From the Artistic Director
With its stunning production, a staggering central performance and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s compelling ideas about man and society gone wrong, I knew I wanted to bring Robert Woodruff and Bill Camp’s Notes from Underground to the Playhouse when I saw it at Yale Rep last year.
Woodruff, a visionary director, and Camp, an extraordinary actor, have fearlessly co-adapted Dostoevsky’s 1864 existentialist novella about a passionate and tormented government official who withdraws from society, railing against bourgeois materialism and a world gone mad with liberalism. Their collaboration — laugh-out-loud funny and terrifying — has taken Dostoevsky’s groundbreaking antihero and transformed him into a man who resonates for our own time.
Woodruff has directed five productions at the Playhouse: Brecht’s A Man’s A Man (1985); Figaro Gets a Divorce (1986); The Tempest (1987); Le Petomane with the Flying Karamazov Brothers (1992) and Beckett’s Happy Days (1996). He has consistently delivered bold, risk-taking theatre worldwide. I’m thrilled to welcome him back to the Playhouse with this enthralling and disturbing production that so vividly displays his directorial signature.
Bill Camp's daring portrayals and deft handling of dramatic texts from Shakespeare to Tony Kushner, have catapulted him into the rarified arena of “über-actor.” I have seen him perform many times in New York and in theatres across the country. His profound and thrilling performance in this production holds the audience in its grip and doesn’t let go. As scornful, tormented and unlikeable as he is, the Underground Man in the end is as human as we are — and it is Bill’s performance that brings us to that realization.
Please join me in welcoming Notes from Underground to La Jolla Playhouse.