Soho Rep has announced a one-week extension, to November 20, of its nearly-sold-out world premiere production of Montag, written by Kate Tarker (THUNDERBODIES at Soho Rep; Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man) and directed by Dustin Wills (Wolf Play, presented by Soho Rep & Ma-Yi Theater Company; Frontières Sans Frontières) with original opera music by Daniel Schlosberg (Music Director of Heartbeat Opera, pianist in Anthony Roth Costanzo and Justin Vivian Bond’s Only an Octave Apart and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story).
Montag chronicles a pivotal moment in the high-octane friendship of Faith and Novella, an American expat and a Turkish immigrant living in a German town near an American military base. In Novella’s basement apartment, the women are practicing some unusual combat drills-armed with wine, potato chips, and the very best speakers they can afford. The play is a domestic thriller, a sleep deprivation comedy, and a rebellion celebration under threat of annihilation. In a Critic’s Pick review for Theatermania, Zachary Stewart writes that Montag “fearlessly blends genres and tones” and “holds us rapt and slack-jawed,” as “the tension builds over [the play’s] 90 strange and fascinating minutes.” Stewart adds, “”Unexpected reveals from Lisa Laratta’s set help to achieve real horror onstage. Sound designer Sinan Refik Zafar makes us flinch in our seats, and Tsimring occasionally plunges us into total darkness. Montag is a great Halloween watch.”
The Montag creative team includes Kate Tarker (Playwright), Dustin Wills (Director), Daniel Schlosberg (Composer), Lisa Laratta (Set Designer), Montana Levi Blanco (Costume Designer), Masha Tsimring (Lighting Designer), Sinan Refik Zafar (Sound Designer), Patricia Marjorie (Props Designer), Hannah Roccisano (Fight Director), and Kasson Marroquin (Production Stage Manager).
Tarker’s cultural touchstones for Montag include Carrie Mae Weems’ Kitchen Table Series, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen, and Ridley Scott & CALLIE KHOURI’s Thelma & Louise. She says, “I wanted to write about a transformative bond between two women who are funny, contradictory, vibrant, and uncompromising-and facing down a moment of absolute crisis in their lives. They are under-resourced, under-slept, and-based on limited intel-quite possibly under siege, but they radically commit to meeting and defending their needs.”
Tarker grew up internationally and bilingually, on the outskirts of a U.S. military community in Germany, which is where this fictional story is set. She says, “Of course, a play about an international friendship is also a play about international relations. Faith and Novella’s shared crossroads is inextricably intertwined with global power dynamics. It’s 2014, and these women are seeking greater freedom and bodily autonomy at a moment when the world is en route to becoming less free. Political scientists study misogyny as a serious piece of a larger puzzle of democratic backsliding, extremism, and violence. In Montag I do that too (but in the most joyfully free way I can muster.)”
Montag is a commission from Soho Rep., and it opens a season in which every work was commissioned by the company. The play, and the environment it creates around a singular friendship, is the product of a decade of queer friendship between Tarker, Wills, and Schlosberg. Tarker expressly wrote the piece to be created with this team for Soho Rep’s intimate performance space, and to incorporate Schlosberg and Wills’ backgrounds in opera. Wills says, “In Kate’s writing, there’s not a hair out of place; every detail is rigorously considered. Yet somehow there’s still so much room-and an invitation-to venture deep into the wild unknown.”
In Montag, audiences familiar with Tarker’s work will recognize the punky playfulness of her collisions of levity and darkness, as well as her continued reclamations of pleasure and embodiment. When THUNDERBODIES premiered at Soho Rep in 2018, Helen Shaw called it, in a four-star Time Out review, “a loud, filthy burlesque” in which “jokes about love, politics and our poor assaulted earth felt like riffs on old Jean-Claude van Itallie plays from back in the Off-Off day.” In The New York Times, it was listed in a year-end roundup of the “Unforgettable Theater Moments of 2018,” with Laura Collins-Hughes writing, “The talk-dirty-to-me monologue in Kate Tarker’s bizarro comedy THUNDERBODIES, at Soho Rep, was flamboyantly gross-out filthy, and the great Deirdre O’Connell wallowed magnificently in it, delivering a screamingly funny, revoltingly blue aria to a lover’s prowess with his nose.
