theater

Rutgers Theater Company presents Suzan-Lori Parks’ "Topdog/Underdog" Feb. 24 to March 3

Serge Thony and Landon G. WoodsonMeet Lincoln and Booth, a pair of adult siblings locked in a titanic tug-of-war—with one another and with the larger world.

In Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy Topdog/Underdog, Lincoln and Booth grapple with what it means to be brothers and to be African-American today. The play runs from Friday, February 24, through Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. Matthew Singletary directs.

Singletary describes Topdog/Underdog as “brave enough to explore the idea of family in an honest attempt to get underneath the relationships many of us take for granted.” Lincoln is trying to better himself as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator on Coney Island, while Singletary says Booth is “more predatory . . . a perpetual adolescent trying to make a living on three-card monte.” They share a rundown apartment, scamming each other in what the director describes as an “urban-blues folktale.”

But Singletary insists that the brothers’ relationship is ultimately “born out of love, a deep, abiding love. They also share an equally deep rage; Lincoln can beat his down, but for Booth it keeps coming up again.”

As personal as the play is, Singletary says, the notion of “family” in Topdog/Underdog operates on several levels: “It also explores family as it pertains to the African-American community and to America as a nation,” he says. “This play calls for us to put away the mistakes of our past in order to see a broader possibility for the future."

Togdog/Underdog runs from Friday, February 24 through Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $15 for students with valid ID. The Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, and to learn more about the 2012 Rutgers Theater Company season, visit www.masongross.rutgers.eduor call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.

Media inquiries: Laurie Granieri, 848-932-5239.