Ken Roht Transforms Miss Julie Into Miss Julie(n)

Jonny Rodgers, Dylan Kenin and Erica Rice in "Miss Julie(n)." Photo by Ashley West Leonard.

Jonny Rodgers, Dylan Kenin and Erica Rice in “Miss Julie(n).” Photo by Ashley West Leonard.

When Ken Roht first saw Mike Figgis’ 1999 film Miss Julie, an idea was born. As a gay man, Roht (best known for his 99cent holiday shows) thought he could completely relate to Julie. He knew at once he wanted to embody her on stage. Ten years later, although Roht has handed the title role to Jonny Rodgers, Ken Roht’s Miss Julie(n) opens at MorYork Gallery this week for 12 performances through March 10.

More than a few artists have shared Roht’s impulse to recreate Miss Julie. August Strindberg’s 1888 play popped up in 1971 on television with Helen Mirren, again as the Figgis film starring Saffron Burrows, and in 2007 at LA’s Fountain Theatre, this time set in 1964 Mississippi with an interracial twist. One month from now the Geffen Playhouse presents Neil LaBute’s adaptation directed by Jo Bonney, and it was recently reported that Liv Ullmann will direct a new film version starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.

Roht’s piece features a cast of 12, and song and dance.He maintains that his is a responsible adaptation of the play. “What works is that we just changed the gender and sexuality of the lead character,” Roht says. “To me that’s an interesting experiment that works out. It’s not meant to be some abstraction so I could make a gay play.”

Miss Julie(n) follows Julien, a lonely gay man who feels oppressed by his father. …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

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