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Don Juan is known around the world for his way with women, but in Long Island City, he is gaining quite the reputation for glitter and purple Speedos.The National Theater of the United States of America is hamming up the world's most famous ladies' man in an outrageous adaptation of "Moliere's Don Juan" at The Chocolate Factory. For the first time ever, the 17th-century comedy can be seen in a panoramic, 360-degree theater with a live DJ, plenty of glitter and skimpy underwear and a Don Juan (played by Yehuda Duenyas) so delightfully oversexed that he can't be human.As a disapproving Catholic society looks on, Don Juan wants nothing more than to wear silk robes, shag in silk sheets and marry every woman in plain view - with no strings attached, of course. His servant, Sganaralle (played by Jesse Hawley), is responsible for cleaning up the messy domestic trails left behind by his master. No one, however, can fend off the wrath of that pesky God, who threatens the lifestyle that Don Juan holds so dear. Duenyas, a founding member of the Obie-winning NTUSA - which, the company is quick to explain, is not a government agency - steals the show with his over-the-top, hopelessly histrionic performance. "Dom Juan or the Feast with the Statue" was Moliere's French contribution to the Spanish-born Don Juan legacy. After its premiere in 1665, the play was censored to oblivion and wound up an expensive flop. The Americanized, sexualized and irony-saturated NTUSA version uses fancy English to sift through the remains. The translation is not direct, and though NTUSA founder James Stanley introduces the show with a speech on authenticity, he is just messing with the audience.The Chocolate Factory's artistic director, Brian Rogers, said he chose to collaborate with NTUSA, a seven-member theater company based in New York City, out of respect for their work. "I followed them for a while and chose them based on their company and history," said Rogers. "They're tongue-in-cheek." "Don Juan" is an atypical production for The Chocolate Factory (so called because of its previous location in the former Dryden and Palmer Confectionary Company building on 23rd Street). Formed in 2003, The Chocolate Factory has become a hub of original and experimental works and has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Time Out magazine. This is its first stint with classic texts, but according to Rogers, the NTUSA production is right up its alley."You won't see a production of Don Juan like this anywhere else," said Rogers. "[NTUSA] took all the translations and adaptations and really made it into something unique."NTUSA consists of members Ryan Bronz, Mark Doskow, Yehuda Duenyas, Jessica Hawley, Jonathan Jacobs, Normandy Raven Sherwood and James P. Stanley. "Don Juan" also features actors Aimee McCormick, Matt Kalman, Ilan Bachrach, Ean Shehe and Sam Rosenfeld. Most cast members play multiple roles. Lighting design for the show is by Ben Kato, sound design by Jody Elff and stage management by David Stadler.If You GoMoliere's 'Don Juan' - Presented by the National Theater of the United States of America. Date: Through March 8Time: Wednesdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m.Location: The Chocolate Factory, 5-49 49th Ave., Long Island CityCost: $15For More: 212-352-3101 or www.chocolatefactorytheater.org for tickets
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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