A Disease Called Sobriety

PUNTILA AND MATTI poster small“There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they had no good in them.”

— La Rouchefoucauld

Brecht’s epic comedy of two men from very different strata of life — the good-natured, somewhat suspicious but always honest chauffeur, Matti, and his employer, gentleman farmer Puntila, whose only problem is this little disease he suffers from:  A disease called sobriety.

For when drunk, Puntila is warm, generous, insightful and wise.  It’s when he sobers up the trouble starts..

Written in Finland in the mid 1940s, “Puntila and Matti” premiered in Zurich in 1948 and was the premiere production of the newly-formed Berliner Ensemble in 1950.  Brecht believed this show should be done in style evoking the Commedia, and adaptor Lee Hall responded to that in 1998 by remaking it as a vaudeville extravaganza.

Sober Puntila has affianced his daughter Eva to a boring but respectable government Attache, but Drunken Puntila can’t stand the man and moves heaven and earth to strike a spark between Eva and Matti.  Sober Puntila is resigned to the single life, but Drunken Puntila, an inveterate ladies’ man, proposes to half the eligible women in the district.  Sober Puntila hires his laborers grudgingly at slave wages, but Drunken Puntila is a one-man stimulus package.

Can Mr. Brecht’s theories of alienation and collectivism survive in a breakneck world of snappy patter and showbiz pizazz?  Join Puntila, Matti, Eva, and the whole gang as they find the answer to that question!

Monday, Sept. 28th

7:30pm Reading

Email events@antaeus.org for more information on how to attend!

-John Apicella

John is a stage, film and tv actor whose thirty year career includes dozens of feature film and network television roles. His work with L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum includes West Coast premieres of Vaclav Havel’s plays Largo Desolato and Temptation, as well as the Antaeus/Taper production of Chekhov’s The Wood Demon.  Regional work includes A.C.T. (San Francisco) in The First Picture Show, Glengarry Glen Ross and The Imaginary Invalid, and the Dallas Theatre Center.  He is a founding member of Antaeus and served on the board for fifteen years and as co-artistic director for five years.
Besides a lifelong fascination with the plays of Brecht, his specialties include commedia dell’arte (he is a skilled classical maskmaker), the American drama of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the classical Greek and Roman theater


Moderators Announced for Classical Styles!

CLASSICAL STYLES begins tonight!

A series of master classes in classical scene work moderated by a variety of Antaeus members as well as other acclaimed professional directors and actors.

At Antaeus, we believe mastering the acting challenges of great classics takes a lifetime and that the desire to take on these challenges is central to achieving great acting. Here, we’re constantly putting young artists-in-training together with seasoned professionals – in the classroom, in readings, workshops and in full productions — so that skills, work ethics and inspiration are not just taught but ‘passed down.’

JEANIE HACKETT: Shakespeare, The Greeks, Shaw, Coward & Wilde

Ms. Hackett has been part of the Artistic Leadership team of Antaeus for the past 8 years.  She has been a professional actress for over 20 years, and has appeared in classical and new plays on Broadway (including Stella in A Streetcar

Jeanie Hackett

Jeanie Hackett

Named Desire with Blythe Danner), as well as many off-Broadway productions.  She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, at the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York and is a graduate of NYU’s acting program. She appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival with legendary actors Rosemary Harris, Frank Langella, Colleen Dewhurst and Christopher Reeve among many others.  Her television work includes guest stars on “The West Wing” “The L Word” “Criminal Minds” and film work includes the recent “King of California” and the upcoming “Kids in America” with Topher Grace. In Los Angeles theatre she has played leading roles at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Cannon Theatre (The Vagina Monologues), and at The Matrix Theatre (The Seagull, Ovation Award, Best Ensemble.) At the Odyssey Theatre she played Clytemnestra in the 8 hour marathon play The Greeks, which she also co-directed with Ron Sossi.  She is the former Artistic Director of LA’s Classical Theatre Lab where she directed Tennessee Williams, A Celebration, a theatre piece which she originally conceived with renowned director Nikos Psacharopoulos for The Williamstown Theatre Festival.  She is the founder and director of the Antaeus Company’s Academy, a classical theatre training program for emerging young actors.  With John Apicella, she creatively oversaw Antaeus’ acclaimed mainstage productions, as well as creating a series of Antaeus events called CLASSICSFEST — a gathering of over 100 actors in the summer for the presentation of readings and workshop productions of classical plays and new plays with classical themes.  Jeanie is the author of two books on acting:  The Actor’s Chekhov, and Toward Mastery, both based on the work of director Nikos Psacharopoulos.

