The title of “Prussia: 1866” suggests place and time — a single day, celebrating the end of the Seven Weeks War — but that doesn’t begin to tell the wickedly twisted comedy having its world premiere at The Rep, the professional company of Point Park University.
For instance, the play features a character based on philosopher-poet Frederick Nietzsche, who was 22 and in Prussia at the time, but has no other historical basis. What playwright Cody has conjured has led Sam Turich, the play’s fight choreographer, dramaturg and Ms. Cody’s husband, to playfully describe the piece as “Nietzsche in lust.”
“It is about a proto-feminist Rosemary, an early suffragette before they were calling them suffragettes, in mid-19th century Prussia, outside of Berlin. It’s about the household in which she is the assistant to a Prussian novelist,” the writer revealed.
Rosemary gets caught up in the goings-on in a house headed by a famous and beloved Prussian fiction writer, his young trophy wife and equally young protege, Nietzsche — who is having an affair with the novelist’s wife. The novelist and his assistant have been working on a book with the intent of furthering the progress of feminism. It is released with a change to the ending that sets off just one of the firestorms in their midst.
The play piles on layers of classic comedic situations and moral dilemmas, spiced with some saucy language and nudity.
Where: The Rep at the Rauh Theatre, Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave. , Oakland.
When: Feb.6-22, 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: $24-$27, $15 preview night. pittsburghplayhouse.com or 412-392-8000. “Pay what you will” at Saturday matinees, Feb. 7, 14 and 21, subject to availability; talk-back 2 p.m. Feb. 14.
Written by Gab Cody
Directed by Kim Martin
Warning: Play contains brief nudity