Theatre @ York opens new season with a satire

Theatre @ York presents Comedy of Vanity by Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti as its first play of the season.

The play, originally written in German in 1934, is a satire in which a populace is driven to collective distraction when mirrors and all other aids to narcissism are outlawed on pain of death.

An English translation by Gitta Honegger will be performed Nov. 12-18 by fourth-year York theatre students and directed by York’s acting and directing Prof. Ines Buchli. This is the North American premiere of the play.

Comedy of Vanity was originally written in German by Canetti, a Bulgarian-born Jew educated in Austria who spent much of his adult life in London and later in Zurich before his death in 1994. After studying chemistry in university, he turned to literature and philosophy and began publishing essays, plays and novels in the 1930s. His best-known work is Crowds and Power (1960), an imaginative study of mass movements, death and disordered society. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1981.

Buchli’s directing credits include the Shaw Festival and Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille and Necessary Angel Theatre. She also writes and directs for the screen. Her most recent production, Foxy Lady, Wild Cherry, premiered to critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival in Sept. 2000, received a Genie Award nomination, and won numerous awards.

Theatre @ York productions showcase the performance, directing and production talents of undergraduate and graduate students in York’s Theatre Department.

Comedy of Vanity previews Nov. 12 and 13, opens Nov. 14 and runs to Nov. 18 in the Joseph G. Green Studio in York’s Centre for Film & Theatre. Performances start at 7:30pm. There will be two matinee performances Nov. 15 and 17 at 1pm. For tickets and information, visit the Theatre @ York box office Web site.