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THURSDAY, DEC 07 2017, 07:30 PM

Austrian Stage presents the US and English language premiere of In the Dead Mountains, a staged reading of the absurd drama by Austrian playwright Thomas Arzt. The performance will be followed by a talk with translator Neil Blackadder, director Guy Ben-Aharon, and Jacob M. Appel, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


Playwright | Thomas Arzt
Translation | Neil Blackadder
Director | Guy Ben-Aharon
Featuring | McKinley Belcher III*, Eric Bryant*, Donnetta Grays*, Stephanie Heitman, Galen Ryan Kane*, Vince Nappo*

In the Dead Mountains takes place in a psychiatric facility. In contrast to other plays dealing with the subject, in Arzt’s play the patients do not embody some kind of anarchic alternative to mainstream society, but rather are just as “sick” as the world from which they have fled into this closed environment. The melancholy head doctor has long since recognized that the therapy she can offer individuals is not more than patchwork in the face of the deficiencies of society. The new arrival Raimund appears to have turned to stone, Nepomuk is suffering from brain damage following drug abuse, and Emanuel, who has been unemployed for years, gave up on himself a long time ago. Only the nurse Anton remains optimistic and is preparing a puppet show for New Year’s, while Nepomuk remains convinced about the world’s imminent apocalyptic ending.


Guy Ben-Aharon is dedicated to sharing diverse, international voices with American audiences. Since 2010, Guy has directed and produced over 40 plays in translations from the Hebrew (through Israeli Stage), German (ACFNY, Goethe Institut, swissnex), French (French Cultural Center, swissnex) and Swedish (Scandinavian Cultural Center). A proud Emerson alum, his dedication to international theatre has resulted in tours throughout the East Coast from Toronto to Atlanta at over 30 academic institutions. Since its debut in 2014 with Thomas Bernhard’s World Fixer, Ewald Palmetshofer’s the unmarried woman (2015), and last year’s Jägerstätter by Felix Mitterer, In The Dead Mountains is the fourth annual cooperation and Austrian Stage production.


Thomas Arzt (b. 1983) is an Austrian playwright. His early writings are influenced by the old Austrian folk-comedies of Raimund and Nestroy, but also by political plays of Brecht, Horváth and Soyfer. After completing high-school he first worked in a home for the elderly before a one year stint at the Munich Film Academy. Back in Vienna he began writing for theater. In 2008, he was awarded the Hans Gratzer Fellowship for his first play, Grillenparz (Chirping Hill), “a poetic social study of a whodunit. Hardly ever has such applied brutality ventured so compellingly on a stage.” (Nachtkritik). Grillenparz was subsequently premiered at Vienna’s Schauspielhaus, where Arzt was a writer in residence from 2010 to 2011. Alpenvorland (Alpine Blues), his second play, won the Authors’ Award at the 2012 Heidelberg Play Market. It was staged in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland and also featured at the International Theatre Festival in Buenos Aires. His most recent play, Totes Gebirge (In the Dead Mountains), is the third play named after an Austrian region and so far the end of his “Trilogy of Homeland”. It is also the third translation work together with the translator Neil Blackadder.


Neil Blackadder translates drama and prose from German and French, specializing in contemporary theatre. He grew up in England and since 1994 has taught theatre, first at Duke University then at Knox College. His translation of Ewald Palmetshofer’s the unmarried woman was presented by Austrian Stage in 2015, and his translations of plays by Palmetshofer and by Lukas Bärfuss have been produced in London, New York, Chicago, and elsewhere. Neil developed In the Dead Mountains through a residency at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre; he has also held residencies at Art Omi, and received grants from the Howard Foundation and PEN. His translation of Thomas Arzt’s Alpenvorland was developed and presented at hotINK at the Lark in 2014.


McKinley Belcher III’s* (Nepomuk) off-Broadway credits include The Royale (Lincoln Center-Drama Desk Award), Romeo & Juliet and Fidelis. He is best know as Agent Trevor Evans in Jason Bateman’s Netflix crime thriller Ozark and as Samuel Diggs in two seasons of Ridley Scott’s PBS civil war drama Mercy Street. Other film and tv credits include: Ed Zwick’s Trial by Fire, Show Me a Hero, Mapplethorpe, Go for Sisters, Power, Chicago PD, Madam Secretary, Elementary, Louie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Rizzoli & Isles, Law & Order: LA. He recently starred in the world premiere of Ken Urban’s A Guide for the Homesick at Huntington Theatre Company. He’s also performed at Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, and many more. He graduated from USC’s School of Dramatic Arts with an MFA in Acting.

Eric Bryant* (Anton) has studied at the Yale School of Drama and UNC-Chapel Hill. His NYC credits include theater-productions such as Angels in AmericaCut Throatand Pillow Book. He also appeared in The Invisible Hand and Room Service in Westport, Almost and Maine at Theaterworks Hartford, Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch, etc. His TV credits include: BLACKLIST, Mr. Robot, The Following, Blue Bloods and Deception.

Donnetta Grays* (Theresia) is a Brooklyn based actor and playwright. Her acting credits include Broadway’s In the Nest Room or The Vibrator Play and Well. She also appeared in Twelfth Night, Earth, Men on Boats, Shipwrecked!, In the Footprint and Be the Death of Me with The Civilians as an associate artist. Regionally she is a 2-time Connecticut Critics Circle Award recipient and Helen Hayes Award nominee performing at American Conservatory Theater, Portland Stage Company, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Centerstage, The Huntington Theatre, Barrington Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. Her Film and TV credits include Mating, Book of Henry, Wild Canaries, The English Teacher, The Wrestler, The Night of…, Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, Law & Order, Mercy, Rubicon, The Sopranos and A Gifted Manwww.donnettagrays.com

Stephanie Heitman (Josefine) trained at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is a current member of THE BATS; resident acting company of The Flea Theatre. Recent work includes A Snowfall in Berlin directed by Shaun Peknic at Teatro Latea and The Cutthroat Series: Grand Guignol at The Flea Theatre. In the U.K. Stephanie worked extensively with Castle Theatre Company and performed in regional tours of Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and Arcadia. Voiceover work includes spots for MTV and Kindle.

Galen Ryan Kane* (Emanuel) is an American actor, encamping in New York City. A new presence in both stage and film, from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, born of Baltimore City. Kane is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where he appeared in This Land Was Made, The Winter’s Tale, Paradise Lost, The Children, Women Beware Women, and the titular role in Othello. Other credits include works by Pulitzer Prize winner's Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel  and August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Petrol Station, The Untitled Project: Views from Black Men in America, The Hotel Nepenthe, and Oscar-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brother’s Size. He has also starred on Chicago P.D. and Madam Secretary. Repped by Abrams Artists.

Vince Nappo  is a Brooklyn based actor. Selected theatre credits: The Broadway National tour of Million Dollar Quartet, playing Sam Phillipsand Off-Broadway's The Merchant Of Venice and The Jew Of Malta, with Theatre For A New Audience.  The Merchant of Venice transferred to the Royal Shakespeare Company and played in their Complete Works Festival in 2006-2007. Selected film credits: Friends With Kids, Serenity. Selected television credits: Controversy, The Last Tycoon , Jack Ryan, I'm Dying Up Here, NCIS, Reign, Shades Of Blue, Castle, Unforgettable, and Red Widowwww.vincenappo.com 


Jacob M. Appel is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown, an M.S. in bioethics from Albany Medical College, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. from N.Y.U. and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. 


Thomas Arzt (c) Nina Grünberger