Lincoln Center Festival '09: World Beat

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Attention, international stage fans: Lincoln Center Festival just announced its lineup, and it's quite a tasty global menu. World-class theater from Russia, France and Italy (no, not Romeo Castellucci; it is the enduring embarrassment of this town that neither LCF nor BAM has invited this nightmarishly brilliant Italian auteur) will be served up come July. I guess it's proof that last summer's multimillion-dollar budget-breaker, Die Soldaten, didn't bankrupt Nigel Redden; He will be presenting two shows in the vast, stately Park Avenue Armory. This year's festival is decidedly heavy on theatrical offerings.

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From St. Petersburg, we get Lev Dodin's stage adaptation of Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, a doorstop novel that tells a sprawling family story set against the Nazi siege of Stalingrad. Dodin is the head of Maly Drama Theatre, one of the top companies in Russia. Last time he was here in 2000, he presented Brothers and Sisters.>

France's Ariane Mnouchkine, who caused widespread jaw-dropping and heart-pounding with her epic tale of displaced peoples, Le Dernier Caravansrail, is back with Les phmres. This new show (about three hours long) is piddling compared with the seven-hour Caravansrail. In it, Mnouchkine and her company compose a complex tapestry of fleeting, precious moments in the lives of the characters. Expect to see performers placed atop small wheeled platforms, as they were in Caravansrail.

Is commedia dell'arte more your speed? Piccolo Teatro di Milano/Teatri Uniti di Napoli returns with its production of Carlo Goldoni's comedy Trilogia della villeggiatura. The city-mouse-versus-country-mouse story concerns rich, pretentious city folk who go on vacation and get into all sorts of misadventures.

It's quite some time until the festival—July 7--26—but this notice should whet your appetite and give globe-trotting playgoers a reason to stay home this summer.

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