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1993production photo from The Protagonist

The Protagonist 1993

July 31 - August 13, 1993

Weill’s thrilling drama…

…exposes a precarious emotional balance in this dark examination of an actor crossing the line. The Protagonist, consumed by his role, confuses illusion and reality with tragic results, but begs to go on, for this is his “best role.”

(presented as a double-bill with The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken)

Music By
Kurt Weill
Libretto By
Georg Kaiser


This production is set in Germany of the 1920s. The Protagonist, one of the greatest actors of his day, hopes for an invitation to perform before a discerning duke.

He and his traveling players seek a rehearsal space in an inn near the duke’s castle. Contrary to expectation – women are not permitted to act on the stage – the Protagonist is accompanied by his sister. He is clearly much involved with her. She is his mirror on reality; he depends on the unblemished honesty he sees in her to draw him back from the all-consuming deceptions of his art.

The sister, however, has recently acquired a secret lover whom, in her passion, she has promised to marry. She has neglected to tell her brother of this; she fears that the Protagonist will view this omission as a shattering dishonesty, and agonizes over the consequences of confession. Pressed by her lover, who has followed the troupe in order to be with her, she resolves to choose a propitious moment to admit her deception.

The duke’s Major-domo arrives and announces that the duke will be pleased to have the players perform a comedy – but it must be mimed without dialogue, in deference to foreign guests the duke is expecting. He offers the duke’s own musicians to accompany the mime.

An outrageous comedy of sexual infidelity is rehearsed, leaving the Protagonist in high good humor. The sister judges his mood favorable to her confession, and, telling her brother not to change his mood or costume, she goes to fetch her lover.

Meanwhile the duke’s messenger returns with a request to alter the evening’s entertainment to a more serious drama, in order to accommodate the sensitivities of an unexpected guest – a bishop. The Protagonist complies, the players change their costumes and a new, tragic version of their play is rehearsed.

As the players are reaching the climax of their play the sister runs in and, noticing too late the transformation in her brother’s costume and mood, joyfully confesses her deception. The Protagonist’s mirror on truth is shattered; the consequences of his sister’s confession surpass her worst fears.


Jacque Trussel headshot

Jacque Trussel


The Protagonist

Ann Panagulias headshot

Ann Panagulias



Dale Travis headshot

Dale Travis


The Innkeeper

Wilbur Pauley

Wilbur Pauley


The First Player

Michael Chioldi headshot

Michael Chioldi


The Second Player

Judith Christin headshot

Judith Christin


The Third Player

Patryk Woblewski headshot

Patryk Wroblewski


A young Gentleman

David Rampy headshot

David Rampy


The Duke's Major-domo

George Manahan headshot

George Manahan


Jonathan Eaton headshot

Jonathan Eaton


Robert Perdziola headshot

Robert Perdziola

Scenic Designer

Craig Miller headshot

Craig Miller

Lighting Designer

Daniel Pelzig headshot

Daniel Pelzig


Gary Wedow headshot

Gary Wedow

Chorus Master