THE THEATER of Nations Festival, featuring theater troupes from a dozen nations, is taking center stage in Baltimore this month. This is the 20th biennial festival -- and the first to be held in North America -- so accessibility for American audiences was a prime consideration in choosing the participating troupes. (Translations and subtitles are provided where necessary). The festival schedule continues:
New York's Shaliko Company offers the first glimpse of "The Yellow House," a new musical based on the life and letters of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, at Peabody School of Music, North Hall, June 20-23 and 25-29.
Czechoslovak actor/director Bolek Polivka and his Divadlo na Provazku troupe use masks and puppets in the largely wordless comedy-drama "The Jester and the Queen" at the Theater Project June 20-22.
The young Gardzience Theatre of Poland presents "The Life of Archpriest Avvakum" and "Marathon," predominantly visual plays based on Polish folklore, at St. Vincent de Paul Church June 21-28.
Montreal's Carbone 14 troupe brings "Le Rail," a theater piece about the power of the unconscious excerpted from D.M. Thomas' bestseller "The White Hotel" and Jack Henry Abbott's "In the Belly of the Beast," at the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts June 24-26.
Theater Parde s, a San Francisco troupe specializing in Jewish theater, presents "Berlin, Jerusalem and the Moon" and "Dance of Exile" at Center Stage June 24-29.
The National Theater of Bulgaria does "Retro," a comedy about a yuppie couple who try to get their widowed father out of their hair by marrying him off, at the Theater Project June 24 and 25. Printed synopsis available.
Japan's Suzuki Company of Togo will present its adaptation of the Greek tragedy "Clytemnestra," in Japanese, at Peabody Concert Hall June 25-27. The troupe brought its stunning and strange "The Trojan Women" to the Kennedy Center last summer.
Hungary's Gyor Ballet presents "The Miraculous Mandarin" at Essex Community College June 25-28.
The original cast of the recent Broadway musical "Williams & Walker: a Musical Entertainment" bring the show to Baltimore. It's about two black ragtime performers who cracked Broadway at the turn of the century, at the University of Baltimore's Langsdale Auditorium June 26-29.
The Charabanc troupe from Northern Ireland offers "Gold in the Streets," a documentary-style drama about the lives of three Belfast women living in different eras, June 26-28 at the Theater Project. (Charabanc will perform in Washington June 30 at Horizons Theater. Call 549-0066).
Brazil's Grupo Contedores de Estorias (The Storytellers) wordlessly enacts tales of the Amazon at the Theater Project June 28 and 29.
India sends the Theater Academy of Poona with "Ghashiram Kotwal," a dance/mime play about the corrupting influence of power, blending ancient and contemporary performance techniques. ("Ghashiram" will also be performed July 3 at the Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College's Rockville campus. Call 279-5301.)
Participating Baltimore companies include high-tech wizards, Impossible Theater, doing "Social Amnesia," which recently played Baird Auditorium here; the Arena Players with "Eyes," an original musical; Center Stage's "Playwrights '86" series, featuring three new plays in repertory; and performances by Action Theater, Industrial Strength Theater, Kuumba, Pleasant Living Players, Theater Collective and Freedom Theater Company. Call 301/366-PLAY for information on Baltimore group performances.
Tickets for festival events range from $6 to $25. For complete information, call 301/625-4270. -- Joe Brown.