War with the Newts

Adapted and directed 
by Prof. Natsu Onoda Power 
From the novel by Karel Čapek

On a small island west of Sumatra, Captain Jan van Toch discovers an unusual species of intelligent newts, who multiply quickly and can be trained to use tools – a convenient new source of cheap labor for underwater engineering projects. But what happens when they learn to speak our languages, demand their rights, and build not only dams but also bombs? This world premiere adaptation of War with the Newts, Karel Čapek’s satirical 1939 science fiction classic, is a literary “mockumentary,” incorporating fictional newspaper articles and scientific reports. The production promises to showcase Onoda Power’s “nifty visual tricks” and “delightfully unexpected” (Washington Post) solutions for the stage.

Thursday-Friday, November 12-13 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 14 at 4 p.m.
Sunday, November 15 at 2 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday, November 19-21 at 8 p.m.


This event is offered in conjunction with the Davis Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, November 13-15 and with the Embassy of the Czech Republic’s Mutual Inspirations Festival, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Czech writer Karel Čapek, nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature and a forerunner to such renowned science fiction writers as George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. View the Newts Photo Gallery with photos by Rafael Suanes/Georgetown Univ.

Work by Professor Natsu Onoda Power has been praised as “breathtakingly imaginative, eye-delighting” with a “…lovingly virtuoso style, the likes of which Washington theater has not encountered.”   –Washington Post

Natsu Onoda Power is an Associate Professor in the Theater and Performance Studies Program.  Recent writing/directing credits include: The T Party (Forum Theatre), A Trip to the Moon (Synetic Theatre), Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Studio Theatre 2nd Stage; Company One, Boston). On campus, she has directed The Omnivore’s Dilemma (adapted from Michael Pollan), Madness and Civilization (adapted from Michel Foucault); The T Party (workshop); Trees and Ghosts (adapted from Osamu Tezuka); and Swimmy and Other Stories (adapted from Leo Lionni). Her set design has been seen locally at Imagination Stage, Synetic Theatre, the Hub Theatre, Forum Theatre, and on campus. Natsu holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and is the author of God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post World War II Manga (The University Press of Mississippi in 2009).

Related events leading up to the full production of War with the Newts include the following:

October 7 guest lecture and Q & A 

Robots on the 20th Century Theatrical Stage: Staging Bio-Power / Staging Bio-Weakness with Professor JANA HORAKOVÁ, visiting DC from the Czech Republic.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

Presented by Georgetown University’s Department of Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic


This multimedia special lecture on “Robots on the 20th Century Theatrical Stage” by a leading Czech Scholar traces representations of bio-power and bio-weakness. A 30-minute lecture followed by Q&A. Professor Horaková is being hosted by the Czech Embassy’s Mutual Inspirations Festival 2015, which includes events across D.C. focused on Karel Čapek. The lecture partners with War with the Newts, Professor Natsu Onoda Power’s adaptation of Čapek’s science fiction novel for TPST’s home season, to premiere in November.

Jana Horaková studied theatre studies at Charles University in Prague and Masaryk University in Brno (MA, Ph.D.). She is an associate professor in aesthetics (Comenius University in Bratislava, 2011) and guarantor of the Theory of Interactive Media studies at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. She is interested in artistic activities in the intersection of art-science-technology with special attention to the media-performance and robotic art. She regularly publishes in Czech and foreign scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. Her first monograph Robot as Robot (Robot jako Robot) was published in 2010. Recently she has become interested in media archeology and software studies.

Thursday, October 8 preview and discussion
at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, as part of the Mutual Inspirations Festival:

Pre-show discussion: Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:30 p.m. (leading up to 2 p.m. show) with Czech Embassy Cultural Attaché Robert Rehak

Post-show reception and dialogue: Thursday, Nov. 19 (following the 8 p.m. performance)
Doyle Engaging Difference Program’s Film and Culture Series

Join us for a reception and conversation with Georgetown faculty and student actors about issues in the play, including labor inequality, animal welfare, racial discrimination, and the environment. Discussion leaders include the following:

James Olsen, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Philosophy
Program Manager for Faculty Initiatives CNDLS

​Leslie Hinkson, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology 

Colin Hickey, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Philosophy

Ashley Cohen, Assistant Professor, Department of English

The Doyle Engaging Difference Program encourages Georgetown students and faculty to consider the value of difference and to engage it through enhanced learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. This program is a campus-wide collaboration between the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) and Georgetown College.