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Past Productions

2012-2013 Season

Elephant in the Room, a new adaptation of Strindberg's Miss Julie
by Patricia Rhone

Originally an examination of class issues prevalent in Northern Europe during the late 19th century, this drama, in a provocative re-framing, provides us with a peek into the unique complexity that is born out of the collision between race and class in today’s world. This Miss Julie is a violent and dangerous dance between three characters in antebellum New Orleans, foretelling of the quieter, but equally dangerous way we dance around issues of race today.

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Iphigenia at Aulis
by Euripides
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

While stranded with his troops at the port of Aulis, King Agamemnon of Argos faces the toughest decision of his life: should he or should he not yield to the goddess Artemis' directive that he willingly sacrifice his eldest daughter as the only apparent means of starting the war against Troy. At its heartfelt, poignant core, this "family drama" about the conflicting demands of kinship vs. society-at-large is as accessible today as it presumably was when first presented over twenty-five hundred years ago.

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By the Bog of Cats…
by Marina Carr
directed by Dennis Barnett

Moving "between the mythic and the real," this poetic venture into rural Ireland has quickly found its way into the contemporary canon. It is a story of an unrequited love and the ghosts that haunt it. It is a journey into the darkness of human frailty where ancient passions reside and consume the soul, where the past sucks the air out of the present and the future remains an illusive dream.

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2011-2012 Season

Old Times
by Harold Pinter
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter's darkly humorous and poetically haunting play floats adrift in a sea of mystery as a woman's husband and best friend engage one another in a fever-pitched competition to "possess" her soul. A meditation on the impossibility of ever fully knowing the object of one's desire, this deliciously witty piece plumbs psychological depths, where memory is as slippery and unreliable as present reality.

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Twelfth Night, or What You Will
by William Shakespeare
directed by Dennis Barnett

One of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, Twelfth Night celebrates the entanglements of romantic love at their most extreme. Ostensibly taking place during the twelve days of Christmas, the spirit of misrule roils beneath the surface of this jocular masterpiece, the plot of which centers (as do many of Shakespeare's comic plays) on the unfulfilled desires that develop due to mistaken identities.

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Drood, a musical mystery
book, music and lyrics by Rupert Holmes
staged by Dennis Barnett
musical direction by William S. Carson
choreography by Carol Maxwell Rezabek

Drood, based on the last literary work by Charles Dickens, is a musical whodunnit. But because Dickens died before finishing his novel, the identity of which character he actually intended to have "dunnit" remains to this day a tangled web of mystery. The action takes place in a Victorian music hall, where a troupe of actors from that era try to work it all out, with a little bit of assistance from their audience.

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2010-2011 Season

Frauen im schatten (Women in the Shadow)
a devised theatre piece, conceived and guest directed by Saffron Henke
[presented with generous support from the Julie Ritter Streib Fund]

A new play, devised by the cast, that explores the lives and stories of women in the time of the Third Reich. Predominantly a movement piece, Women in the Shadow utilizes music, video, poetry, and improvisation based on historical fact to bring to life the personal struggles and public personae of a few of the women intimately connected with men who were key figures in the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.

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The Story of Tea
a special presentation by the DAH Theatre of Belgrade, Serbia

The Story of Tea explores lost languages, lost people, lost innocence, and man’s capacity to persevere through all the changes thrown at him. With Chekhov’s Three Sisters as a starting point, the world-renown DAH Theatre from Belgrade, Serbia highlights and extends that play’s more existential themes in a performance of unforgettable imagery.


The Three Sisters
by Anton Chekhov
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

A bittersweet, serio-comic family drama set against the decay of the privileged class in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century. The Prozorovs--Olga, Masha, Irina, and their brother Andre--who spent their refined and cultured youth in Moscow, have been living for more than a decade in a small, colorless provincial town where their now-deceased father, a military general, had been transferred. Over time, their shared dream of returning to the more urbane life in the capital erodes, as the ordinariness of daily living gradually tightens its grip on them.

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Copenhagen
by Michael Frayn
a special, all-faculty production
directed by Steven Marc Weiss
cast: Dennis Barnett, Steve Feller, and Barbara Feller

In this Tony Award-winning play from, Michael Frayn investigates a meeting that took place in 1941 between two Nobel laureates, the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg--friends who found themselves on opposite sides of World War II. Copenhagen offers a clever "dramatic" demonstration of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as it might be applied to human intentions, calling all presumed convictions into question.

