“Borders and Their Shadows: A Festival of Plays on International Themes” Sept. 19-28 Features Concert Readings and Playwright/Activist Forums
Imaginative festival about consequences of forced migration launches GU Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2019-20 Season at the Davis Performing Arts Center
Washington, DC—The Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2019-20 Home Season “Dreams of Crossing: Climates, Borders, Acts,” opens with “Borders & Their Shadows: A Festival of Plays on International Themes,” uniting international playwrights, GU faculty members, guest artists, alumni, and students in play readings of new works and creative forums about the cascading human and social consequences of forced migration.
Curated by Prof. Christine Evans and with festival direction by Prof. Maya E. Roth, Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center, “Borders and Their Shadows” features free concert readings of four new plays by women writing across international borders (Sept. 19-28—full schedule below). Beginning with a festival weekend (Sept. 19-22) in which play readings will be amplified by accompanying special forums with the playwrights, Georgetown faculty, and activists, the second weekend (Sept. 26-28) will include play readings only. The festival is generously funded by Georgetown College, Georgetown’s Global Humanities Initiative and the Swedish Embassy, with co-sponsorship by the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Curator Prof. Christine Evans says, “Borders mark the volatile edges between both places and states of being. Political borders look simple on maps, but are complicated in human lives, where they can cast long shadows. This Festival is an imaginative journey through several different borderlands–those marked on the map and scarred into the heart.”
Concert readings include the following plays: “American Triage” (Sept. 19 and 27) about teens whose parents are deported after immigration raids sweep through their city, written by Marisela Treviño Orta and directed by Elena Velasco; “Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself” (Sept. 20 and 26) set on Australia’s prison island, Nauru, written by Stefanie Zadravec and directed by Prof. Maya E. Roth; “Torgus and Snow” (Sept. 21 and 28) about Sweden’s “apathetic children”—young refugees who fall into coma-like states when faced with deportation, written by Christine Evans and directed by Eleanor Holdridge; and “The Woman Who Turned into a Tree” (Sept. 21 and 22) a solo play about an immigrant who does everything to hide her working-class roots and loses contact with her innermost self, written by Lisa Langseth, directed by Hilkka-Liisa Iivananinen and performed by Julia Kwamya.
Evans notes that “While the plays engage harsh political realities, they each take imaginative and poetic approaches to unfold stories of living in the long shadows cast by borders.” All four works “ask the audience to imagine other worlds. They are all both funny and tragic, and they express the longing for connection and the need for beauty. This is the opposite of a ‘documentary theater’ type festival. They are not plays of testimony, but theatrical worlds set in less-familiar territory.“
Event schedule includes the following:
Borders and Their Shadows: A Festival of Plays on International Themes
Curated by Prof. Christine Evans; Festival Director, Prof. Maya E. Roth
September 19-22: Festival Weekend
Play Readings and Accompanying Forums
Play Readings Only
All events are FREE (registration required at performingarts.georgetown.edu)
And take place inside the Davis Performing Arts Center, located on GU’s main campus.
(Concert play readings held in the Davis Center’s Devine Studio Theatre)
Thursday, September 19
6 p.m. FORUM | Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre
WELCOME to BORDERS & THEIR SHADOWS FESTIVAL by Profs. Christine Evans & Maya E. Roth
OPENING PANEL on DREAMERS Here/Now
Prof. Shiloh Krupar (Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor, SFS/CULP), Moderator.
Panelists will include Arelis Palacios (Associate Director of Undocumented Student Services/CMEA) and Georgetown Dreamers/Activist Anahi Figueroa-Flores (COL ‘21, Hoyas for Immigrant Rights)
7:30 p.m. FEATURED PLAY | Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
AMERICAN TRIAGE by Marisela Treviño Orta
Directed by Elena Velasco, with student and alumni actors
Teens Lalo and Fatima struggle to keep their family and faith intact when their parents are deported after immigration raids sweep through their city. But when Lalo turns to his guardian angel for help, he sets into motion events that threaten to further fracture his family.
Post-Show TALK: Playwright Marisela Treviño Orta & Director Elena Velasco
Friday, September 20
6 p.m. FORUM | Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre
Nauru Contexts: Prison Island for Refugees, Climate Crisis, Colonialism
Prof. Derek Goldman (Chair, DPA, Co-Founder of Lab for GP&P), Moderator.
Panelists include Prof. Christine Evans (TPST), Prof. Katrin Sieg (SFS), and a student.
7:30 p.m. FEATURED PLAY | Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
TOMORROW WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF by Stefanie Zadravec
Directed by Prof. Maya E. Roth, with student & alumni actors
This play, set on Nauru—Australia’s prison island for asylum seekers— draws climate scientists into a complex web of present need and past history and politics. As the island is haunted by imminent demise and global politics, Afghan and Iraqi refugees fight for dignity and sanity.
