The Wooster Group, a New York City-based company of artists that tours both nationally and internationally, will screen a film of their production, Brace Up!, as part of the fall course “The Human Comedy of Anton Chekhov Off and On Stage (In English Translation),” co-taught by Princeton University Professors R. N. Sandberg and Olga P. Hasty. This screening of Brace Up!, which is The Wooster Group’s interpretation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, is presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Department of Comparative Literature, The Council of the Humanities Class of 1970 Fund, and the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Followed by a discussion with members of The Wooster Group, the event will take place on Tuesday, October 25 at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The screening is free and open to the public.
The course focuses on The Three Sisters, through which the students are exploring the worlds that Chekhov’s drama opens to readers, directors, actors, and spectators. The course examines the play’s text and cultural context and its various stage and film versions and uses scene work to bring the piece alive.
The Wooster Group is a company of artists that creates pieces and performances for dance, theater, and other media. Founded in 1975 by Spalding Gray and Elizabeth LeCompte, The Wooster Group currently resides in the Performing Garage located in Soho and employs a continuous, full-time ensemble. The group has created 21 pieces for theater, all of which Elizabeth LeCompte has directed. The company has garnered many awards over the years and has been recognized for its contributions to theater, including multiple New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards and Obie Awards for Best Production (given for off-Broadway productions), the Edwin Booth Award for Significant Contributions to New York Theater, the Obie Award for 15 Years of Sustained Excellence, and the Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement. Various Wooster Group members have been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, the MacArthur Fellowship, the United States Artists Fellowship, and individual Bessie and Obie awards. The Wooster Group continues to reinvent classic plays and create new works with fresh spins.
Sandberg has directed numerous theater productions at Princeton, including Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Also a playwright, his play, Roundelay, premiered at Passage Theater in 2013, and other plays have been seen in Australia, Canada, England, Japan, Panama, and South Korea, as well as at theaters throughout the U.S. Sandberg is a Princeton alumnus and in 2014 received the University’s President’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Hasty’s scholarly work and teaching focuses on 19th-century Russian poetry, Russian post-symbolist poetry, formalism, the Russian avant-garde, Nabokov, émigré literature, and Russian drama. He most recent project, How Women Must Write: Devising a Poetic Self, examines strategies of poetic self-presentation developed by 19th- and 20th-century Russian women poets and the cultural dynamics that shaped the images they devised for themselves.