The world premiere production of Montag began previews on October 12 and opened on October 23. Performances take place through Sunday, November 20, at Soho Rep, located at 46 Walker Street in Manhattan.
Kate Tarker is an American playwright who grew up in a small town in Germany. Her plays include THUNDERBODIES (Soho Rep.), Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man (The Wilma, FoolsFURY), and Laura and the Sea (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble). She is the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship, The Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, Theater Masters’ Visionary Playwright Award, and she has been featured twice on the Kilroys List. Kate has been in residence at Tofte Lake Center, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and twice at the MacDowell Colony. She is an alum of Ars Nova Play Group, New Georges Jam, and The Playwrights’ Center Core Writer Program. Kate currently holds commissions from Soho Rep. and Playwrights Horizons’ Soundstage, and she recently published work in the McSweeney’s anthology, I Know What’s Best For You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom, as well as in The Paris Review. MFA Yale.
Dustin Wills directs theatre and opera. Upcoming: MCC remount of Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play (Soho Rep & Ma-Yi), John J. Caswell’s WET BRAIN (Playwrights Horizons), Jeremy O Harris’ A Boy’s Company Presents: Tell Me If I’m Hurting You, and Romeo + Juliet (NAATCO & Two River). Recent: Keith Reddin’s Black Snow (Juilliard), Phillip Howze’s Frontières Sans Frontières (Bushwick Starr-named a Top Ten Theatrical Production of 2017 by New York Magazine), Will Arbery’s Plano (Paper Chairs, Austin TX), Casey Llewellyn’s O, Earth (Foundry Theatre-Off-Broadway Alliance Best Play 2016), and a 2018 Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency. Wills has devised new work with Teatro L’Arciliuto in Rome, Italy, created large-scale puppetry pageants with Creative Action, trained with Augusto Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed legislative performance, and for a couple of years gave rogue tours of the Vatican. He is a Princess Grace Award recipient, as well as a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow. MFA: Yale School of Drama.
Daniel Schlosberg. Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Daniel Schlosberg’s music has been performed by the Dover Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Lorelei Ensemble, at venues including Carnegie Hall, (le) poisson rouge, and David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption. Daniel received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards. He has performed as a soloist in Anthony Roth Costanzo and Justin Vivian Bond’s Only an Octave Apart with the New York Philharmonic, was the pianist for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, and has collaborated with Angel Blue, David Shifrin, and the Imani Winds. Daniel is Music Director of NYC’s Heartbeat Opera, for which his radical arrangements of classic operas have garnered national acclaim. Current projects include The Extinctionist, a new opera for Heartbeat Opera, and composition and music direction for Jeremy O. Harris’s A Boy’s Company Presents.
About the Cast
(Faith). Broadway: The Minutes. Off-Broadway/Regional: Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf), These Paper Bullets! (The Atlantic, The Geffen, Yale Rep), In A Year with 13 Moons (Yale Rep), The Skin of Our Teeth (Berkshire Theatre Group), Don Juan (Westport Playhouse), Dance Dance Revolution (Les Freres Corbusier), Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb), Michael von Siebenburg (Humana). Television: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Monsterland. Vassar College BA, Yale School of Drama MFA. Ari is also the co-host of the podcast Having A Night.
(Novella). Off-Broadway: The Vagrant Trilogy, A Bright Room Called Day (The Public); Dead are my People (Next Door at NYTW); Intractable Woman, Oh My Sweet Land (The Play Company); queens, The Who & the What (LCT3); Today is my Birthday, Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page 73). Regional: Yerma (Huntington); A Thousand Splendid Suns (Old Globe/A.C.T./Theatre Calgary); Salomé (Shakespeare Theatre Company). Television/Film: High Fidelity, High Maintenance, The Looming Tower, American Insurrection, May in the Summer. Lincoln Center Theater’s 2019 Emerging Artist Award.
