"Woodshed Collective has, with great imagination and wonderful detail, transformed the old five-story West-Park Presbyterian Church into a ramshackle Parisian apartment building (and its environs) circa the nineteen-sixties... The only downside is that, because the scenes are taking place all over the church at the same time, you can’t see everything." – THE NEW YORKER
“A great theatrical tapestry of vintage grit.... (Woodshed’s) The Tenant is a triumph.” – THE VILLAGE VOICE
“Hypnotic.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES
“One feels less like a spectator and more like an inhabitant” – THE L MAGAZINE
“Can’t be beat…as good as this genre gets” – LIGHTING AND SOUND AMERICA
Set in Paris and inspired by the novella that was famously adapted into a film by Roman Polanski, The Tenant was a thrilling, haunting and grotesquely hilarious investigation into the relationship between who we are and where we live. When Monsieur Trelkovsky rents a room recently vacated by a woman who fell from her window, he soon finds his world changing in bizarre ways. Haunted by images of the previous tenant’s apparent suicide and terrorized by his new neighbors, Trelkovsky begins a slow descent into paranoia and delirium. The Tenant explores the bubbling conflict between an uncanny mix of colorful characters to create a symphonic piece of powerful theater. Building off this original, commissioned script and layering in the power of film, architecture, video, and light, the show is a shifting, mirrored landscape designed to delight and unnerve while drawing our attention to those aspects of ourselves we hide just below the surface.
Conceived and Designed by Woodshed Collective
Inspired by Roland Topor’s Novel and Roman Polanski’s film
Text by Bekah Brunstetter, Sarah Burgess, Paul Cohen, Dylan Dawson, Steven Levenson and Tommy Smith
Direction by Teddy Bergman and Stephen Brackett
Production Design by Gabriel Hainer Evansohn
Lighting Design by Carl Faber
Sound Design by Brandon Walcott
Costume Design by Jessica Pabst
Video Design by Kate Freer, Alex Koch and David Tennent
Original Music by David Van Tieghem and Duncan Sheik
Produced by Stephen Squibb
There are wordless moments of great visual power too, as when roughly half the cast begins pacing the halls dressed like the deceased former tenant in blonde wig and red dress, or when the silhouetted man across the square stares insistently into Trelkovsky’s room.
City dwellers know how many personal dramas can overlap when people are thrown together. The social friction can be a pleasure—or it can make you crazy.
Woodshed Collective has, with great imagination and wonderful detail, transformed the old five-story West-Park Presbyterian Church into a ramshackle Parisian apartment building (and its environs) circa the nineteen-sixties... The only downside is that, because the scenes are taking place all over the church at the same time, you can’t see everything.
In terms of mood, The Tenant can’t be beat; the company has conspired to build a multilevel petit bourgeois hell in which men prey on women, marriages fray from sheer irritation, and, in even the simplest transaction, naked hostility is never far from the surface.
Many rooms on five stories of Manhattan's West-Park Presbyterian Church have been transformed into the haunted setting of The Woodshed Collective's free environmental production of The Tenant, an adaptation of Roland Topor's novel. Limber audience members follow characters throughout the Paris apartment building into detailed dwellings — to witness intimate exchanges penned by multiple playwrights — in the Upper West Side experience. Michael Patrick Crane, who plays Trelkovsky, the title character, takes Playbill on a tour of the mysterious digs and introduces cast members of the bizarre world.
Yet for the Woodshed Collective — an ambitious New York theater company with a commitment to low-budget, site-specific productions (past locations have included an empty swimming pool and a ship) — West-Park’s dilapidated state has been the answer to a prayer. Walking through a meeting room in the church, Gabriel Hainer Evansohn, one of the collective’s three artistic directors, ran his hand along a rip in the wall that revealed layers of faded paint. “Recreating this would be so expensive and difficult,” he said. “Actually it would be impossible.”