In DONOGOO, ambition and imagination collude to create fact out of fraud.
Lamendin is a desperate man suffering from an existential crisis. Le Trouhadec is a professor of geography who longs for election to the Academy of Sciences. Together they unwittingly set in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions. Investors, pioneers and prospectors alike are driven to seek their fortune in Donogoo, a place that doesn't exist—or does it? .
DONOGOO was originally published in 1920 as a novel in the form of a mock film scenario. It wasn't until the opening of the Théâtre Pigalle in Paris that re-fashioning DONOGOO into a play was even deemed possible by Romains. Opened in 1929, the Pigalle was billed as the most modern theatre in the world, employing the latest developments in theatrical design and backstage machinery. Though impressive, the Pigalle faced an uncertain fate in its first year of operation as it was unable to find a production suited to its mammoth technological capabilities. Finally, Romains' cinematic tale—which swings wildly from a scene atop the Moselle Bridge, to an office, to the wilds of South America—could be fashioned into a play script.
DONOGOO opened in October of 1930 and was so successful it saved the struggling Théâtre Pigalle from ruin. Le Figaro called the play, "a complete triumph; filled with very amusing burlesque, an atmosphere of adventure, and written with all the skill and vitality that one expects from the author of KNOCK." Yet, the play remains all but unknown in the English-speaking world; it has been performed only once in this country, in 1961 at the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York, directed by Adrian Hall. "A spoof of scientific accuracy, high finance, trade, patriotism, pioneering, and a host of momentous and minute matters," wrote the New York Times, calling the play "sharp and amusing."
Our production of DONOGOO will feature a vibrant new translation by Gus Kaikkonen, who will also direct. Gus previously translated and directed Jules Romains' DR. KNOCK for the Mint in 2010. DONOGOO will feature fourteen actors who will portray the sixty-six characters that populate this dark and madly ambitious comedy. Mint Theater is pleased to present DONOGOO—a satire whose sting remains sharp today—with performances beginning June 3rd, 2014.