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
When a racist incident divides her first-year students, reluctant resident advisor Shelby finds herself in the middle of a conversation she does not want to have. As pressure to address the controversy mounts from residents, the new dean, and even her best friend, Shelby must decide if she will enter the fray or watch her community come apart at the seams.
Sharp, funny, and searing, Baltimore is not only a timely drama about racism on college campuses, but a reminder that each of us carries unique experiences that influence how we move through the world. And when we acknowledge this, we are better able to combat our biases and build a stronger, more inclusive community where we truly see each other.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Student Affairs and Campus Life.
This productions run approximately 90 minutes, followed by a 30-minute discussion.
This production includes hate-based language and images.
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
Ecstatic 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.
This production includes simulated violence.
UMASS NEW PLAY LAB
produced by Maegan Clearwood, Tatiana Godfrey, Bianca Dillard, and Josh Glenn-Kayden
directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
With 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.
by M Sloth Levine
Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and 6 at 7:30
Feb. 8 at 2
The Curtain Theater
Four groovy teens and a dog search the woods in their van to solve a mystery while exploring drugs, queerness, and the fear that men in rubber masks are scarier than monsters. The four question the world they know, looking into the parts of their history they would rather avoid.
by Amy Berryman
Feb. 14, 15, 20 at 7:30
Feb. 22 at 2
The Curtain Theater
In the not-so-distant future, climate change has intensified and scientists are recommending that we colonize elsewhere. Cassie, a NASA botanist, returns from her year-long deployment in space and is shocked to find her sister, Stella, a former NASA architect, engaged to an Earth Advocate. As the twins grapple with questions of rivalry and love, humanity hangs in the balance.
Thanks to the Hotel UMass, the official sponsor of accommodations for UMass Theater guest artists.
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
In this installment of the avant-garde, internationally-influential Station trilogy, travellers 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.
This production runs about 85 minutes.
MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY (CANCELLED)
Statement regarding Mr. Burns:
Even if we return to campus in early April, it is impossible for our artists to feasibly mount a fully produced show. We have therefore canceled the scheduled main stage public run of “Mr. Burns” for this April. We will relaunch the same production in the fall, with the same artistic team and same company to the extent possible. A fully produced “Mr Burns” will be the opening show of our 2020-21 season. We will contact ticketholders about ticket refund and transfer options at a future date.
by Anne Washburn
songs by Michael Friedman
director: Michelle Hendrick
music director: Kyle Boatwright
April 9, 10, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30
April 11 & 18 at 2
April 15 at 10
In 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.
Tickets and subscriptions
$60 season subscriptions; $25 student subscriptions. Click here to go directly to the Fine Arts Center Theater subscription page.
$15 single tickets (Play Lab tickets are $7.50 each); $5 single tickets for students/seniors for all shows. Seating is general admission. Purchase tickets online, in person, or at 1-800-999-UMAS.
Notice regarding construction and accessibility: While we undergo construction in our spaces and near our entrance, patrons with mobility issues and/or using a wheelchair are encouraged to contact us in advance so that an usher can help guide you to the theater.
Press inquiries: contact email@example.com for information or images.