theater

Productions and readings

2016–17 Season

Sarah Krohn and Knud Adams were the directors for the fall Playwriting Festival. Evans and Zayas staged productions of Sardanapalus by Jake Mariani and The Virgin Woods by Mary Clohan. Faculty member Kevin Kittle directed a workshop presentation of Carlo at the Wedding by alum Bryna Turner.

Playwrights Festival – November 30–December 4, 2016

Presented at Phillip J. Levin Theater
 
Sardanapalus by Jake Mariani
directed by Knud Adams
Wednesday, November 30 and Friday, December 2, 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, December 3, 2 p.m.
How does a person navigate the mundane world without saying the wrong thing and getting into trouble? When is normal behavior a danger to the community? A darkly comic tale of obsession, oppression and longing in the ecosphere of a food coop.
 

The Virgin Woods by Mary Clohan
directed by Sarah Krohn
Thursday, December 1 and Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m. | Sunday, December 4, 2 p.m.
Two generations of theater-makers collide at a summer theater festival and must grapple with what it means to find fulfillment and success in both our life and our art. Does theater make life or life make theater and how the hell can an artist survive it all? A reimagining of Chekhov’s The Seagull.
 

Workshop presentation of Carlo at the Wedding by alum Bryna Turner
directed by Kevin Kittle
Carlo is going to be really well behaved today. She’s not going to get drunk. She’s not going to give any longwinded speeches. And she’s definitely not going to try to steal the bride back. An unbridled comedy inspired by Dorothy Baker’s Cassandra at the Wedding.
 

Past Productions and Readings

Playwrights Festival – December 2–7, 2015

Presented at Jameson Studio Theater
 
Family Style by Will Goldberg
Directed by José Zayas

Two days after Chris's death, his family goes out to eat trademarked sandwiches and struggle with some basic questions.  Is that weird cartoon mascot a bear or a beaver or a muskrat? What is an Avocado Slammer supposed to taste like? What will Chris's funeral be like -- or should they even have one? Darkly funny and compassionate, Family Style explores grief, trauma, and the power of the swear jar.

Lights Over Philo by Bryna Turner
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
Carlo recently decided to move back to her microscopic hometown with her partner. Only, her partner has just decided to leave her for a feminist collective. And her brother just made parole and needs a place to stay for a while. And these mysterious lights keep appearing in the sky, which may or may not be connected to the pagan witch ceremonies Carlo is hosting in her backyard. A meditation on family, community, and other delicate ecosystems.
 
Staged reading of Things We Say in the Dark by Mary Clohan
Directed by José Zayas
Things We Say in the Dark is an exploration of grief and intimacy, snapshots of three lives that have been shaken by loss as they try to navigate both the interpersonal struggles and internal battles that mark the process of mourning.
 
Staged reading of Homer’s Hellen (Tales From Greek Mythology) by Jake Mariani
Directed by José Zayas

Homer’s Hellen (Tales From Greek Mythology) was inspired by The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, a book by Roberto Calasso, which explores the tradition of Greek myths. The play is set in New York City and straddles both the contemporary and the ancient world, exploring the violent and misogynistic literary tradition that has been passed down to us by the writers of ancient Greece.

Playwrights Festival – December 4–7, 2014

Presented at Jameson Studio Theater

The Playwrights Festival was culmination of the Actor-Playwright Workshop. The goals of the course are to read a different play or play fragments in class each week, to give the actors the opportunity to learn the essential skills of doing readings, and to give the playwrights the opportunity to learn to hear and develop their own work.

The class gives both actors and playwrights the opportunity to develop their abilities to engage constructively and creatively in the development of new text for performance.

In this class, the MFA playwrights and the Acting Company in their final semester do readings of new and related work. This past semester we read drafts of the playwrights’ adaptations of Macbeth (Will Goldberg’s Macduff) and Uncle Vanya (Bryna Turner’s The Stand-In). We also read the plays Macbeth and Uncle Vanya to explore the sources of inspiration, the shared elements and areas of departure.

And we read Playwright-in-Residence Christina Anderson’s play Man In Love with Christina present to talk about the play and its genesis.

