The Fever, awarded an Obie for Best American Play in 1991, is being performed by Peter B. Schmitz, and directed by John Hellweg at the Northampton Community Arts Trust building at 33 Hawley St. on March 22nd and 23rd at 7pm.
Written between 1985 and 1990, The Fever reflects an intensive and personally transformative focus by Wallace Shawn on the United States relationship to Latin America. In the late 1980s he travelled to Nicaragua to witness the struggles and achievements of the Sandinista revolution. He travelled to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to speak to people who were affected by repressive regimes and by the anti-communist campaigns of the Reagan administration. That all fed into my point of view becoming really different from the point of view of a lot of my friends.
Shawn writes: I was piecing all this together, which is the only way The Fever could have been written, only by someone who was politically ignorant and then learned a few things. I know that so many people have come to similar understandings. The organizing principal of The Fever was that it wouldnt be theater, it was just a guy - or it could have been a woman - going to someones house and presenting a monologue that was in the form of a play but that in many ways had more in common with a sermon. I always pictured that the first person to do this would be me. I wanted others to do it. In other words The Fever was theater, and it also wasnt. The story Im telling is made up, and theres a made-up character, so its a work of fiction. It follows the rules of a play. But I, the author, actually mean the things the character says.
I made a very conscious decision in writing The Fever - and anybody is welcome to laugh, but it was actually quite a painful thing to do - that I was trying to put down what I believed...If my play has a thesis, its making the claim that the oppression of the poor is carried out in order to enable the rich to be rich and have a pleasant life. Thats a factual matter. Im either right or Im wrong.
Robert Egan, artistic director of the CTG/Mark Taper Forum, writes, Hes an authentically provocative playwright. His belief is that residing in all of us is a voice of morality, justice and compassion for others in our species regardless of race or economics, and hes obsessed with what it means when we dislocate ourselves from that voice.
Mr. Shawn exposes the contradictions and compromises of the urban liberal mind with a mercilessness that is sly and at times hilarious (N.Y. Times)
Bio: John Hellweg, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Smith College, has performed in principal roles in over fifty productions, most recently with the Talking Band (Flip/Side, and with the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (Peggy Guggenheim Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors; and Toscanini: Too much of the Absolute in my heart; and Jekyll & Hyde). He has directed productions in both academic and professional venues. Most recently, he directed the Off-Off-Broadway production of Unravellings and Catastrophes: Four Short Playsby Jeffery Stingerstein.
Bio: Peter Schmitz has been making a mess for over 30 years in theater, dance and film/video. As a professional dancer/choreographer, Peter has worked throughout the United States, Amsterdam, Germany, France, England, New Zealand and recently in Ankara, Turkey. He was a founding member of Dance Gallery, a small modern dance company, a member of Creach/Co in New York City for over 8 years, and has performed in the works of Wendy Woodson, Ann Carlson, Richard Colton/Amy Spencer. He has choreographed for New World Theatre, Medicine Show Theater and Potomac Theater Project and is a member of Actors Equity.
Flex Space/A.P.E. @Hawley, Northampton Arts Trust Building (View)
33 Hawley Street
Northampton, MA 01060
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