(Greg). Lauded as a “vocal tour de force of surpassing splendor,” operatic tenor Dane Suarez has developed an exciting and varied career. His 2021-2022 season saw returns to Opera Memphis as Canio (Pagliacci); Opera in the Heights as Manrico (Il trovatore), Lensky (Eugene Onegin), and Scalia (Scalia/Ginsburg); and Butler University as guest soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. Suarez made two company debuts as Rodolfo (La bohème) with Newport Classical and Opera Birmingham, a debut with Penn Square Music Festival as Scalia (Scalia/Ginsburg), and role and company debuts as Pollione (Norma) with Festival Opera. Dane was seen in concert with New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Maryland Opera, and Il Cenacolo Club of SF. For the 2020-2021 season, Mr. Suarez joined Opera Memphis where he debuted Scalia in Scalia/Ginsburg and debuted Memphis Symphony Orchestra for their annual holiday pops concert. Other recent engagements include Madama Butterfly, La traviata, Pagliacci, Der fliegende Holländer), La rondine, and Moby-Dick as resident artist with Opera San José; Macbeth with West Bay Opera; Der fliegende Holländer with Opera Baltimore; Idomeneo and Eugene Onegin with Opera Neo; La bohème with Pacific Opera Project, Opera in the Heights, and Crested Butte Music Festival; Carmen with Aspen Music Festival, Opera Memphis, and Pacific Opera Project; La fanciulla del West with New York City Opera; and Appomattox with Washington National Opera.
(David/Death) is thrilled to be making his Soho Rep debut in Montag. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, he is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and is passionate about the development of new and exciting work. NYU credits include Mr. Burns, Consent, and The Seagull. He was last seen on EVIL (Paramount+). He is based out of Brooklyn.
About the Creative Team
(Set Designer) received her B.F.A. in Toronto, Ontario and her M.F.A. in Theatrical Design from The University of Texas at Austin and has been in Austin ever since. Lisa creates vast, detailed worlds for stage and screen using architecture, furniture, fabric, string, found objects and paint. Some of the theatre projects she has designed for include Plano, Poor Herman and Baal (paper chairs); Antigonick, Bright Mother (Salvage Vanguard Theatre); Sonnets For An Old Century and UTNT (University of Texas); and Heroic Dose, Now Now Oh Now and Stop Hitting Yourself (Rude Mechs). She also has been Production Designer on films including jumping off bridges and Lover, Beloved. She is teaching set design at the University of Texas.
(Costume Designer) Soho Rep: Fairview & Is God Is. Broadway: A Strange Loop, The Skin of Our Teeth (Tony Award). Select Off-Broadway: Ain’t No Mo’, The House That Will Not Stand, Fefu and Her Friends, ‘Daddy’, The Death of the Last Black Man, He Brought Her Heart in a Box, Fabulation, In the Blood, Red Speedo, Pipeline, WAR, and O, Earth. Winner of the Tony, Special Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, two Henry Hewes Design, and two OBIE Awards. Education: Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music, Brown University, and the Yale School of Drama. www.montanaleviblanco.com
(Lighting Designer) is a NYC based designer for live performance. Recently: Der Freischütz (Wolf Trap Opera); Straight White Men (Westport); Private (Mosaic); Cunning Little Vixen & Salome (Bard); Puppet Lab (St. Ann’s Warehouse); To the Yellow House (La Jolla Playhouse). Internationally, her work has taken her to Russia, Chile, China, Germany, Ecuador, the Netherlands, Bolivia, and one very big boat. Homes for New York projects include Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, The Kitchen, Atlantic Theatre Co., Clubbed Thumb, PlayCo, Invisible Dog, Page73, and Bushwick Starr. In addition to design, Masha’s interests include progress towards pay equity and a more ethical model of making in the American theater. Masha received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. She is the Masha of design collective, Masha and the Bear Design and a proud member of USA829.
