Ecstatic celebrants in Ancient Greece. Fleeting moments of community at a Japanese water station. A racist incident on a college campus a lot like UMass Amherst. A future society careening towards a new kind of operatic form based on The Simpsons.
The plays selected for the 2019-2020 UMass Theater season span the globe but hit close to home as they each illuminate some facet of how we connect, conflict, and celebrate with the people around us.
by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
Oct. 10, 11, 16, 17, 19 at 7:30
Oct. 12 & 19 at 2
Oct. 16 at 10
Oct. 18 at 4
Sharp and funny, Baltimore is a timely dramedy set on a college campus not unlike ours. When a racist incident divides her first-year students, Black resident advisor Shelby becomes the reluctant sounding board for upset friends, I'm-not-a-racist-but apologists, and people who just want everyone to get along. As pressure to address the controversy mounts, Shelby must decide if she will enter the fray or watch her community come apart at the seams. After each performance, we'll gather with undergraduate moderators for small-group conversations about creating positive change.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Student Affairs and Campus Life.
THE BACCHAE OF EURIPIDES
by Wole Soyinka
directed by Judyie Al-Bilali
Nov. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7:30
Nov. 13 at 10
Nov. 16 at 2
Curtain TheaterEcstatic dance and music fuel political uprising in Soyinka’s adaptation of Euripides’ classic play about a god and the despot who attempts to control him. When autocratic King Pentheus of Thebes imprisons Dionysus, the god of wine, fertility, and theater, he unleashes a frenzied revolt among the women of the city, driving them to the mountains and to madness. Gender, sexuality, and identity become transgressive, visceral expressions of protest among Dionysus and his followers, the Bacchantes, linking a mythical past to the art and creativity that power revolutionary change today.
UMASS NEW PLAY LAB
produced by Maegan Clearwood, Tatiana Godfrey, Bianca Dillard, and Josh Glenn-Kayden
directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
Show #1: Jan. 31, Feb. 1 & 6 at 7:30, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.
Show #2: Feb. 14, 15, & 20 at 7:30, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.
Curtain TheaterWith Play Lab, UMass Theater throws out the old script and welcomes the new. We are proud to be part of the national movement to present a vibrantly diverse range of experiences on stage through cutting-edge works from up and coming theater makers. Play Lab is a venue for playwrights to experiment, for directors and dramaturgs to collaborate on shaping new work, for actors to bring intriguing characters to life, and for audiences to help shape the work through their reactions.
THE WATER STATION (Mizu no eki)
by Ōta Shōgo
Directed by Vishnupad Barve
Feb. 27, 28, 29, March 4, 5, 6, 7 at 7:30
March 7 at 2
Rand TheaterIn this installment of the avant-garde, internationally-influential Station trilogy, refugees visit and drink, wash, fight, and love at a water station. No words are spoken in this work, but much is communicated in a space transformed by water, light, movement, and sound. We tease out meaning from subtle gesture and the interactions of the characters as their lives brush up against each other, and we glimpse our shared understanding and deeper connection to the living universe.
MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY
by Anne Washburn
songs by Michael Friedman
directed by Erin Nicole Eggers
April 9, 10, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30
April 11 & 18 at 2
April 15 at 10
Curtain TheaterIn Anne Washburn’s darkly funny, grandly operatic Mr. Burns, survivors of a nuclear apocalypse may not have much, but they have Bart Simpson, Sideshow Bob, and Gilbert and Sullivan. Gathered around a campfire, they piece together the plot of a "Simpsons" episode from memory. It’s the first moment of a people establishing a culture through storytelling, and we sing and laugh along as this mainstay of classic television, mashed up with songs and contemporary memes, becomes the foundation of a new mythology and artistic tradition.