Off Broadway, “I Am the Wind” takes two men on an unexpected journey

Louis Butelli and Christopher Tierney  star in Jon Fosse's I AM THE WIND, translated by Simon Stephens, directed by Paul Takacs and produced by The Shop, at 59E59 Theaters.  Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima.

Louis Butelli and Christopher Tierney star in Jon Fosse’s I AM THE WIND, translated by Simon Stephens, directed by Paul Takacs and produced by The Shop, at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima.

In New York City, the US premiere of I Am the Wind is one of the more interesting dramatic offerings this winter. Previews began last night.

The wind gathers, rising up suddenly. Two men on a fragile boat, a trip to sea – a few drinks, a bite to eat – when one of them decides to push on to the open ocean. Suddenly there they are: among the distant islands, the threatening fog and gathering swell of the sea, bound together on an odyssey into the unknown.

Written by Jon Fosse, translated by Simon Stephens, and directed by Paul Takacs, I Am the Wind begins performances on Thursday, January 9 for a limited engagement through Sunday, January 26. Press opening is Thursday, January 16 at 7:30 PM. Our Manhattan correspondent Milo Jordan will be covering.

Paul Takacs helms the NY premiere of renowned Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse’s play in a translation by Olivier Award-winning British playwright Simon Stephens (Harper Regan, Bluebird). A glorious afternoon on the water turns into a devastating meditation on life and the depths of friendship. Two friends spend a day boating, stopping off for drinks and a meal before pushing on to the open ocean. As the winds rise and the sea swells, the men confront each other, themselves, and the inexorable mystery of fate.

Actors Christopher Tierney (in his first NYC stage role since departing Broadway’s Spider-Man) and Louis Butelli (Cyclops: A Rock Opera; Sleep No More) step into Jon Fosse’s I AM THE WIND, replacing the previously announced James Patrick Nelson and Jonathan Tindle

The design team includes Steven C Kemp (set design); Nick Solyom (lighting design); Amanda Shafran (costume design); and Palmer Hefferan (sound design). The Production Stage Manager is Michele Connelly.

The performance schedule is Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday – Saturday at 8:30 PM; and Sunday at 3:30 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $18 ($12.60 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org.

Jon Fosse (playwright) is a Norwegian author and dramatist and is widely considered as one of the world’s greatest contemporary playwrights. His first play, Og Aldri Skal Vi Skiljast (And Never We’ll Be Parted), was performed and published in 1994. Jon Fosse has written novels, short stories, poetry, children’s books, essays and plays. His works have been translated into more than forty languages. Fosse was made a chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite of France in 2007 and has been ranked number 83 on the list of the Top 100 living geniuses by The Daily Telegraph. He is a commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Since 2011, Fosse has been granted the Grotten, an honorary residence owned by the Norwegian state and located on the premises of the Royal Palace in the city centre of Oslo. Use of the Grotten as a permanent residence is an honour specially bestowed by the King of Norway for contributions to Norwegian arts and culture. Among others, Fosse is the recipient of the Nynorsk Literature Prize, the Aschehoug Prize, the Dobloug Prize, the Nynorsk Litearture Prize, the Brage Prize, the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs’ Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and an Ibsen Award.

Simon Stephens (English adaptation) is an award-winning playwright whose work includes Bluebird (Royal Court, 1998); Herons (Royal Court, 2001); Port (Manchester Royal Exchange, 2002 – Pearson Award for Best New Play); Country Music (Royal Court, 2004); On the Shore of the Wide World (Manchester Royal Exchange / National Theatre, 2005 – Olivier Award for Best New Play); Motortown (Royal Court, 2006); Harper Regan (National Theatre, 2008); Sea Wall (Bush Theatre / Traverse Theatre, 2008-2009); Pornography (Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hanover, 2007 and Edinburgh Festival / Birmingham Rep, 2008 and Tricycle Theatre, 2009); Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith / Manchester Royal Exchange, 2009); The Trial of Ubu (Schauspielhaus, Essen / Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2010 and Hampstead Theatre, 2012); A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky, written in collaboration with David Eldridge and Robert Holman (Lyric Hammersmith, 2010); Marine Parade, a play with songs, written with Mark Eitzel (Brighton Festival, 2010); T5 (Traverse Theatre, 2010); Wastwater (Royal Court Theatre, 2011); an adaptation of Jon Fosse’s I Am the Wind (Young Vic Theatre, 2011); Three Kingdoms (NO99 Theatre, Estonia / Munich Playhouse / Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, 2012); Morning (Lyric Theatre / Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, 2012); a new version of A Doll’s House (Young Vic Theatre, 2012/13), and an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Royal National Theatre, 2012, Apollo Theatre. 2013 – Olivier Award for Best New Play). TV includes Cargese for Sprout Pictures (Sky Arts, 2013); an adaptation of Pornography for Coming Up (Channel 4, 2009) and DIVE (Granada / BBC, 2009).

Paul Takacs (director) is the founding Artistic Director of The Shop for which he directed the North American premiere of Philip Ridley’s Tender Napalm last year at 59E59 Theaters. Most recently he directed the premiere of a new English language adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein’s Yiddish play Carcass for the New Worlds Theatre Project at HERE Arts Center. His work has been seen at NYU; The Samuel French New Play Festival; The Red Room, NYC; The Cell Theatre, NYC; The New School for Drama, NYC; Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC; The Theatre Alliance, DC; Spooky Action Theatre, DC; Washington Shakespeare Company, DC; and Theatre of the First Amendment, VA. He has worked on new plays with John Strand, Heather Lynn MacDonald, and Judith Goudsmit to name but a few. He holds a BA in Drama from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an MFA in Directing from the New School for Drama. He has taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and has served as a teaching artist for Shakespeare Theatre Company as well as the Folger Shakespeare Library and is currently on faculty at the Stella Adler Studio in New York.

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