This year, the Northeastern Department of Theatre is producing a six-play season of new plays that explore the contemporary world and classics that will be reimagined through a new vision and sensibility. “The power of theatre is that it doesn’t tell audiences what to think, but rather asks critical questions about human behavior,” says Chair Scott Edmiston. “This fall, our plays take on issues that we confront on a daily basis in 2016. Has your personal technology begun to replace your physical identity? What are the impulses behind a witch hunt, behind the fear of ‘the other?’ Is society still afraid of powerful women? What can you do in response to the random acts of terrorism that occur on the world stage?”
The season begins with Finish Line: The Untold Stories of the Boston Marathon, directed by Scott Edmiston. This original docudrama, created by alumnus Joey Frangieh AMD’12 and Lisa Rafferty from interviews with people at the 2013 bombing, depicts the power of human endurance in the wake of unspeakable violence. This workshop performance invites the Northeastern community to participate in the play’s development prior to its March 2017 world premiere at Boston’s Shubert Theatre. David Abel, Pulitzer prize winning journalist for The Boston Globe wrote: “The way Joey and Lisa have weaved these stories together, showing the horror and confusion from multiple vantage points, is something distinct, something powerful, and something that will touch anyone who sees it, as it did for me.” The performance runs September 24-25 in the newly renovated Ryder Theatre Lab. Audience members can share their memories of the event and give feedback on the play on September 25 at a ReAct audience forum with the playwrights.
In October, you are invited to answer the Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a contemporary comedy by Sarah Ruhl. When a stranger’s cell phone won’t stop ringing, Jean answers it and falls down the rabbit hole of his peculiar private life. Enjoy a darkly comic look at love, morality, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. The New York Times describes it as “a beguiling new comedy that blends…the bizarre and the bizarrely moving.”
This production, directed by Assistant Teaching Professor Jonathan Carr, will run from October 20-29 in the Studio Theatre. Carr says, “The play is fascinating because it’s really about what it takes, in this disconnected world of tantalizingly unlimited potential connection, to experience something truly deep, personal, and meaningful.”
Shortly after election day, the theatre department presents the provocative feminist drama Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill. In 17th century England, women are accused of being witches by a man they have sexually rejected. In a world dominated by irrational beliefs, how do they prove their innocence? Vinegar Tom is a chilling examination of the demonization of women with power, the fear of female sexuality, and why we are compelled to persecute those we see as different. According to director Janet Bobcean: “When people live with fear and superstition, they are easily manipulated and the disenfranchised often are blamed for the problems of a community. What then may take place is known as a witch hunt.” The production runs November 10-20 in the Studio Theatre.
The spring semester brings three re imaginings of classic plays, starting with Women of Anarchy: The Nora/Julie Project. August Strindberg’s 1889 examination of class structures and strictures has been adapted by Patrick Marber and set in 1940s England in After Miss Julie. Directed by the Lyric Stage Company’s A. Nora Long, it runs from February 7-12 in the Studio Theatre. Nora is a stark new version of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 drama A Doll’s House by Ingmar Bergman, directed by Associate Professor Antonio Ocampo-Guzman. Dramatizing the quest for freedom by one of theatre’s great heroines, Nora runs from February 14-19 in the Ryder Theatre Lab. Both plays feature small casts in intimate, close-up performances.
The season comes to a close with a journey to a fantastical forest filled with star-crossed lovers, malicious fairies, and a hilarious band of amateur actors. William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Shakespeare and Co.’s David Demke, will run from March 23-April 2 in the Studio Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased through MyTickets on MyNEU. Performance dates, prices and information can be found at: https://camd.northeastern.edu/theatre/productions/tickets audience information/.