There aren't many American theater directors or ensembles left who believe that a classic will endure because it's a classic, and that interpreting it, rather than just illustrating it, is not really a crime against nature, or even against the nature of the author. Two of the most enduring American companies that engage in such riffing are New York-based — Lee Breuer's Mabou Mines and Elizabeth LeCompte's Wooster Group. Both companies find more employment outside our shores than within, for reasons having to do with our staid conviction that a classic must be interpreted precisely the way the author originally intended it — even if the author was writing in 1597 — as though Hamlet is going to suffer in perpetuity if the play is presented once or twice on stage as a hair-trigger-precise high-tech compilation of various Hamlet films from various eras broadcast behind the onstage action. This is what the Wooster Group did a few years back at REDCAT, where they have an annual residency. (Last year they performed a parody of South Pacific called North Atlantic, packed with Cold War melodrama and mythology.) The troupe is now bringing to that same venue the U.S. premiere of The Wooster Group's Version of Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carre. (The performance premiered in Edinburgh, and has been performed in Paris and Strasbourg. Following its U.S. debut here, the performance rolls into the company's New York home.) It's hard to say what to anticipate, other than high-tech shenanigans and some fun with Southern miscreants and torpor. You also can expect to find some of Williams' underlying themes suddenly overlying the stage, hoisted on a kind of flagpole. That's what interpretation means, and that's what the Woosters do. It's something of a foreign language for American theatergoers. Be brave. The company is known for its wit. You'll come out the other end just fine — if not enriched.

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Dec. 1. Continues through Dec. 12, 2010

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