Vesturport's Woyzeck

BAM presents U.S. debut of Iceland?s Vesturport Theatre in Georg Büchner's Woyzeck, directed by Gísli Örn Gardarsson with original music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis as part of 2008 Next Wave Festival

BAM 2008 Next Wave Festival is sponsored by Altria Group
Leadership support for the Next Wave Festival is provided by The Ford Foundation

By Georg Büchner
Vesturport and The Reykjavik City Theatre
Directed by Gísli Örn Gardarsson
English translation by Ruth Little, Gísli Örn Gardarsson, and Jón Atli Jónasson
Original music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Lyrics by Nick Cave
Stage design by Börkur Jónsson
Lighting design by Lárus Björnsson
Costume design by Filippiá Elisdóttir

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Oct 15, 17 & 18 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $20, 35, 45, 60
718.636.4100 or
Performed In English

Artist Talk with Gísli Örn Gardarsson and actors
Moderated by critic, playwright, and professor Elinor Fuchs, Yale School of Drama
Oct 17, post-show (free for same-day ticket holders)

Brooklyn, NY/September 9, 2008?As part of the 2008 Next Wave Festival, BAM presents the U.S. debut of Iceland?s Vesturport Theatre in a critically-acclaimed production of Georg Büchner?s Woyzeck. With haunting original music by cult rocker Nick Cave and Bad Seeds? Warren Ellis, this U.S. premiere is directed by rising-star Gísli Örn Gardarsson and is a joint production of Vesturport and The Reykjavik City Theatre. Woyzeck premiered at The Reykjavik City Theatre in 2005 and was presented at London?s Barbican Theatre in 2005 as part of their Young Genius series where its sold-out run received critical acclaim. The production returned to the Barbican in 2006, traveled to Spain in 2007, and will tour to South Korea in May 2009.

BAM will present three performances of Woyzeck at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue) on October 15, 17, and 18 at 7:30pm. Tickets, priced at $20, 35, 45, and 60, may be purchased by calling BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100 or online at

Water abounds in Gardarsson?s gleefully physical staging of Büchner?s masterpiece which is played out on an industrial set of gleaming pipes, green astroturf, and water-filled plexiglass tanks. With acrobatics, aerial ballets, and underwater sequences, the production?s hyper-athletic cast infuses this fragmented tragedy with unrestrained energy. The Guardian (UK) noted that ?this Icelandic version has overpowering visual and aural bravura, showing how Büchner?s masterpiece can be turned into an assault on contemporary capitalism.? On Cave and Ellis? bitterly witty and hypnotic score?which blends heavy rock, whimsical love songs, and church choir purity?The Times (UK) declares, ?Cave?s blood-soaked lyricism and noisy trash-can blues lend a thrilling extra dimension to the staging.?

About Woyzeck
Woyzeck was written in 1837 by German playwright Georg Büchner?who died shortly thereafter at the age of 23?and is widely regarded as the first contemporary drama. The work centers on Franz Woyzeck who lives meagerly with his common law wife Marie and her young child. Woyzeck?s fate is played out in a series of nightmarish encounters as he struggles to provide for his family. He stumbles through a macabre carnival of sexual betrayal and cruel oppression, pursued by the demons of his own paranoid fantasies.

About the artists
Actor, director, and former gymnast Gísli Örn Gardarsson made his directorial debut for Vesturport in 2002 with a circus-inspired, award-winning production of Shakespeare?s Romeo and Juliet in which he also played Romeo. The production toured to Finland, Norway, Poland, and Germany and opened to critical acclaim at London?s Young Vic in 2003 prior to transferring to the West End. Additional productions have included an athletic two-man adaption of Kafka?s The Metamorphosis, in which Gardarsson also co-starred, and the play Together, which featured international film star Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también). Gardarsson is an Associate Director at London?s Young Vic Theatre. According to the Evening Standard (UK), ?No one blazes a trail of theatrical excitement and thrilling invention quite like the Icelandic actor-director Gísli Gardarsson.?

Vesturport Theatre was founded in 2001 by Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, and Ingvar E. Sigurðsson and has quickly established itself as one of Iceland?s most inventive award-winning theater and film companies. Known for innovative productions that challenge traditional performance text, the Reykjavik-based ensemble has been called ?one of Europe?s most exciting theatre ensembles? by The Guardian (UK). In just seven years, the company has produced three films and eleven theater works. Their production of Woyzeck is a co-production of The Reykjavik City Theatre, which has an ensemble of twenty-four actors, produces six new theater works a year, and is home to the Icelandic Dance Company.

