Arts + Culture

French Film Star Isabelle Huppert Stars in '4.48 Psychose,' a New Interpretation of Sarah Kane’s Final Play, at UCLA Live Oct. 5-9

|

UCLA Live presents Isabelle Huppert, acclaimed French film and theateractress, starring in "4.48 Psychose"with Grard Watkins. Thisnew interpretation in French of British playwright Sarah Kane's moving finalopus is part of UCLA Live's fourth InternationalTheatre Festival. Directed by Claude Rgy, the production features Huppert as the central voice in Kane'spolyphonic diary of depression, a different take on a work that riveted UCLALive audiences last season.

Huppert is considered one of cinema's foremostportrayers of women on the edge and she excels in "4:48 Psychose,"a work of raw emotion, intense brutality and utter tenderness. The production,in French with English supertitles, is scheduled for8 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 5–8; and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct.9, at Freud Playhouse on the UCLA campus. The performance runs approximately 70minutes. There is no intermission. For tickets, call (310) 825‑2101,visit http://www.uclalive.org/ or contactTicketmaster.

The play, completed by Kane just months beforeshe took her own life in 1999 at age 28, depicts a deeply lyrical and wrenchingjourney through a dark night of the soul. Rgystages this production as a quasi-monologue, emphasizing the stark beauty of the text's spare writing.Huppert brings a solitary, almost majestic drama to the role,which she performed to critical acclaim in 2002–03 at Peter Brook'sThtre des Bouffes du Nord in Montparnasse, Paris, as wellas in Brazil and Spain.

"The pairing up of these two free radicals makesfor volatile chemistry, and the results on stage promise to be highlyexplosive," wrote Paris Voice.

Rgy, an acclaimed director in contemporarytheater who has championed the work of English playwrights such as HaroldPinter and Tom Stoppard and the French writer Marguerite Duras,admires Huppert for her instinct, intelligence, lucidity and willingness totake risks.

SarahKane exploded onto the British theater scene in 1995with her tortured but poetically brilliant work, and came to be recognized asan important new voice in theater. "4.48 Psychosis" was first performed in London on June 23, 2000, atthe Royal Court, a theater collective known for vigorously finding andproducing a new generation of playwrights. The play originally was directed byJames Macdonald with a cast of Jason Hughes, Marin Ireland and Jo McInnes, who performed at UCLA Live last year as part ofthe International Theatre Festival.

A harrowing, inside view of suicidal depression,"4.48 Psychosis" is written in a free-form style, with an unspecified number ofunnamed characters, suggesting the fragmentation of self and loss of bordersexperienced by the psychotic mind. The voices could be interpreted as lover,friend, doctor and patient, or the many voices that haunt a troubled mind.Huppert will alternately assume the roles of victim and witness with Grard Watkins, whoprovides an alternate voice suggesting that of the doctor.

As an actress known for roles including thecocoa princess in "Merci Pour le Chocolat" whocold-heartedly plans the murder of family and friends; the brutal, sexuallyrepressed Viennese piano teacher in "La Pianiste";and the troubled Madame Bovary, Huppert is particularly well-suited for thispsychologically challenging drama.

Plagued by frequentbouts of depression, Kane named "4.48 Psychosis" after the time of the morning,4:48 a.m., just before dawn, when her emotional demons often would give way toa moment of clarity. It has been said that many people contemplate suicideduring these respites from psychological turmoil and that this is the time whenmost self-inflicted deaths occur.

Kane's famously controversial first play,"Blasted," made waves in 1995 with her blunt depiction of a world blown apartby physical and emotional violence. Whilethe play was slammed by British critics as "a work devoid of intellectual andartistic merit" (The Telegraph), renowned dramatists including Harold Pintercame to Kane's defense, berating critics for their lack of understanding anddescribing the work as too sophisticated, too new, too good for them.

Today, Kane is recognized as a visionary andmajor figure in British theater, whose promising career was cut tragicallyshort by her suicide. Her other works include "Phaedra's Love," "Cleansed" and "Crave," and she served for some time as RoyalCourt's writer-in-residence.

Director Macdonald wrote, "What she did was gentle, truthful and intelligent. She also lovedmusic, and one day some trainspotter may feelimpelled to write a thesis on the number of lines in her plays that areactually borrowed from the works of Joy Division, The Pixies, Ben Harper, Radiohead, P.J. Harvey, The Tindersticks,even Elvis Presley. Her theatrical gods were [Samuel] Beckett, [Harold] Pinter,[Edward] Bond, [Dennis] Potter, but she wrote directly from her own experienceand from her heart."

Kane was born inEssex, England, on Feb. 3, 1971. Both parents were journalists and deeplyreligious. She studied drama at Bristol University, graduating with honors,before completing her M.A. at Birmingham University. Suffering from an often-debilitatingbipolar illness, Kane had several spells in the hospital beforeending her own life on Feb.20, 1999.

 

Influenced byBeckett, Howard Brenton and Georg Bchner, whose play "Woyzeck" sheonce directed, Kane's works deal uncompromisingly with themes of death, sex,violence and mental illness, and are characterized by a poetic intensity, arich affirmation of love in all its forms, and by use of in-your-faceimagery so powerful that itcuts across and fragments the narrative, creating the illusion of a life tornup by its roots.

