Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

March 19, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College’s Ilán Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College Fortieth Anniversary Professor, will debut his newest work, a play titled The Disappearance, in workshop presentations at the Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, Mass., at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 to Saturday, March 22, and Thursday, March 27 to Saturday, March 29, with an additional matinee on March 22 at 2 p.m. Immediately following the performances, Stavans and the cast will discuss the production with the audience and take questions. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors; group rates are available.

The Disappearance—which will officially premier this fall in Los Angeles and then travel to New York, Boston and Warsaw, Poland, among other cities—is based on a short story of the same title written by Stavans. The piece revolves around a Belgian theater star, Maarten Soëtendrop, who is mysteriously kidnapped after he protests the renewal of anti-Semitism in Europe. The play as a whole relates to the necessity for the reinvention of Jewish life after the Holocaust, according to Stavans.

The Disappearance is a milestone in the Double Edge’s 26-year history, a unique exchange between founder/artistic director Stacy Klein and Stavans. (The collaboration will serve as the basis of an upcoming book co-authored by Klein and Stavans, On Theatre, to be published in 2009.) Said Stavans, who has written or edited several books and anthologies: “This the most challenging and rewarding artistic experiment [in which] I’ve ever been involved with people from another media.” The project will also break new ground for Double Edge artistically because it is a contemporary work, it incorporates film, and it is adapted from the work of a living writer.

The Disappearance will be the fourth installment of theater’s current performance cycle, The Garden of Intimacy and Desire, which questions the contradictions of responsibility and freedom, sexuality and domination, reality, dream and flight. The project has received prestigious awards from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the NEA, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Ashfield Arts Council.