GEOFFREY WADE: Shakespeare, The Greeks, Shaw, Coward & Wilde

WADE_GEOFFREYMr. Wade is just back from three months playing the title role in the world premier of Lincoln: Upon the Altar of Freedom.  He has performed on and off-Broadway and continues to work extensively in regional theater (a sampling includes several seasons at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Rep Theatre of St. Louis, also Pennsylvania Stage, Center Stage, GeVa, the Guthrie, Denver Center, Carbonell nominated performances at the Caldwell, and a long association with Vermont’s Weston Playhouse).  His LA theatre credits include Heathen Valley and The Savannah Option as well as award winning productions of The Man Who Had All The Luck, Mercadet and Mother Courage along with numerous other Antaeus shows.  He works in episodic television, and in radio and on tour with LA Theatre Works. He trained at The Central School of Speech and Drama in London.  He has taught at the Antaeus Academy since 2001.

GREGORY ITZIN: Shakespeare

Gregory Itzin has been making his living as an actor for quite a while now. At the moment Mr. Itzin is probably best known for his portrayal of “President Charles Logan” on the TV show “24”, a role for which he received an EmmyITZIN_GREG Nomination in 2006.  Mr. Itzin has appeared on 130+ other TV shows including (as a regular or recurring character) “Murder One”, “The Nutt House”, “Boston Legal”, “The Practice”, “Philly”, “Something Wilder”, “L.A. Law”, “Picket Fences”, “Eerie, Indiana”, and can at present be seen as Agent Minelli in the CBS series “The Mentalist”. As a guest star he has appeared on: numerous “Star Trek” episodes on “Deep Space Nine”, “Voyager”, and “Enterprise” ; “NYPD Blue”, “ER”, “Chicago Hope”, “CSI”, “JAG”, “NCIS”, “Profiler”, “The Pretender”, “Firefly”, etc. Movie appearances include: “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”, “Original Sin”, “Life Or Something Like It”, “Airplane!”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “Adaptation”, “Evolution”, etc. His numerous stage credits include several Dramalogue awards, three L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards, a Drama Desk and Tony Award nomination. Venues include: Broadway, The Kennedy Center, The Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA, The Globe Theatre, San Diego, The Intiman Theatre, Seattle, The Public Theatre, NY, The Actor’s Playpen, LA, and his theatrical home, The Matrix Theatre, LA, where he is a company member and award winner for such productions as Endgame, Waiting For Godot, The Homecoming, The Birthday Party, Dealing With Claire, and the World Premiere of Yield Of The Long Bond. Other personal theatrical milestones include: The Kentucky Cycle which he performed in at the Intiman Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, The Kennedy Center, and Broadway and for which Mr. Itzin received the aforementioned Drama Desk and Tony nominations; ALL Brian Friel plays performed (Translations, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Faith Healer, Lovers), Mercutio, Benedick, Richard II, The Fool in Stand Up Shakespeare, and the insane Al Sereno in Road To Nirvana. Mr. Itzin resides in Los Angeles with his amazing wife Judie and some dogs and cats and has two children out in the world; Julia and Will, of whom he is very proud.

ELIZABETH SWAINliz swain: Shakespeare

Her recent directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Cal State, Long Beach, Medea for the Antaeus Company and Macbeth for NY State Theatre Institute. Other credits include Pam Gems’ Camille, Stoppard’s Arcadia, The Winter’s Tale, an all-female Hamlet, two plays by Aphra Behn: The Rover and The Lucky Chance, Susanna Centlivre’s The Wonder, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good and The Love of the Nightingale, Mishima’s Hanjo and the NY premiere of Wendy Kesselman’s The Executioner’s Daughter.  She teaches at the Shakespeare Sedona Institute and at the Michael Howard Studio in Manhattan. She was a participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities 2002 summer institute, Shakespeare’s Staging :Inside and Out at the Blackfriars Theatre in Virginia and at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and holds a doctorate from the City University of NY.



Michael Hackett

Michael Hackett

Michael Hackett is a Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. He has directed for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Royal Theatre at the Hague; the Centrum Sztuki Studio and Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw; the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; the Los Angeles Opera (children’s series); the L. A. Theatre Works and the Getty Museum. He was the artistic producer for Robert Wilson?s King Lear at Studio One, Metromedia in Hollywood and he was co-producer, with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for two radio plays directed by Peter Sellars.

