It is horrifying to watch man continue to kill and torture other human beings for the false thrill of feeling more powerful or better than the other. Pamela Gien’s THE SYRINGA TREE shows the terror of all that, but it also celebrates the healing power and beauty of love. It is the possibility of that love that helps us bear and try to heal the horror. I am grateful to Rita Maffei and Maria Adele Palmeri for their passion to bring the play to Italy. I loved working with Rita in our rehearsals and she taught me again that love, hard work and creative passion are our salvation. As always great gratitude and thanks to our wonderful Producer, Matt Salinger.
The Syringa Tree is a story of love, and hope for the future. I am deeply honored to have it presented in beautiful Italy. It has been my great joy to work with Rita Maffei, and I thank her for her courage, passion and artistry. I am grateful to Adele Palmeri for her gorgeous translation, the Theatre of Udine, and as always, Matt Salinger, Larry Moss and Jean-Louis Rodrigues for the perfect gift of their work. The Syringa Tree is dedicated to my parents, and to the children of South Africa.
As playwright and performer of The Syringa Tree, Pamela Gien won the OBIE Award for Best Play 2001, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, the Outer Circle Critics Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor, and a nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. The play had its world premiere at ACT in Seattle. Pamela has since performed it in London at the Royal National Theatre, in Toronto at the World’s Festival, in Los Angeles, at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont, and in Boston at the American Repertory Theatre. In May this year, she was the recipient of Boston’s Elliot Norton Award for Best Solo Performance. She recently returned from South Africa where she performed the play at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and looks forward to returning for the filming of The Syringa Tree in South Africa. The original New York stage production with Pamela has been filmed for television by Trio Arts Channel. She is also proud and grateful to have seen this original production performed by several other artists, both in the US and Canada. Random House published the novel of The Syringa Tree in 2006 to superb reviews. Ms. Gien has also written a new screenplay for an upcoming film, called The Lily Field.
Pamela began her acting career in South Africa, where she won the Dalro Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in Monday after the Miracle, and was nominated for several television performances including Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest. After moving to America, she became a principal member of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, where she played Sonya opposite Christopher Walken in the premiere of David Mamet’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya, Anabella in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore, Estrella in Life’s A Dream, Gabriella in Sweettable at the Richelieu, Marianna in The Miser, Angela in The King Stag, and Stella/Ann in The End of the World with Symposium to Follow, among many others. She played Lavinia in Titus Andronicus for the Public Theatre’s New York Shakespeare Festival, Alicia in Piano by Anna Deavere Smith, and Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana at the LATC, for which she won a Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre. She has performed in the New Works Festival at the Mark Taper Forum, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and at South Coast Repertory. Her TV appearances include guest-starring roles in Tales From the Crypt, Reasonable Doubts, Hunter, Secret Lives, and Into Thin Air. Her film credits include Men Seeking Women and The Last Supper. Pamela deeply thanks Larry Moss and Matt Salinger for their courage, skill and love in bringing The Syringa Tree to fruition. The Syringa Tree is dedicated to her parents, and to the children of South Africa. She is honoured to have it performed in Italy, and is deeply grateful to beautiful Rita Maffei for her passion and great artistry.