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HAIL ’EMPEROR’

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Over the last four years, Arts at St. Ann’s has served as the unofficial Brooklyn outpost for The Wooster Group, thanks to nearly annual presentations of past and present works: "House/Lights" (2005), "Brace Up!" (2003) and "To You, the Birdie!" (2002). The envelope-pushing SoHo-based collective - whose intellectually rigorous, technologically adventurous deconstructions of the classics have made it one of the most imitated avant garde theater companies in the world - returns once again to 38 Water St. with a revival of its critically acclaimed interpretation of "The Emperor Jones."

As with previous incarnations of Eugene O’Neill’s expressionist one-act, Kate Valk - dressed as a man and wearing blackface - stars as the railroad porter who gains control of a Caribbean island before going crazy.

The non-traditional casting makes this probably the only play in the American canon to have provided a black civil rights activist and a white female actress with the greatest stage role of their careers.

What Paul Robeson would think of Valk’s postmodern minstrel show, however, is anyone’s guess.

"The Emperor Jones" runs at St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in DUMBO) from March 1 to April 2, Wednesday through Sunday at 8 pm. Tickets are $25-$37.50. For reservations, call (718) 254-8779 or go online to www.ticketweb.com.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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