His presentation on 18th century French children’s costume, Dressing for the Carnival, was commissioned for the opening day of the Getty Center. Recently he has directed and composed fragments from Elektra by Euripides for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut and he has directed six productions for KCRW and KPCC/National Public Radio including Wilde’s An Ideal Husband with Jacqueline Bisset, Martin Jarvis, and Alfred Molina.

NIKE DOUKAS: Shaw, Coward & Wilde

Nike Doukas
Nike Doukas

Nike Doukas has performed regionally at South Coast Rep (including Barbara in Major Barbara, Beatrice in Much Ado, Raina in Arms and the Man, Eliza in Pygmalion, Elvira in Blithe Spirit and in the world premieres of Richard Greenberg’s Everett Beekin, and Amy Freed’s The Beard of Avon), The Mark Taper Forum (The Wood Demon with Antaeus, and The Affliction of Glory, a joint project with the Getty), The Old Globe (Much Ado), A.C.T., in Seattle (Communicating Doors and the world premiere of Donald Margulies’ God of Vengeance), Berkeley Rep (The Importance of Being Earnest), and the American Conservatory Theatre (including Private Lives and The Majestic Kid), and seasons at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare Festival LA.  Recent TV credits include guest spots on “Without a Trace”, “Criminal Minds”, “Blind Justice”, “Boston Legal”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “NYPD Blue”, “Judging Amy” and recurring roles on “Desperate Housewives”, “Almost Perfect”, and “The Guardian”.  She has an MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre.

BARRY CREYTON: Shaw, Coward & Wilde

Barry Creyton  is an Australian actor and playwright.  Creyton began his professional career in radio and revue in Australia. He is probably best known as one of the stars and writers of the satirical comedy television series The Mavis Bramston Show. He also authored two successful plays for Sydney’s Music Hall Theatre: Lady Audley’s Secret, in which he also starred and How The West Was Lost, a satire on the TV western genre.  Creyton moved to England for thumb_Barry Creyton - Duetsnine years, playing in comedy, dramatic roles, and revue in the West End. He played a leading role in the BBC’s popular radio serial Waggoner’s Walk, and was a frequent broadcaster for the BBC World Service. He also wrote a farce for the stage, Follow That Husband, which was produced by Ray Cooney.  In 1977, Creyton returned to Australia. During the next ten years he worked in TV, the movies, and the theatre. He was a lead writer on TV series Carson’s Law and contributed regular episodes to its long run, at the same time writing comedy material for The Mike Walsh Show; he also appeared in some ninety guest spots on this variety show.  In 1987, he directed the musical Nunsense which broke box office records all over Australia. With the author’s permission he revised the dialogue for Australian audiences, an exercise he repeated for Irish audiences in the Dublin production which he directed in June 1988.  His play, Double Act has been produced in over twenty languages. 

In 1988, Creyton was honoured with the Norman Kessel Memorial Award for his contributions to Australian theatre as actor, playwright and director.  Since 1989, he has worked almost exclusively in the United States where he has written movies-of-the-week for TV. He wrote all the sketch material for the off Broadway revue Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know which ran for two and a half years in New York.  In 1996, Barry returned to Australia to star in the Queensland State Theatre Company’s production of Coward’s Blithe Spirit. He returned to Sydney to direct and star in his own play Valentine’s Day at Marian Street Theatre where it played to capacity. Valentine’s Day is currently playing in Germany (Valentinstag) and in Holland (Valentijnsdag). Two years later, he wrote, directed and starred in the bitter-sweet comedy Later Than Spring, also for Marian Street and to critical acclaim. In 2007 he again co-starred with Noeline Brown in the play Glorious at the Ensemble, Sydney.  His novels, The Dogs of Pompeii and Nero Goes to Rome, co-authored with American writer Vaughan Edwards, are published by Random House.




What is an ensemble? Antaeus answers…….

The Antaeus experiment began in 1991 at Center Theater Group.  It was and is: to bring together some of the finest actors in America to collectively grapple with the challenges of the classics by creating a common vocabulary and value system, with a big emphasis on process over results.

Antaeans meet weekly over months and sometimes years to work on the challenging language and the earth-shattering ideas of classics great and small.  Sometimes we work towards presentation, sometimes we study for the sake of the workout itself.Double-casting makes for interesting photo calls!

We have developed an unique method to allow our work and productions to continue when key personnel may be called away to an “industry” job.  We double cast everything with two equally talented, skilled and appropriate actors.  This has, in addition to safeguarding projects, strengthened our ensemble.

Chekhov’s The Wood Demon, presented in 1993 at the Mark Taper Forum, marked the first public presentation of our big experiment of ENSEMBLE, with two to three actors versed in every role and casts changing nightly.

