2009-2010 Theater and Performance Studies Seasons

In addition to the core productions that made up the Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program’s GOING MAD: Shattering and Re-Imagining the Real season, there were numerous interdisciplinary collaborations, guest residencies, professional partnerships, and student-produced theater throughout the year.

Thursday-Saturday, November 12-14 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, November 18-21, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Caroline, or Change
Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Kari Fox (COL ’10)

Co-production between Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society, Black Theatre Ensemble, the Georgetown University Music Program, and the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program
Set against a backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement during the final tumultuous months of 1963, this Tony-nominated, semi-autobiographical musical by Tony Kushner explores the clash between two families American experiences.

Thursday-Saturday, October 15-17, 2009 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, October 21-24, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Six Characters in Search of an Author
World Premiere Adaptation
Written by Luigi Pirandello
Adapted and directed by Professor Derek Goldman
In Pirandello’s masterpiece, newly re-imagined for the Georgetown stage, six mysterious strangers appear unannounced at a rehearsal of Hamlet, declaring themselves fictional characters on a quest to find an author for their experiences. As their narrative unfolds, reality and fiction become increasingly blurred, as a shattering family history of violence, sexual horror, and madness comes to the surface.  One of the richest explorations ever conceived of the limits and possibilities of theatrical art, this new version will leave audiences dizzied and moved as they try to untangle the invented from the real.

Thursday-Saturday, February 11-13, 2010 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, February 17-20, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Madness and Civilization
Inspired by the treatise by Michel Foucault
Adapted for the stage and directed by Prof. Natsu
Onoda Power
Inspired by the 1961 nonfiction book by French psychologist and philosopher Michel Foucault, which examines the archeology of madness in the West from the Middle Ages forward, this mind-altering, multimedia, ensemble-based production explores madness through ideas, visual images, literature, and art. In the show, 60s-mod-clad nurses sing and dance to French techno-pop; performers reenact 17th-century treatments for insanity involving tubs of water, leeches, enemas, and a branding iron; and audience members play mad libs with the cast and enjoy “antipsychotic cocktails” served in the style of a cooking show.

DC Premiere
Thursday-Saturday, April 8-10, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, April 14-17, 2010 at 8 p.m.

The Grace of Mary Traverse
By Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Professor Maya ERoth

A boldly inventive historical drama which resonates powerfully with contemporary life, The Grace of Mary Traverse chronicles a young woman’s Faustian quest for identity, power, and grace. With dizzying wit, intellect and speed, the play follows Mary‘s brutal and often darkly comic spiral within male-dominated realms of sex, gambling, politics, and religion in 18th-century London. Internationally acclaimed British playwright and recent GU Visiting Faculty member Timberlake Wertenbaker (Our Country’s Good, Love of the Nightingale) returns to Georgetown’s campus for the area premiere of this award-winning work, celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The April 8 opening night performance was followed by a Q & A session with Wertenbaker.


Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival
Student-written plays

Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2 p.m.
written by Miranda Rose Hall (COL ’11)
staged reading directed by Prof. Susan Lynskey

Set in a world where poems can turn into houses and flowers can talk, Witness is a lyrical journey through longing, memory, love, and release. It has been workshopped at GU, and in May 2009 received first place in the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Larry Neal Writers’ Awards.
Kennedy Center, South Atrium Foyer

Monday, September 7, 2009 at 2 p.m.
a collaboration between the georgetown university theater and performance studies program and the Black Theatre Ensemble
Nicole and Anthony
by Paul Notice (SFS ’09)

staged reading directed by Prof. Derek Goldman
Nicole and Anthony is a raw, searing, expressionistic drama that follows the life of a freed bi-racial woman as she is brought back into slavery, then freed once more through a collision of circumstances. The play is the recent recipient of the prestigious Dr. Floyd Gaffney Award for Playwriting on the African-American Experience. In 2009, Notice graduated from GU, where he developed the play, and he is now a student in the M.F.A. Program in Dramatic Writing at New York University.

Kennedy Center, Theater Lab

Belarus Free Theatre
September 15, 2009 at 7:30 p.m / Generation Jeans
September 16, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. / Discover Love
Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
Presented in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Banned in its home country, this internationally acclaimed underground troupe from Minsk, Belarus has been giving memorable performances in apartments, bars, and other private locations, resisting government censorship. Generation Jeans is a freedom fighter’s semi-autobiographical monologue, moving from the former Soviet Union, where the sale of blue jeans was prohibited, to modern-day Belarus. Discover Love intermingles the true story of Irina Krasovskaya, whose husband was kidnapped and murdered, with similar stories of women from Asia, South America and Latin America. “Drama doesn’t come more urgently political than in the work of the Belarus Free Theatre,” noted The Times.

Inaugural Festival of Student-Adapted and Directed Work

December 4–6, 2009
Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre, and Devine Studio Theatre

Featuring work created by students in Prof. Derek Goldman’s Course in Presentational Aesthetics: Advanced Directing and Adaptation
An exciting festival format will showcase workshop presentations of innovative projects from advanced Theater and Performance Studies Program student adapters/devisers, directors, writers, and performers.

Sylvia McNair in Songspiel
January 15 and 16, 2010 at 8 p.m.
January 17, 2010 at 2 p.m.
Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre
Presented in association with American Opera Theater

One of America’s most renowned sopranos, two-time Grammy Award winner Sylvia McNair performs in Songspiel, a new American Opera Theater production designed just for her. Songspielcombines Kurt Weill’s most famous songs into a soul-searching exploration of a struggling nation’s pains and triumphs. In this hard-hitting and powerful production, the splendor of McNair’s voice and Weill’s music blend together in a tale of one woman’s confrontation with homelessness and economic crisis.