Post-Show TALK: Playwright Stefanie Zadravec & Director Maya E. Roth
Saturday, September 21
2 p.m. FORUM | Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre
Scandinavian Visions: Plays, Im/migrants & Class in a Changing Europe
Linda Zachrison (Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Sweden), Moderator, and Prof. Sherry Linkoln (English) with others to be announced.
3:00 p.m. FEATURED PLAY | Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
TORGUS AND SNOW by Christine Evans
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge, featuring students and DC professionals.
A talking vacuum cleaner, a child-turned-machine, and malevolent trolls interweave in a Nordic fever-dream inspired by Sweden’s “apathetic children” – young refugees who fall into coma-like states when faced with deportation.
Post-show TALK: Playwright Christine Evans & Director Eleanor Holdridge
7:15 p.m. FEATURED PLAY | Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre
THE WOMAN WHO TURNED INTO A TREE by Lisa Langseth
Directed by Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen
Dafne, a night club hostess and immigrant, resolutely hides her working-class roots. When she has to move to a deserted suburb by a forest, a tree by her window begins to talk to her. Funny and tragic, this mythic story of loneliness asks what happens when you have lost contact with your inner self and reach the outskirts of reality… for better or worse.
First brought to the US by the Bergman Studio and Swedish Arts Council, this play features NY-based Ghanian-Ugandan-American solo performer Julia Kwamya.
* Artists for The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree are generously sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Finland’s National Council for the Performing Arts, as well as the Swedish Arts Council.
Post-show TALK with Director Hilkka-Liisa Iivananinen and Playwright Lisa Langseth (via skype), as well as Solo Performer Julia Kwamya.
SUNDAY, September 22
2 p.m. | Devine Studio.
Featured Performance: The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree by Lisa Langseth
Directed by Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen, Featuring Solo Performer Julia Kwamya
CLOSING CREATIVE FORUM: All Playwrights in Conversation, Devine Studio
Including Christine Evans, Lisa Langseth, Marisela Treviño Orta and Stefanie Zadravec, moderated by Prof. Maya E. Roth (TPST).
Additional Play Readings | Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre:
Thursday, September 26 at 8 p.m.:
Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself, by Stefanie Zadravec, directed by Prof. Maya E. Roth
Friday, September 27 at 8 p.m.:
American Triage by Marisela Treviño Orta, directed by Elena Velasco
Saturday, September 28 at 8 p.m.: Torgus and Snow by Christine Evans, directed by Eleanor Holdridge
Register at performingarts.georgetown.edu.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS
CHRISTINE EVANS was born in London and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. Prior to moving to the US in 2000, she played saxophone in Perth and Sydney bands and directed music for theatrical events, including her own plays. Cloudless, released by University of Western Australia Publishing (2015), is her first novel.
Her award-winning plays have been produced in the U.S., Australia, Canada, England and Wales and published by Samuel French, Theatre Forum, in Smith & Kraus’ annual Best Men’s Stage Monologues and Scenes collections (2010), Best Women’s Stage Monologues and Scenes (1999; 2010; 2014) and in Out of Time & Place: An Anthology of Plays, Vol 1. In 2013 NoPassport Press published a trilogy of her plays, War Plays. Excerpts and synopses of all her plays are on the New Play Exchange.
Selected productions include Can’t Complain (Spooky Action Theater, Washington, DC, 2015); You Are Dead. You Are Here. (HERE Arts, NYC, 2013); Trojan Barbie(American Repertory Theatre, 2009; Playbox Theatre, U.K. 2011; Charing Cross Theatre, London, 2011; Garage Theater, 2012; StreetSigns, NC, 2015 and elsewhere); Mothergun (Perishable Theatre, RI; Actors’ Theater; Emergency Theater Project, NY; Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and elsewhere); Weightless (Perishable Theatre); Slow Falling Bird (Crowded Fire, San Francisco; Metro Arts, Brisbane; Darwin Theatre Company and elsewhere), My Vicious Angel (Vitalstatistix; Belvoir St. Theatre; Adelaide International Festival, Australia; A.B.C. Radio Drama, Sydney) and Pussy Boy (Belvoir St. Downstairs). Her short play Fishbowl, produced by Red Fern (“30+NYC”) and the Boston Theater Marathon, was a finalist for the 2015 Heideken Award.
