The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
by Peter Handke
directed by Zeljko Djukic
translated by Michael Roloff
dramaturgy by Evan Hill
sound design by Kimberly Sutton
set and costume design by Natasha Dukic
featuring Kevin V. Smith and Melissa Lorraine
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez is a voluptuous prose-poem for the stage between a Man and a Woman, two ‘figures’ in the heart of a bucolic garden in the heart of high summer—something of an eternity, something of an irretrievable moment. It is not a drama that occurs between them, but a summer dialogue that proceeds by way of interrogation-play. The mysteries of eroticism and nature surface in their incursions into untold memories, silent happenings that for the first time demand a language. In Handke’s text, amorous attraction is transfigured into metaphysical desire; a game of questions becomes a game of passions, and this play of passion becomes a world of poetic images as sensuous as the soundscape of the outside world: premonitory and encroaching. With a singular dramaturgical approach, this latest of Handke’s plays is a sterling interrogation of how and what we talk about when we talk about love.
This is a US/English premiere, with a commissioned translation from Michael Roloff (with
Scott Abbott), who was Handke’s principal translator for the greater part of the writer’s early-mid career. Directing this previously untranslated work is the accomplished director Zeljko Djukic—founder and decade long artistic director of TUTA (2002-2012), recipient of many awards and nominations for outstanding work, and an eminently skilled craftsman of, among other theatrical forms, post-drama tic theater. Djukic is directly in his element with the likes of Handke, and will be crafting out of this indefinable text a canny, nuanced, and ‘open’ performance in this actor-driven work. Intricate sound design, live environment, time, the spectator’s inner eye: all will be materials from which Handke’s peculiar and engrossing world will be given form.