One of the mostenduring and respected actresses in French cinema, Isabelle Huppert is known for her versatile portrayals ofcharacters ranging from the innocent to the sultry to the comic. Born March 16,1955, in Paris, she graduated from the Paris Conservatoire d'ArtDramatique and made her first film, "Faustine et le bel t," when she was 16. Her career accelerated rapidly andshe soon found work with such acclaimed directors as Bertrand Blier, with whom she made "Les Valseuses"(1974), a film also notable for making a star out of GrardDepardieu; Otto Preminger, for whom she appeared in"Rosebud" (1975); and Claude Chabrol starting with 1978's "VioletteNozire," for which she won a Best Female Performanceaward at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival. Also in 1978, she won a British AcademyAward for Best Newcomer for her role in "La Dentellire"(The Lacemaker).

Huppert's careerhas included starring roles in Bertrand Tavernier's "Coup de Torchon" (1981), Jean-Luc Godard's"Passion" (1982) and Diane Kurys' celebrated "Entre Nous" (1983). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Huppert madean impressive number of films in her native country, collaborating with Chabrolon 1988's "Une Affaire de Femmes" (The Story ofWomen), the widely acclaimed "Madame Bovary" (1991) and "La Crmonie"(1995), for which she won a 1996 Best Actress Csar. Huppert'ssuccess in Chabrol's "Merci pour le Chocolat" and herfearless performance as a sexually repressed and self-destructive piano teacherin director Michael Haneke's "The Piano Teacher"(2001) earned her a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. That filmwas followed by Francois Ozon's popular internationalblack comedy "8 Women" the following year. Her additional work includes a turnas an opinionated hooker who bondswith her illegitimate daughter in 2002's "Ghost River," Haneke'sapocalyptic "Time of the Wolf" in 2003, and Merchant/Ivory's "Le Divorce" andDavid O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees" in 2005.

Grard Watkinswas born in London, traveled extensively and has lived in France since 1973.Inspired by a Peter Brook theater workshop at his school when he was 10, hebegan a career in theater, directing and writing a one-act play, "Dead End," atage 14. His directing work includes "Scorches" in 1984 and several playssuccessfully produced in France. As an actor, he has performed in more than 30productions with acclaimed contemporary theater directors including ClaudeReggie, Jean-Louis Martin Elli, Bernard Sober, Jean-Pierre Vincent, ElizabethCallous and Michel Didier. Last year he played the role of Ian in Sarah Kane's"Blasted" to critical and public acclaim, and after the "4.48" tour will performin Andr Engel's "King Lear," produced at Odon, theNational Theatre in Paris.

IsabelleHuppert in "4.48 Psychose" is part of UCLA Live's InternationalTheatre Festival. Now in its fourth year, this festival showcases agroundbreaking array of productions from countries including Britain, Polandand Italy. Running from October through December, the festival serves as aportal for audiences to experience significant and challenging internationalwork. By introducing compelling and adventurous artists of worldwide stature,UCLA Live continues to stretch artistic boundaries with a variety of world,North American, West Coast and L.A. premieres.

UCLA Live's 2005–06 FourthInternational Theatre Festival

        Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 12–16: Poland'sSong of the Goat theater company in their West Coast debut presents "Chronicles: A Lamentation," a dramatictapestry that incorporates music, dance and mime, based on the ancient Sumerianpoem "Epic of Gilgamesh."

        Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 20–23: Italy'sPiccolo Teatro di Milano's "Arlecchino, Servant of Two Masters" is a colorful andtimeless landmark of 20th-century physical comedy. Written in 1745 by Carlo Goldoni, it stars the brilliant Italian actor Ferruccio Soleri in the U.S. tourof the role he has defined for 45 years.

        Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 26–30: PowerfulUgandan American actor Ntare GumaMbaho Mwine commands thestage in the Los Angeles premiere of "Biro,"a solo portrayal of the true story of one man's epicjourney from the 1979 Ugandan insurgency to a clandestine Cuban military camp,to a Texas jail cell.

        Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 9–26: Britain'sShakespeare's Globe Theatre in their triumphant return to UCLA Live, brings "Measure for Measure," an unmatched"original practices" classic production featuring the unforgettable Mark Rylance in his final season as the company's acclaimedactor and artistic director.

        Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 1–4: Britain'sForced Entertainment performs the North American premiere of "Bloody Mess," a physically demandingdark comedy and modern manifesto combining artistic camp and visual spectacle.

Tickets to "4.48 Psychose"starring Isabelle Huppert are available for $50 and $40 at the UCLA CentralTicket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, onlineat http://www.uclalive.org/and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more informationor to charge by phone, please call (310) 825-2101. UCLA students maypurchase tickets in advance for $17. Student rush tickets at the same price,subject to availability, are offered to all students with a valid ID one hourprior to show time.

The UCLA Live International Theatre Festival issupported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, whichbelieves that a great nation deserves great art.

"4:48 Psychose" issupported by Etant donns:the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, a Program of FACE.

UCLALive is an internationally acclaimed producer andpresenter of music, dance, theater and spoken word, bringing hundreds ofoutstanding and provocative artists to Los Angeles each year. Lectures,residencies and extensive outreach programs expand the impact of itsunparalleled performances that include a lively mix of distinguished mastersand innovators from around the world.

-UCLA-

PASQS373

Media Contact