Christine’s plays have been read or work-shopped at the Young Vic and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London; the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, the hotINK Festival of New Plays, Synchronicity Theatre, Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey, Trinity Rep, the Irish Rep (NYC), Cutting Ball’s “Risk Is This” Festival, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Centenary Stage’s Women Playwrights’ Series, Spooky Action Theater, the Kennedy Center, the Process Series at UNC Chapel Hill, the Z Space, the Playwrights’ Center and elsewhere.
Productions in 2016-17 include Mothergun at Arts Above, London for Chaskis Theatre festival, “Las Americas Above,” and You Are Dead. You Are Here. at StreetSigns, NC.
Christine is an Australian Fulbright alumna, an Affiliated Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis, a 2011 O’Neill Finalist, a 2010-13 Resident Artist at HERE Arts (NY), and a WP Theater Playwrights’ Lab Alum. She holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Brown. She served as Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on English at Harvard University from 2007-12. In 2012 she moved to Washington, DC, where she is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University in the Department of Performing Arts.
LISA LANGSETH is a playwright and director from Sweden. Her other plays include Klimax and Pleasure, both produced by the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater. She is the screenwriter and director of the feature films Pure, Hotel and Euphoria, all starring Alicia Vikander. She has worked with renowned actresses such as Noomi Rapace, Charlotte Rampling and Eva Green. Lisa Langseth was awarded the 2010 Guldbagge Award for Best Screenplay (the Swedish equivalent of the Oscar) for her work on Pure, a screen adaptation of Beloved, and a nomination for Best Director.
MARISELA TREVIÑO ORTA is an accidental playwright. Originally from Lockhart, Texas, she found her way to the genre while completing an MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco (USF) where she studied poetry exclusively. While a student at USF, Marisela became the Resident Poet of El Teatro Jornalero!, a social justice theatre company comprised of Latinx immigrants.
Marisela’s first play BRAIDED SORROW (2008 Su Teatro world premiere) won the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama and the 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama. Her other plays include: AMERICAN TRIAGE (2012 Repertorio Español Nuestras Voces Finalist); GHOST LIMB (2017 Brava Theatre world premiere); HEART SHAPED NEBULA (2015 Shotgun Players world premiere); SHOE (2019 Kendeda Finalist); RETURN TO SENDER (2019 Nashville Children’s Theatre world premiere); and WOMAN ON FIRE (2016 Camino Real Productions world premiere).
In 2011, she began writing her cycle of grim Latinx fairy tales—fairy tales for adults inspired by Latinx mythology and folklore which include: THE RIVER BRIDE (2013 National Latino Playwriting Award Co-Winner, 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival world premiere); WOLF AT THE DOOR (2016 Kilroys List, 2018/2019 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere); and ALCIRA.
Marisela is an alum of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, the Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative, a founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network, and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons’ national Steering Committee. Last year she was selected as a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Marisela is also a member of the Goodman Theatre’s 2018/2019 Playwrights Unit. Currently, Marisela is working on a new cycle of worst-case scenario plays—sci-fi thriller plays which include WMB (pronounced “womb”) and NIGHTFALL which she has been commissioned by Audible to adapt for their platform. She is also adapting Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit into a five-hour epic piece of theatre.
STEFANIE ZADRAVEC is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a Core Writer at the Playwright’s Center of Minneapolis. Her full length plays include: TINY HOUSES (WP Theater Commission, JAWfest 2017, Theatreworks New Works 2017, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Arts Emerson) Colony Collapse (Theatre@Boston Court: Kilroys List); The Electric Baby (Two River Theater, Quantum Theatre, Rorschach Theater); Honey Brown Eyes (Theater J, Working Theatre, SF Playhouse); and currently – The Boat (Working Theater Commission), and Nauru: Requiem for an Island. (NYU Joint Stock Commission)
Honors include a 2015 Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, The 2013 Francesca Primus Prize, 2009 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, Women in Arts & Media Collaboration Award, as well as fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, The Lark, Playwrights Realm, The Dramatists Guild, and Sewanee Writers Conference. She has received support for her work through residencies, grants, and commissions from The Edgerton Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Mellon, the NEA, Arts Emerson, SPACE on Ryder Farm, New Dramatists, The Lark, New York Stage & Film, JAWFest, Theatreworks, Play Penn, The Lilly Awards, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, The WP Theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble, and The Barrow Group. Stefanie is an alum of the WP Theater Lab, the Lark Playwright’s Workshop, and Keen Company’s Playwright Lab. Her plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and featured in Best Women’s Stage Monologues (Smith & Kraus) and The Kilroys: 97 Scenes & Monologues by Women & Trans Writers Volume I (TCG). Stefanie teaches beginning and advanced playwriting at Primary Stages’ ESPA, The DG Institute and Play Penn.