The process with The Stand-In and Macduff culminated with productions.

Macduff
In this Macbeth-inspired look at gangland Boston, an undercover cop fights for survival as the syndicate he's infiltrated erupts into war.
Written by Will Goldberg
Directed by Erik Pearson
Set Design: Allen Cutler
Costume Design: Taylor Pico
Sound Design: Martha Beggerly
Lighting Design: Dan Marrero
Stage Manager: Joanne Pan
The cast: Alejandro Cardozo, Jack Doyle, Allegra Heart, Victoria Janicki, Allison McKinney, Shyrley Rodriguez, Jerry Sanchez, Aubrey Marie Seader, Nicole Spinnler, Ayana Workman
Photos by Andrea Kane
...

 
The Stand-In
If you could live off dreams alone, no one here would have to die. Inspired by Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
Written by Bryna Turner
Directed by Knud Adams
Set Design: Allen Cutler
Costume Design: Taylor Pico
Sound Design: Martha Beggerly
Lighting Design: Maximo Grano De Oro
Stage Manager: Kayla Spells Carlett
Actors: Carter Bellaimey, Clea Decrane, Leale Deverges, Jean-Louis Droulers, Avery Whitted
Photos by Andrea Kane
...

 

Playwrights Festival – April 29–May 3, 2014

Presented at Jameson Studio Theater

There were four plays in the Playwrights Festival last spring (2014). Two rehearsed readings of plays by first year MFA playwrights Will Goldberg (Burn In) and Bryna Turner (How To Separate Your Soul From Your Body (in ten easy steps!), directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt. A staged reading/workshop of Mike Duffy’s play (Love and Mistrust) directed by Erik Pearson, and a bare bones production of Jay Koepke’s play (The End Is Far) directed by Mike Donahue.

With Will and Bryna, in their first year, they shared a week of rehearsal and then had a few weeks to revise and then shared a second week with the cast and director. Mike, in his final year, chose to use the rehearsal to do extensive work on his script with the engagement of the cast and director Erik Pearson. The rehearsal happened over four weeks and from time to time Mike took a couple of days off to write. It ended up being a staged reading. And Jay and Mike Donahue and the actors dove in and staged the play.

We maintain a flexibility and respond to the playwrights’ needs. The engagement with actors and an early-mid career director has been incredibly rich.

The End is Far
Moments of connection and loss in daily life.
Written by Jay Koepke
Directed by Mike Donahue
Set Design: Matthew Crane
Costume Design: Sophie Philips-Roberts
Lighting Design: Vici Chirumbolo
Sound Design: Santhos Sriradchatha
Stage Manager: Eliza J. Brennessel
Production Assistant: Erin Collins
The Cast: Kristan Kelly Brown, Mike Donovan, Sam Leichter, Angel Moore, Jeffrey Sanchez, Chelsea Spack
Photos by William M Brown
...

 
Love & Mistrust
Family gets feral in this dark comedy that begs the question: Do people stay together out of love, or because they have to?
Written by Mike Duffy
Directed by Erik Pearson
Set Design: David Mortellito
Lighting Design: Dan Marrero
Sound Design: Melanie Aponte
Stage Manager: Matt Bur
The Cast: Alec Gaylord, Danielle Blakeman, Bix Bettwy, Terralon Walker, Sierra Tothero
 
Burn In
In a near-future, crumbling city, a desperate cyborg seeks out a black-market mechanic in a last-ditch plea for freedom.
Written by Will Goldberg
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Set Design: Minjung Kim
Lighting Design: Dan Marrero
Sound Design: Melanie Aponte
Stage Manager: Joanne Pan
The Cast:  Alec Gaylord, Kate Villanova
 
How to Separate Your Soul From your Body (in ten easy steps!)
If everything you thought you knew was invented, would you A) fall in love with the person who showed you the light; B) never leave your apartment again; or C) start to slowly change species?
Written by Bryna Turner
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Set Design: Ashley Cusack
Lighting Design: Dan Marrero
Sound Design: Melanie Aponte
Stage Manager: Joanne Pan
The Cast: Rosalind Lilly, Midori Iwama, Andrew Start, Kristen Harlow