Stage Season 2022-2023
A devised work
Directed by Alice Reagan
Pirandello Project Program
Thursday, October 20, 8PM
Friday, October 21, 8PM
Saturday, October 22, 3PM
Saturday, October 22, 8PM
This devised piece takes the work, philosophies, and life of Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) as its subject and material. A hugely prolific, deeply unhappy writer of short stories, novels, plays, essays, and letters, Pirandello, an avowed fascist, had a complicated relationship to the question of identity. One of the first postmodern writers, Pirandello questioned the received wisdom that any person possesses a stable identity. He laughed at the idea that any person is capable of defining themselves, and he seriously doubted that it’s possible to ever really know another soul. Through an ensemble-led investigation of his works and tumultuous life, we will build this piece together. Our central question is, Who are we? How do we know for sure? And will our communities let us be? We will make a work echoing Pirandello’s best plays: an evening that is fast, stylish, funny, sarcastic, passionate, and tragic.
Fedra, Queen of Haiti
by J. Nicole Brooks
Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo
Fedra, Queen of Haiti Program
Thursday, December 8, 8PM
Friday, December 9, 8PM
Saturday, December 10, 3PM
Saturday, December 10, 8PM
Fedra by J. Nicole Brooks is an adaptation of Phèdre by Jean Racine written in 1677 based on the original Greek myth of Phaedra, and more directly on Euripides’ Hippolytus. Fedra is a modern retelling set in a reimagined world where modern-day Haiti is a global superpower. Fedra is all about controversial love and ultimate betrayal. King Theseus is presumed dead in an accident in a world of great political uncertainty. Amid instability, Queen Fedra becomes enchanted by her husband’s son Hippolytus. This new relationship is tested as conflicts emerge regarding the kingdom's future. Brooks maintains much of Racine's plot, adding whimsical humor and linguistic turns, making Racine’s intense psychological drama current in a new, immediate, and pressing way. Indeed, in this production, Fedra takes on the sometimes crazy twists and emotional turns of the telenovela. As J. Nicole Brooks puts it,
“This play is written in a language and style that reflect agility and imperfection. . . It’s in the realm of the experimental. The characters often topple over one another speaking. They stammer, are bilingual, have unexpected moments of silence, or know when to speak with sharp precision—much like we do in real life. The play draws on mythology and ideas from many cultures.”
One Flea Spare
by Naomi Wallace
Directed by Gisela Cardenas
Thursday, March 2, 8PM
Friday, March 3, 8PM
Saturday, March 4, 3PM
Saturday, March 4, 8PM
Written in 1995, in 2009 Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare became part of the permanent répertoire of the French National Theater, the Comédie Française, the only play by a living American playwright to be taken into the répertoire. Taking its title from John Donne’s erotic love poem “The Flea,” published in 1633, the play Set in London in 1665, when the bubonic plague was spreading death around the city, the play’s title comes from an erotic love poem by John Donne, "The Flea," first published in 1633, in which the speaker imagines a flea, having bitten him and his lover, to their blood together: “O stay, three lives in one flea spare / Where we almost, nay more than married are.” Trapped in a quarantined home, a servant-girl Morse, a sailor Bunce, and the wealthy Snelgraves wipe the walls with vinegar while waiting for the quarantine imposed on them by Kabe, an embodiment of early capitalism, to be lifted, allowing them to come out of the house.
With a poetic text, Wallace’s play explores the connection between identity and power expressed in her characters’ corporal experience and physical well-being. Here, desire is negotiated within the structures of race, class, gender, age, nationality, and sexual preference, offering a radical feminist utopia in which the conundrums, pleasures, and dangers of human relations are made palpable for the audience. Activating a tension between illness and release, the constricted and the carnivalesque with which we are all now too-familiar, One Flea Spare aims to open the audience to what Wallace terms “the poetics of the flesh.”
An Island Full of Noises
A workshop directed by Gisela Cardenas and Christine Giancatarino
April 21, 8 pm
An Island Full of Noises is a sonic theatrical experience inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. It is a hybrid between theatre and a soundscape installation. Gisela Cardenas leads the project in collaboration with Christine Giancatarino, a Feldenkrais Certified Practitioner.
What will happen when, as Prospero says, we make the performance "invisible / to every eyeball?” Can other ways of perceiving reality be discovered or rediscovered in darkness? The eye has become a central organ in our fast-paced culture, making the visual sense dominant while leaving other experiences unaccounted for. Are these obsessions with screens, and images, silencing the capacity to be present and fully inhabit the moment with the other? We want to invite the audience to enter a space of complete darkness, confronting the invisible others of the island through sound. With microphones and objects, actors will perform following the dramaturgy of the sonority proposed by Shakespeare's The Tempest. The language as breath and sound, the silences, and the numerous elements invoked in the play will be explored and enhanced with digital and analog mechanisms to create a performance of sounds that trigger the imagination and physical sensibility of the audience. How can this complex landscape of hate, ambition, and mistrust potentially open a more in-depth experience of reconciliation and forgiveness between mind and body? We want this experience to be a meditation on hate and the power of love as an alchemical element of the soul that, through forgiveness, allows us to abandon the island where we may live as masters but isolated inside our finitude.
Theatre Senior Thesis Festival
Friday, April 28
Research Presentation: "Words Music Musicals: Aspects of Genre and Style" by Evan Smolin, 4:30 PM, 328 Milbank Hall
Solo Performance: Monroe Lemaire, Natsumi Sasabe, Alex Rose Smith, 6 PM, Minor Latham Playhouse
Saturday, April 29
Reading: Off Paper by Janvi Sai, 4 PM, Minor Latham Playhouse
Solo Performance: Monroe Lemaire, Natsumi Sasabe, Alex Rose Smith, 6PM, Minor Latham Playhouse
Join the Department of Theatre in celebrating some of the Senior Theses of the Class of 2023—a lecture on original research, a staged reading of an original play, and engaging works of solo performance.