Originally from Melbourne, Nick Cave is a musician, author, and occasional actor best known for his work with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds?whose fourteenth and most recent album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, was released in 2008 and won Best Album at the 2008 MOJO Honors. Cave wrote his first book King Ink, a collection of lyrics and plays including collaborations with Lydia Lunch, in 1988. His debut novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, was published in 1989 and won Time Out?s Book of the Year award. A second collection of lyrics and essays, King Ink II, followed in 1996. Cave?s film scores include Ghosts?of the Civil Dead (1988)?which also featured a central acting performance by Cave, To Have and to Hold (1996), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and the forthcoming The Road (2008). Cave?s first screenplay, The Proposition, was released in the U.S. in 2006. In addition to Vesturport?s Woyzeck, Cave, along with Warren Ellis, created original music for Vesturport Theatre?s stage adaptation of Franz Kafka?s The Metamorphosis.

Warren Ellis started writing music for theater groups in Melbourne in the late 80s. He is a founding member of the instrumental three-piece band Dirty Three, which formed in Melbourne in 1992, relocated to London in 1995, and has recorded seven albums. Ellis joined Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in 1995 and has been a part of the group?s last seven albums. His collaborations with Cave are extensive and include the film scores for The Proposition (2006) and the forthcoming The Road (2008) as well as original music for Vesturport Theatre?s production of Büchner?s Woyzeck and adaptation of Kafka?s The Metamorphosis.

Artist Talk with Gísli Örn Gardarsson and actors
BAM presents an Artist Talk with Gísli Örn Gardarsson and actors moderated by Elinor Fuchs, critic, playwright, and professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at the Yale School of Drama, on Friday, October 17 in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera house immediately following that evening?s performance. This event is free for same-day ticket holders.

About the Next Wave Festival
BAM?s Next Wave Festival, which enters its 26th season in 2008, has permanently changed the landscape of culture through breakout performances, landmark productions, daring experiments, and once-in-a-lifetime moments. The Festival originated as a fall series entitled ?The Next Wave/New Masters.? In November 1981, Philip Glass? new opera, Satyagraha, was presented as one of four productions under the Next Wave moniker. A more ambitious series followed in 1982, including a two-evening performance work by Laurie Anderson?United States: Parts I-IV.

From the seeds of these two rich years grew an idea for something bolder and riskier. The Next Wave Festival, dedicated to exciting new works and cross-disciplinary collaborations by promising young artists, was launched in October 1983. Pieces that previously had been presented in downtown lofts and small ?black box? theaters were staged in the exquisite 2,100-seat BAM Opera House (later renamed the Howard Gilman Opera House), a renovated 1,000-seat playhouse (the Helen Carey Playhouse, now home to BAM Rose Cinemas), and a flexible 300-seat performance venue (the Lepercq Space). In 1987, with Peter Brook?s Mahabharata, BAM opened another large stage?the 874-seat Majestic Theater?since renamed the Harvey Theater in honor of Harvey Lichtenstein (former president and executive producer). Since 1999, BAM has been led by President Karen Brooks Hopkins and by Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo, who curates the Next Wave Festival and served as the producer of the inaugural festival.

BAM 2008 Next Wave Festival is sponsored by Altria Group. Leadership support for the Next Wave Festival is provided by The Ford Foundation.

Programming in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is supported and endowed by The Howard Gilman Foundation.

Major support for Woyzeck is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, with additional support from The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Leadership support for BAM Theater is provided by The Shubert Foundation, Inc. and The SHS Foundation.

BAM thanks its many donors and sponsors, including: The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; New York City Council; Estate of Richard B. Fisher; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The Starr Foundation; Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Time Warner Inc.; The Howard Gilman Foundation; The Skirball Foundation; The SHS Foundation; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; New York State Assembly Brooklyn Delegation; Friends of BAM and BAM Cinema Club. Sovereign Bank is the BAM Marquee sponsor. Yamaha is the official piano for BAM. R/GA is the sponsor. New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is the official hotel for BAM.

General Information
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, BAMcafé, and Brownstone Books at BAM are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn?s only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, is open for dining prior to Howard Gilman Opera House performances. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafé Live nights on Friday and Saturday with a special BAMcafé Live menu available starting at 8pm.

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue;
D, M, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Flatbush Avenue
Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM
Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM

For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

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