Department of Theatre Production Season 2018-2019
Illusion vs. Reality: What’s Next?
It is often difficult to tell fact from opinion, to respect individual perspectives regarding collective beliefs, and to challenge historical and structural biases that have been proven irrelevant. In recent times this has been seen in how easily we are tricked by fake news, particularly when it supports our own views. We can be lured into complacency by illusion when it fits our aspirations for reality. We are resistant to evidence of our misguided illusions, particularly when our reality is comfortable! Separating what is false from what is true is much more complicated than simply believing in what we see.
Sir Philip Sidney, English poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier, one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan Age, wrote in his Defense of Poesy about various ways of understanding truth. He argued that while the lawyer, the historian, and the scientist regularly uphold truths that may ultimately be disproven, the philosopher, the poet, and the playwright deal with metaphorical truths representing ideas, or “speaking pictures.” A poet does not provide answers but shows the way, entices people to enter with delight, to “take goodness in hand…to know that goodness whereunto they are moved.” Sidney professed that the goal of poesy, (which includes playwriting,) is to teach and to please, “purifying wit, enriching memory, enabling judgement, and enlarging learning,” the final purpose of which is lead us to “the exercise of courtesy, liberality, and especially courage,” in knowing and following what is true.
Celebrated American poet-playwright and political activist Marcus Gardley puts it this way; “…theatre allows for a political form of expression. You can have many characters on stage at once with many different views, so that the audience really does see a spectrum of ideas. The audience participates because simply by being there they bring their own perspective into a communal form of art.” In the theatre, where anything is possible, lies the power to create reality. Isn’t the same true in our own lives? Perhaps the truth is that discerning illusion from reality can be accomplished by asking, “What’s next?”
by Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Pam Pepper
September 28, 29, & October 3, 4, 5, 6 at 7:30pm
September 30 at 2:00p
A post-apocalyptic vaudeville, Dog Act follows Zetta Stone, a traveling performer, and her companion Dog, a young man undergoing a voluntary species demotion, as they walk through the wilderness of the former Northeast U.S. with their little troupe. They are heading toward a gig in China, if they can find it—and if they can survive to reach it. A provocative and rollicking look at what might be next. “Culture is a mutable, imperiled and hilariously vigorous thing in the post-apocalyptic world of Liz Duffy Adams’ Dog Act.… It’s a bright dystopian blend of pop and high culture…” ~Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Augustine Ripa
November 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 at 7:30pm
November 11 at 2:00pm
True love. Puppy love. First love. Unrequited love. Love at first sight. A CRUSH!
How do these happen to us, and why? Is there an answer? Or might Bottom-the-weaver be right when he tells Titania that “reason and love keep little company together nowadays.” Join us as we explore one of the most joyfully comic plots on the foolish attempts to control and contort love. Mortals from all walks of life engage with the Fairy Kingdom in a hilarious confection of poetic beauty and comic twist. Oberon and Titania, the “rude mechanicals,” the four young lovers, and Athenian royalty all struggle with this thing called love, to the great amusement of Puck, who famously declares “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
I and You
by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Ellen Schaaf ‘18
February 22, 23, 27, 28, March 1, 2 at 7:30pm
February 24 at 2:00pm
Two teenagers, one homebound due to illness and one a popular athlete, bond over their homework assignment on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. A seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks the much deeper mystery about what has brought them together. An ode to youth, life, love, and the intangibility of human connectedness.
book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik
Directed and Music Directed by Bill Whitney
A Virginia M. and Bernard R. Hale ’30 Production
April 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13 at 7:30pm
April 7 at 2:00pm
Based on the 1891 Franz Wedekind play, famously censored and banned throughout Europe and the United States, this musical won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical. Employing a hard-driving alternative rock score, this production explores the archetypical theme of the journey from adolescence to adulthood with poignancy and passion. It also asks the questions, what happens when the next generation of adults says “enough” to their elders? What happens when they disagree with an oppressive moral code and define their own?
This play contains mature content.