie Putnam), Stephen Rockwell (Peter), Christopher Fairbanks (Simeon). Endre Balogh composes original music for the production and performs on fiddle.

To enhance the theatre-going experience, A Noise Within offers comprehensive study guides for every production. Each includes a synopsis, director's notes, general theatre lore, links to other resources and detailed information about the playwright, characters, setting, period, costumes, scenic design, music and more. The Study Guides are available on-line at http://www.anoisewithin.org/education_studyguides.html.

A Noise Within (ANW) is the only year-round classical repertory company in Southern California and one of only a handful in the entire country dedicated solely to producing classical dramatic literature in the repertory tradition of rotating productions with a resident company of professional artists. Led by Founders and Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, A Noise Within has been hailed by critics as a "premiere classical theatre company," and an "outstanding ensemble" whose "vibrantly theatrical" "brilliant productions" are "freshly imagined," "exceptional," "invigorating," "riveting," "brilliantly atmospheric," "inspired," and "masterfully crafted."

With substantially more space than its previous Glendale venue, A Noise Within's new theatre meets demand for tickets by allowing annual audience capacity to increase from 25,000 to 50,000 people, and the company's highly regarded education program will be able to double to 20,000 the number of students served each year. Together, this allows A Noise Within to expand its role as a leader in the presentation and preservation of classical theatre.

The venue is located in the former Stuart Pharmaceutical building, a historic, mid-century modern masterpiece designed by celebrated architect Edward Durell Stone, known for landmark buildings around the country including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Radio City Music Hall in New York. Constructed in the mid-1950s, the Stuart Pharmaceutical building was listed on the National Register in 1998 and features a striking landscape garden designed by Thomas Church. The completely new three-story theatre - which retains the building's original façade -- features support facilities, offices, rehearsal space, a classroom, considerable storage for costumes, props and scenery and large restrooms. There is plentiful, convenient, free parking in the adjacent Gold Line's Sierra Madre Villa Metro parking structure.

Single tickets are $46 (Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees); $42 (Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees); and $34 (previews). Groups (10 or more) are $27 (weekdays and Saturday matinees), and $32 (Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees); School Groups (10 or more) are $16 (weekdays and matinees), or $20 (Saturday evenings). "Pay What You Can" tickets for the Thursday, November 17 performance are sold at the box office the day of the performance for cash only on a first-come, first-served basis based on availability, with a limit of two per person.

Among the varied A Noise Within 2011-12 season subscription options offered is a new "Family Package" in which youngsters can experience A Noise Within with their parents on stage or in an on-site classroom. The pass is available to young people ages 6 to 17 with the purchase of an adult subscription series and can be redeemed for a ticket to the show or an educational workshop at the theatre offered during selected Sunday matinee performances. There are also a variety of play packages, special rates for patrons 18 to 30 years of age, group rates, school group rates, and more. Free programs for audience members include pre- or post-performance conversations with scholars and/or ANW artists on selected dates throughout the season.

A NOISE WITHIN is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107. Free self-parking is located in the Sierra Madre Villa Metro parking structure, with entrances on northbound Sierra Madre Villa Avenue or North Halstead Street. To purchase tickets, call (626) 356-3100 ext. 1or visit www.ANoiseWithin.org.