Manchester International Festival
4-7 July 2013
Spoleto 56 Festival dei due
12-14 July 2013
Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2013
Onassis Cutural Center
18-21 July 2013
25-29 October 2013
Théatre de la Ville/Festival d'Automne
6-23 November 2013
New York, USA
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
22-29 June 2014
Sau Paulo, Brazil
24 July - 3 August 2014
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Cidade das Artes
8 -13 August 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Teatro Opera Citi
21-31 August 2014
Los Angeles, USA
UCLA / Royce Hall
14-15 November 2014
Calperformances / Zellerbach Hall
21-23 November 2014
Developed with, and starring, legendary dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov, and co-starring world-renowned actor Willem Dafoe, The Old Woman is an adaptation of the work of the same name by Russian author, Daniil Kharms.
Born in St Petersburg in 1905, Kharms suffered through Stalinist rule for much of his life, eventually he was arrested, imprisoned and killed by Soviet soldiers in the Gulags at age 36. The shortness of Kharms’ life parallels the brevity of his absurdist writings, some of which stretch to little more than a paragraph. One exception is The Old Woman, an obscure, brilliant and slyly political novella written in the 1930s.
Carrying echoes of Beckett and Ionesco in its deadpan narrative, The Old Woman is perhaps the finest work by one of the great avant-garde Russian authors, following the story of a struggling writer who cannot find peace with himself.
An old lady is standing in the courtyard and holding a wall clock in her hands. I walk past the old woman, stop and ask her, ‘What time is it?’
‘You look’, the old woman says to me.
I look and see that the clock has no hands.
‘There are no hands’, I say.
The old woman looks at the face of the clock and says to me, ‘It’s a quarter to three’.
THE OLD WOMAN
direction, set design and lighting concept Robert Wilson
with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe
by Daniil Kharms
adapted by Darryl Pinckney
music Hal Willner
costumes Jacques Reynaud
light design A.J. Weissbard
associate set design Annick Lavalle-Benny
sound design Marco Olivieri
assistant directors Charlie Otte / Lynsey Peisinger
dramaturg Tilman Hecker
stage manager Jane Rosenbaum
technical director Reinhard Bichsel
lighting supervisor Marcello Lumaca
stage master Chris McKee
followspots Roberto Gelmetti / Elisa Bortolussi
assistant costume design Micol Notarianni
assistant stage manager Louise Martin
make up Marielle Loubet / Natatlia Leniartek
company manager Simona Fremder
a Baryshnikov Productions, Change Performing Arts and The Watermill Center project.
commissioned and co-produced by Manchester International Festival, Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris/Festival d’Automne à Paris, DeSingel Antwerp
executive producer Change Performing Arts in collaboration with CRT Centro Ricerche Teatrali
photo ©Lucie Jansch