And does it work?  Here’s what our critics have to say about past productions:

“It takes a troupe with a deep appreciation of theatrical history and no lack of ambition to do the show justice, and the Antaeus Company has stepped up with an outstanding production.”  –Terry Morgan, VARIETY

“… there’s no better reason to go to the theater this month regardless of which cast performs, you are in for a great evening or afternoon of theater…..It’s a treat to be able to see how different actors approach the same characters and make parts their own.” –Steven Shanley, LASTAGESCENE.COM

Meet Mila Sterling, our website designer!

Mila Sterling has been a professional artist since her graduation from UC Berkeley in 1995. After completing the UC Extension graphics program in 2000 she began working fulltime as a graphic designer at various companies throughout California before her transition to freelancing in late 2002.

Mila Sterling

Mila Sterling

Originally from Manhattan, Ms. Sterling has lived in San Francisco and Madrid and presently calls Los Angeles her home.

Primarily considering herself an expressionist painter, Ms. Sterling creates pieces that interpret and transform rather than imitate. Her work aims to evoke a visceral response to a subject, whether that subject is an abstraction, a figure, or the practice of painting itself. She often uses photographs she has taken herself as a foundation for her paintings.

Most of Ms. Sterling’s design background has been in entertainment print graphics with an emphasis on key art. In 2006 she expanded her repertoire to include business identity systems and web design.



Meet The Staff: Leia S. Crawford

First Installment of MEET THE STAFF!  Comment if you have questions that you want us to ask our other Staff Members.

NEXT on MEET THE STAFF: Cecily Lerner, Director of Development

Announcing Moderators for our Fall Shakespeare Workout!

Jonathan Lynn moderates the Hay Fever Intensive

Jonathan Lynn moderates the Hay Fever Intensive with Director Douglas Clayton Photo by Geoffrey Wade

Announcing Guest Moderators
for Fall Session of

Shakespeare Workout!

Great actors need great writers. Experience the challenges and rewards of tackling Shakespeare in sessions moderated by a rotating group of L.A.’s top actors, directors and acting teachers.

September: Jonathan Lynn

Filmmaker, Screenwriter and novelist, Jonathan Lynn’s prolific career spans nearly four decades and includes directing, writing, producing and acting. He has directed numerous films, including “The Fighting Temptations,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “My Cousin Vinny,” and “Clue.” From 1977 to 1981 he served as Artistic Director of The Cambridge Theatre Company, where he produced more than forty plays, directing twenty of them himself including a Macbeth with Brian Cox that toured both the UK and India, and played a special performance for the Prime Minister,Mrs Gandhi. The 1980’s phenomena “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister,” which Lynn co-created and co-wrote propelled Lynn to fame in his native Great Britain. Also an accomplished actor, his stage performances range from playing Hitler in The Comedy Of The Changing Years at the Royal Court Theatre to Motel The Tailor in the original London cast of Fiddler On The Roof. With Antaeus, Jonathan serves on the Board of Directors, as Chair of the Artistic Advisory Board, and has directed a variety of readings and workshop productions.

October: Dakin MatthewsMATTHEWS_DAKIN

A founding member of the Antaeus Company and has appeared in its productions of The Wood Demon, Of Mice And Men, The Man Who Had All The Luck, Mercadet, The Liar, The Proof of the Promise, and Chekhov x 4.  He is active in professional theatre in Southern California, and has appeared frequently in film and on TV.  He is also a playwright, director, dramaturge, and Shakespeare scholar. Dakin is an Associate Artist of the Old Globe Theatre, a founding member of John Houseman’s Acting Company, former Artistic Director of California Actors Theatre, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, and the Antaeus Company, and current Artistic Director of Andak Stage Company. He has performed with ACT in San Francisco, the Old Globe in San Diego, the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory Theatre, specializing in Shakespearean roles. He has appeared in over twenty films and a hundred and fifty television shows, including regular or recurring roles on twelve different series. His handbook on verse-speaking, Shakespeare Spoken Here, has been used in universities and training programs throughout California; he has given masterclasses in Shakespearean acting across the country and has taught and directed in professional training programs at The Juilliard School, American Conservatory Theatre, Cal Arts, and USD/Old Globe.