(Sound Designer) (he/him). Broadway/National Tour: What the Constitution Means to Me. Off-Broadway: MCC Theater, Second Stage, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Atlantic Theater Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick Theater, and The Movement Theatre Company. Regional: The Kennedy Center, Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and more.
(Props Designer) is a Brazilian multidisciplinary artist based in NYC with experience on different types and scopes of projects in theater. Director, performer, designer and craft master, Patrícia moved to NYC after 19 years of extensive work in theater productions in Brazil, where she got her Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts by Universidade de Brasília (UnB). Patrícia’s theatrical credits have included performing in classical plays like Much Ado About Nothing (Brasilia 2014), directing modern adaptations like Hamlet-Machine (Brasilia 2001), and new works including On How to Be a Monster with At Alia Theatre Company (NYU – Dec 2019); and What Will Become of Kaaron (Oct 2021) and her own work as a playwright, A Song to Keep the Wolves Awake (Nov 2019), both at The Tank NYC. Her designer work runs from props designer and set dresser for shows like Black Exhibition, Preparedness, Skinfolk, all at Bushwick Starr; set designer for Addressless and Ïn the Southern Breeze at Rattlestick Theatre-to interactive performances such as Carnavalize the Matter at TheatreLab (NYC 2021) and design solutions for alternative venues like for Lost & Found directed by Meghan Finn (in a garage of 4 New York Plaza for Downtown Alliance) and The Sunset PICNIC for The Tank (at Lincoln Tunnel’s ramp) among others.
(Fight Director). Hannah “Rock” Roccisano is a NYC based director, fight director and educator. Although she is very open to collaborating on any project, she usually finds herself choreographing work either written centuries ago, or very recently. Recent assistant fight directing credits include: Money Heist The Experience (Netflix), Dracula (Classic Stage Company), Sideways the Experience (Peccadillo Theater Company), All the Natalie Portmans (MCC), The Effect (Barrow Street Theater), Crumbs From the Table of Joy and Paradise Blue (The Juilliard School). She has taught at: NYU Tisch, The Knickerbocker Studio, The Atlantic Acting Studio and University of West Florida. Training: Advanced Actor/Combatant and Chair of Development, Society of American Fight Directors; MFA Directing and Master of Letters in Shakespeare, Mary Baldwin University.
(Production Stage Manager) (they/he) is an AEA stage manager, show-caller, and overall creative freelancer who has worked across continents and contexts for the past eleven years. Off-Broadway and Regionally Kasson has collaborated with companies including Soho Rep., the Park Avenue Armory, the National Asian American Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, MCC Theater, Fiasco Theater, Hartford Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, and Spoleto Festival USA. Kasson’s dance experience includes work with the American Dance Festival, Cora Dance, and four years with Pilobolus, stage managing domestic and international tours, summer festivals, and a run at The Joyce Theater, as well as co-developing and co-teaching a dance-centric stage management curriculum. Kasson’s event work includes MCC Theater’s Miscast (2019 and 2022), Primary Stages Gala 2021, the Queer Liberation March Rally, Yo-Yo Ma’s Day of Action, The Good Place Activation at San Diego Comic-Con, Symphony at the Salk with Leslie Odom Jr., and many corporate conferences. Kasson was an advisor for American Theatre’s September 2020 Digital Issue – Trans Voices Lead the Way, and co-wrote the piece “Pushing Past Norms and Into Equitable Authenticity: How TGNC production and stage managers are leading the field by example”. Kasson grew up around Austin TX, and their career began in Dallas, TX with companies including Shakespeare Dallas, Kitchen Dog Theater, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Theatre Three, and Park Cities Dance. Kasson holds a BA in Theatre from the University of North Texas, and a MFA in Stage Management from the University of California, San Diego.