Toni Bentley’s The Surrender, an adaptation of her 2004 erotic memoir of the same name, will open at the Clurman Theatre at 410 West 42nd Street on Wednesday, 8 January 2014, and run through 2 February. This US premiere will be directed by Zishan Ugurlu and star Laura Campbell as “a classical ballerina who is seduced into the ultimate act of sexual submission by a sexy stranger. She is overcome and changed forever by his arousing alternative to convention,” according to the press release issued today.
The original production was critically acclaimed in Madrid and Edinburgh, and tickets will be available beginning this Friday, 6 December, at 12.30pm through Telecharge. Tickets are $45.00 (only $31.50 for preview performances on 8-14 January).
And watch this space in the next few weeks for an interview about the show and the book with Toni Bentley herself, who will graciously spend a few hours of her very busy days to respond to a few of my questions. She is a determined enemy of any kind of sexual or erotic correctness, and I’m very much looking forward to our virtual conversation. (I’ve written about her before, very briefly, here and here.) I’m glad to welcome her most necessary presence into the ranks of us playwrights. Until then, below is the full press release for the show.
The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation is thrilled to announce the US premiere of the stage adaptation of Toni Bentley’s groundbreaking erotic memoir The Surrender, directed by Zishan Ugurlu and starring Laura Campbell. The Surrender will have its US debut following critically acclaimed productions by the Spanish National Theatre (Centro Dramtico Nacional) in Madrid and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013. Performances begin on Wednesday, January 8 for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 2 at The Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Opening night is Wednesday, January 15 at 8.00pm. The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7.00pm; Wednesday-Friday at 8.00pm; Saturday at 2.00pm and 8.00pm; Sunday at 3.00pm. Tickets are $45 ($31.50 for preview performances from January 8-January 14). For tickets, which go on sale on Friday, December 6 at 12:30 PM, please call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or visit at www.telecharge.com. For more information, visit www.thesurrendertheplay.com.
Long before Fifty Shades of Grey, former Balanchine dancer Toni Bentley offered readers a sensual glimpse into a taboo erotic experience with her daring memoir The Surrender. After premiering in a production by the Spanish National Theatre in Madrid to great acclaim and a sold-out run and then causing a sensation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Surrender is stripped bare for the New York City stage.
The story of a woman’s sexual obsession, The Surrender tells of a classical ballerina who is seduced into the ultimate act of sexual submission by a sexy stranger. She is overcome and changed forever by his arousing alternative to convention.
Based on Toni Bentley’s explicit and controversial erotic memoir, The Surrender is “an extraordinary confession by a woman with an axe, and an ass, to grind” wrote Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna). An “eye-wateringly sexy show” (The Stage), The Surrender is the witty, profound, and true story of one woman’s experience of erotic transcendence.
Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman praised The Surrender as “A remarkable sustained piece of writing that belongs to the time-honoured tradition of French intellectual erotica, reaching back to De Sade.” Writing in On Stage, Michael Coveney enthused, “A serious play about sex is a rarity, and Kenneth Tynan would surely have applauded this beguiling and seductive adaptation of New York ballerina Toni Bentley’s book.”
Toni Bentley was born in Australia, and grew up in England before entering the School of American Ballet at age 10. She was invited to join Balanchine’s New York City Ballet at age 17, and published her first book, Winter Season, at age 22. She is the author of five books and numerous articles and essays for such publications as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and Playboy. The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir was named one of the Best 100 Books of the Year by the New York Times and has been published in 18 languages. She is a Guggenheim Fellow.
Zishan Ugurlu is a native of Istanbul and came to New York in 1995 at the invitation of Ellen Stewart, founder of La MaMa Theater, where she is now a resident actress and director. She has worked extensively both in New York and abroad. Her directing credits include the solo performances Oysters, Orgasms, Obituaries by R. von Waldenburg (nominated for New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance) and Request Program by F. X. Kroetz. She recently directed The Judith of Shimoda by Brecht, and is currently creating a devised theatre piece with inmates at a maximum security prison in upstate New York based on reentry issues. She is a graduate of Columbia University.
Laura Campbell was born in Northern Ireland and moved to the United States at age ten. She attended Tulane University in New Orleans where she received her degree in Theatre Studies and International Relations followed by a Masters in Acting from Columbia University where she studied with Kristin Linklater, Andrei Serban, and Anne Bogart. Since graduating she has worked locally and regionally in theaters across the country including productions of Dinner, Dust, Taming of the Shrew, and The Lion in Winter. Her latest film release is Doomsdays, directed by Eddie Mullins. She has done numerous guest star appearances on television, including Law & Order and Blue Bloods.