November: Brendon Fox

Brendon Fox_053_A#F426small

Brendon Fox is a consultant and former Associate Producer for L.A. Theatre Works, directing   and producing many acclaimed radio plays for NPR as well as numerous national tours. For Antaeus, he directed one-act in Coward’s Tonight at 8:30

and The Rover with the A2 Company. He has worked as Associate Director at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego for seven years where he directed An Infinite Ache, Sky Girls, and Much Ado About Nothing (with Billy Campbell and Dana

Delany) among others. Regional directing credits include: Playmakers Repertory, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Weston Theatre Company;  The Julliard School and University of San Diego; Two River Theatre Company, Ravinia Music Festival, Writers Theatre Chicago, Merrimack Rep and Diversionary Theatre. Mr. Fox has directed national tours of The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial (with Ed Asner), Private Lives, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue (with Hector Elizondo) with L.A. Theatre Works.  Mr. Fox has taught and / or directed students at numerous prestigious conservatories around the country.  He holds a BS in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and an MFA in Directing at UCLA.

All Moderators are subject to availability

Shakespeare Workout meets on Tuesdays from 2-5pm, beginning September 8th

email academy@antaeus.org for more information

Antaeus Diary: Dakin Matthews and The Bridge Project

I guess you could say we’re winding down her at the Bridge Project, though six more weeks is pretty much a standard run in any other theatre.  And the final week in Epidaurus is far from standard.

The Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard have settled down into a regular rotation schedule, so our days tend to be free—though there are the occasional put-in rehearsals for new musicians or understudies.  The weather for Wimbledon week was spectacular, as many of you probably saw on TV, but now it has reverted to its typical London will-it-or-won’t-it guessing game.

Anne has gone home, and family starts to come in for visits today, so I’ll probably do a bit more sightseeing with them.  British Museum, Tate (old and modern), National Gallery, that sort of thing.

Earlier this week we were treated to a tour of St Paul’s by Simon Russell Beale, who spent much of his childhood there

Photo by Dakin Matthews

Photo by Dakin Matthews

as a “Paul’s boy.”  The cathedral school was originally founded in the 16th century to train choirboys for the church, and, somewhat more interestingly, young actors for its theatre company, under the direction of John Lily.  Some of these boys went on to become adult actors with the major companies.  Simon was trained as a chorister and, remarkably, went on to become one of London’s most prestigious actors (while some of his classmates went on to the clergy). St. Paul’s, of course, is where booksellers set up their stalls and sold things like Shakespearean Quartos, and the central aisle was more like Main Street than a church in Shakespeare’s day.  The original church burnt to the ground in the Great Fire, and Christopher Wren rebuilt the current one somewhat on the model of St. Peter’s in Rome.  Most of the monuments inside are, surprisingly, military and political, and there is no large “Poet’s Corner”; but I did manage to pay a little homage at the graves of some pre-Raphaelite artists, along with John Donne, and my favorite, Sir Arthur Sullivan.

I do enjoy walking about Southwark—Shakespeare’s old stomping grounds—and retracing his steps to places where I know he must have been.  I’m planning at least one more visit to Shakespeare’s Globe—perhaps to see what they do with Troilus and Cressida—and I’ll try to see a matinee or two in the West End.  (I see the local Southwark Theartre (professional? amateur? in between?) is doing The Rover this week.)

Sundays—our days off–have tended to be busier that workdays, amazingly enough.  Two weeks ago it was an all day party at the country estate (and I do mean estate) of Sam Mendes and Kate Winslett in the Cotswolds.  It as a two hour drive there and three hours back, but in between there was swimming, badminton (on their private court), soccer (their private pitch) a whole hog on the spit, dessert in the Turkish tent, and a bonfire in their 40 acre meadow, being serenaded by Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke and their guitars.  And did I mention lots of alcohol.

Last Sunday was Wimbledon finals all day, then a birthday party all night on the rooftop apartments of the complex.  Then next Sunday is another trip out of town to an all-day party hosted by Sinead Cusack and Jeremy Irons at their house in Oxfordshire.

I’ve been trying to keep working on other projects while I’ve been here.  I just finished a new translation of Lope’s Romeo and Juliet play (called The Capulets and The Montagues) and had a reading with the company last week.  It went well enough that I’m considering producing it next year.  And right now I’m halfway through my newest project, a musical of Goldoni’s The Mistress of the Inn.  I did a translation some years ago, and revised it for another theatre last year; and at the time, I though it could make a terrific small musical (six roles).  So I’ve gotten a composer on board; and I cut the script and write lyrics in London and send them to him, and he composes music in LA and sends it to me.  So we’re writing in cyberspace.  We hope to have the first draft of book, lyrics, and music done by the end of August.

Which is when I’ll be seeing you all again.  And not a moment too soon.

Founding Artistic Director Dakin Matthews

Founding Artistic Director Dakin Matthews