Valère Novarina Festival
April 12 and 13, 2010 at 7 p.m. – L’Acteur Sacrifiant (The Sacrificing Actor) andAdramelech
Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
presented in association with the Alliance Française of Washington and the Georgetown University Department of French

As part of a festival celebrating acclaimed avant-garde French playwright Valère Novarina’s spring 2010 visit to Washington D.C. and several other U.S. cities, the Atlanta-based francophone theater company Le Théâtre du Rêve and Valery Warnotte present two performances at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, in the Devine Studio Theatre. They will perform the new work L’Acteur Sacrifiant (The Sacrificing Actor), which adapts the dramatic and theoretical writings of Novarina to create a montage that provokes and puts into question the audience’s very experience of theatre. Novarina himself directs the monologue Adramelech, performed by Jean-Yves Michaux. Both performances will be followed by Q & A sessions.

Professional Partnerships

GU’s Theater and Performance Studies Program has established a distinctive commitment to professional partnerships with leading arts organizations from the DC region and beyond, including Synetic Theater (with whom we co-produced the celebrated production of Lysistrata in Spring 2009), Sojourn Theater (The Race), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, American Opera Theater, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and many more.

Our unique and growing partnership with Arena Stage, one of the nation’s leading regional theaters, highlights our shared commitment to the development of new work, to community engagement, and to deepening dialogue on issues of importance to the American theater. Together with Arena we have hosted in the Davis Center sustained residencies and workshops with celebrated artists such as Danny Hoch, Karen Zacarias, and Moises Kaufman (whose play 33 Variations was workshopped at Georgetown and recently played on Broadway to great acclaim). We have hosted symposia, panels, and accompanying performance events that have brought together many of the country’s leading artists (Nilo Cruz, David Henry Hwang, Josh Kornbluth, Emily Mann, and many more), and created student-centered original programming as a central part of events such as Arena’s Arthur Miller Festival.

Look for announcements of GU/Arena Stage partnership events throughout the school year. Among those already being planned…

A Celebration of the Life and Work of Studs Terkel
Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith
Monday, December 7 at 8 p.m. in Gaston Hall
Adapted from Studs Terkel’s book by Prof. Derek Goldman

Theodore Bikel (Academy Award Nominee for The Defiant Ones)
Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Helen Hayes Award winner for From the Mississippi Delta)
Kathleen Chalfant (Tony Award Nominee for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches)
Rick Foucheux (Helen Hayes Award Winner for Edmond at Source Theatre Company)
Edward Gero (Helen Hayes Award Winner for Macbeth, Richard II, Henry IV)
Cheryl Hamada (Losing Isaiah, Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol)
Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Come Back, Little Sheba)
David Strathairn (Academy Award Nominee for Good Night and Good Luck)
Clark Young (GU class of 2008; Woolly Mammoth’s Full Circle)
plus additional GU students and alumni with an introduction by Peabody Award-winning radio journalist Bob Edwards

Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies Program and Arena Stage commemorate the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, broadcaster and activist Studs Terkel, who died on October 31, 2008 at age 96. First developed and presented in several celebrated renditions by Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? is a poignant evening of song, story and celebration. In this concert-style reading of the life-affirming adaptation of Terkel’s book of interviews on death and dying, the subjects range from everyday citizens — parents, medics, patients, teachers, and clergy — to recognizable figures such as author Kurt Vonnegut, actress Uta Hagen, musician Doc Watson, and Studs Terkel himself. The result is a vibrant tapestry of life’s full process that the Chicago Sun-Times called “unforgettable.”  Click here to read more.

$30 general / $25 senior, alumni / $15 faculty, staff / $5 student

The Civilians: Workshop of The Great Immensity

December 2009

A unique opportunity for GU students to collaborate on and to witness the early workshop stages of this piece from one of the country’s most celebrated and innovative companies, The Great Immensity will explore our relationship to the environment, focusing on critical issues of conservation and climate change. Known for their “wicked smart” (Variety) brand of documentary theater that engages audiences on a visceral level, The Civilians are basing this new work on interviews conducted in arctic Canada and tropical Panama with scientists, botanists, polar bear tour guides and port dock workers.


Following in the spirit of the Where Are You Taking Me?: What’s Next in Musical Theater symposia held in November 2008, leaders in the American theater will again come from around the country to discuss pressing issues facing the field over three remarkable long weekends.

Defining Diversity
December 4-6, 2009

What are the connotations surrounding diversity in the current theatre ecology? What ideas and challenges do diverse artists encounter in the field? This gathering seeks to address diversity in the theatre by integrating theatrical practitioners from various cultural, regional, aesthetic, and political backgrounds and perspectives to determine how we “define diversity.”

Black American Playwrights
January 15-17, 2010

This convening will bring together Black American playwrights to discuss a range of issues both specific to their work and important to the general field. What are the challenges to developing new work? What stories are we allowed to tell? What is the impact of recent major events (the passing of August Wilson, the election of Barack Obama)? How can we best meet the obstacles and challenges facing Black American writers?

Theater Outside the Box: A Symposium on Aesthetic Diversity
February 19-21, 2010

“Interdisciplinary.” “Devised.” “Ensemble-driven.” What do we mean when we use these words? What are the challenges, best practices, and opportunities for championing and cultivating aesthetically diverse work and the artists who create it? This conversation will bring together ensembles large and small, as well as the institutions and programs that support and present them.