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Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
by Anna Deavere Smith
directed by Dennis Barnett

A contemporary morality tale that unflinchingly takes on the complexities and the resultant tensions of our diverse world. Based on a collection of interviews with participants and bystanders during the riots that raged in L.A. following the Rodney King beating, this is a multimedia and movement-oriented piece for an ensemble of actors, filled with provocative images and evocative music, recalling that turbulent episode in our recent history.

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2009-2010 Season

Three Days of Rain
by Richard Greenberg
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

Uncertainties about past events and future possibilities play themselves out in this bittersweet comedy by one of our most literate playwrights. With three actors portraying six characters who represent two generations of the same families, Greenberg counterpoints the innocent optimism of the early 1960s with the neurotic self-absorption of the mid-1990s. In the process, he shows how easily any of us can misinterpret somebody else's past.

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She Would if She Could
by George Etherege
directed by Dennis Barnett

This play's journey is a riotous romp through the licentious ways of 17th century London. It is the Restoration: the monarchy has been reestablished after twenty years of Puritan repression, and all the fetters have been broken.  A delightful comedy of sexual dalliance and intrigue, one that displays the spirit of the time--replete with ostentatious dress, hypocritical raillery, and bawdy songs.

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Company
music and lyrics by
directed by Stephen Sondheim
book by George Furth
staged by Steven Marc Weiss
music direction by William Carson
choreographed by Carol Maxwell Rezabek

"One's impossible, two is dreary, three is company, safe and cheery." On his thirty-fifth birthday in the Big Apple, desirable bachelor Bobby is forced to examine his resistance to wedlock, when all his friends are either married or getting married.  In Sondheim's 1970 breakthrough musical, extensively revised in the 1990s, Bobby learns (or does he?) that, while relationships aren't perfect, they are a necessary part of "Being Alive."

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2008-2009 Season

A Dream Deferred, A Race Derailed
two one-act plays about race relations in the U.S.
Florence by Alice Childress
& Dutchman by Amiri Baraka
guest director Tisch Jones

A trip by train can be derailed by many things: a break in the track, schedules delayed or missed, the threat of a suicide bombing. But it is a deep-rooted American phenomenon, called racism, that has derailed the two train journeys in Florence and Dutchman, set respectively in the 1950s and the 1970s . . . and, as we move into the general election of 2008, these plays remind us of the ways in which racism still may be derailing our interior journeys within the U.S.


Electra
by Sophocles
adaptation by Frank McGuiness
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

A story as old as time and as shocking as today’s headlines, Sophocles’ Electra is a larger-than-life tragedy of family betrayal, cold-blooded murder, civil war, and political intrigue. In Frank McGuinness’ terse, tense, and vibrant English adaptation, this ancient Greek revenge play exposes the pain of emotional loss and crippling, obsessive sorrow.


Arcadia
by Tom Stoppard
directed by Dennis Barnett

A central theme of this erudite, witty comedy is the interrelationship between the past and present, and the unpredictability of either.  The play explores both the passage and the juxtaposition of time—from the Age of Enlightenment to the Romantic Era, from Newtonian determinism to chaos theory, from 18th century neoclassical landscape architecture to the picturesque wildness of 19th century gardens—all within the context of a contemporary detective story about sexual and academic philandering.


2007-2008 Season

The Advertisement
by Natalia Ginzburg
directed by Dennis Barnett

A subtle and domestic tragicomedy about the intersection of dysfunction, dependency and romance. The ever-changing mysteries of human interaction are carefully illustrated in this award-winning Italian play from 1965.


All's Well That Ends Well
by William Shakespeare
directed by Steven Marc Weiss

An inverted love story, in which a lowborn beauty exploits kingly favor and subterfuge to win the hand of the highborn man who spurns her, this remarkable play blends fairytale and romance with (perhaps not surprisingly) a heavy dose of cynicism.


Three Penny Opera
book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht
music by Kurt Weill
staged by Dennis Barnett
musical direction by Marc Falk
choreography by Carol Maxwell Rezabek

A brilliant German musical from the 1930s. Based on John Gay's Beggar's Opera of the 18th century, this is the story of Mack the Knife, lies, deception, and the criminal collaboration that suppresses truth at all levels of society.


photos by Stephen Eckert: Spotlight Images