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The Wooster Group's The Mother to Premiere in Vienna Ahead of New York Run

This modern interpretation of Bertolt Brecht's 1932 play will debut at Wiener Festwochen a year after its postponement due to Covid.

Ari Fliakos and Kate Valk star in the Wooster Group's new production of Bertolt Brecht's The Mother.
(© Michaela Murphy)

The celebrated New York experimental theater troupe the Wooster Group is returning to Vienna to premiere its production of Bertolt Brecht's The Mother, which will play the prestigious international festival Wiener Festwochen June 8-17. The Group will perform for limited-capacity audiences in accordance with Austrian health mandates, with all company members observing quarantine prior to opening. The Wooster Group is the only American theater company appearing in this year's festival.

Conceived as one of Brecht's lehrstücke ("learning plays"), The Mother is about a poor, uneducated Russian mother who becomes a revolutionary. The original play (with music by Hanns Eisler) premiered in Berlin in 1932 and was the last of Brecht's plays to open before the rise of the Nazis, who obviously did not appreciate the work's overtly communist themes.

The Wooster Group presents a modern American interpretation of The Mother, with a feminist reimagining of Brecht's heroine. It promises to evoke parallels between contemporary political unrest and the socialist revolutions that inspired Brecht, and highlight the utopian impulse inherent in communism and socialism.

The Mother is composed collaboratively by the Wooster Group and directed by Elizabeth LeCompte. It features performances by Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher, Ari Fliakos, Gareth Hobbs, and Erin Mullin. The sound is by Eric Sluyter, the video by Irfan Brkovic, and the lighting by David Sexton. Musician and composer Amir ElSaffar, who works across classical, jazz, and Arabic musical forms, provides new music for the piece.

Also joining the tour company is Hai-Ting Chinn (choral music director), Cynthia Hedstrom (producer), Bona Lee (production manager), Erin Mullin (stage manager), Michaela Murphy (assistant director), and Joseph Silvosky (technical director).

After its Vienna premiere, The Mother will open this year in New York for a run at the Group's home theater, the Performing Garage, in October-November.

For tickets and more information about the Vienna run of The Mother, click here.