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The MCLA Theatre Program invites you to our 2017-2018 season! Our season is an extension of our classroom, as well as an important connection to our liberal arts mission. We provide a diverse range of theatrical experiences that challenge and inspire, all at an affordable price!

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In addition to the plays, hear faculty and student artists, as well as community scholars and activists delve into the rich themes of our productions with our panel discussions and audience talk-backs.


MCLA Announces 2017-2018 Season — We the People

A line-up of plays responding to our national political climate — including a reimagined class comedy, a cautionary absurdist drama, and two Tony award-winning musicals

Season teaserTitled "We the People," the season is planned in response to last November's presidential election and the nation’s current political and social upheaval. It will include a rock musical about black identity in America, a reinvigorated 17th century classic comedy, a timely drama from avant-garde playwright Eugene Ionesco, and a legendary acclaimed work from America’s icon of musical theatre, Stephen Sondheim. “It is our hope that this season will provide an outlet for conversations with students that provide deeper insight into this uneasy time,” said Laura Standley, Associate Professor of Theatre, “as well as challenge our entire community to ask questions about what we can do to make things right.”

The season performances will be in MCLA’s Venable Theater, and will feature discussions with local experts, casts and creatives following all second Saturday evening performances. Critical Response Sessions based on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process will be held with audience, cast and creatives following each production.


2017-2018 Season Line-Up

Passing StrangePassing Strange

From Stew of Stew and The Negro Problem, with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, this is the autobiographical story of a young black man from Los Angeles who feels like a foreigner in his own country. He leaves behind his middle class, church-ruled upbringing and travels to Europe in search of his artistic and personal identity, or what he call, 'the real.' Misadventures with sex, drugs, politics, and art find him in Amsterdam and Berlin where he feels acceptance for the first time. But in the end, he discovers that cultural complexity—and hypocrisy—are not limited to middle-class African American life, and that the only way to be truly real is to embrace his American heritage. A comedy-drama, rock musical that the NY Times calls, "Fresh, exuberant, bracingly inventive, bitingly funny, and full of heart.”

The musical will be directed by Jeremy Winchester (Assistant Professor, Theatre). Music direction will be provided by Laura Standley (Associate Professor, Theatre). Artist-in-Residence, Rodney Creech (Savannah Stage Company, Flint Youth Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Festival), joins the cast as Narrator. MCLA alumnus Bryanna Bradley 17’ will choreograph and play the role of Mother.

Venable Theater
October 13 - October 22, 2017

PANEL DISCUSSION with artists, students, faculty, and experts on race relations in America.
October 21, after the 8pm performance
Venable Theater

CRITICAL RESPONSE SESSION on Passing Strange
October 22, 6pm
Venable Theater


TartuffeTartuffe

A biting satire aimed at religious hypocrisy. Banned in Paris in 1667, it is one of French playwright Moliere’s most famous comedies. When the kind, yet dim, Orgon invites the religious zealot known as Tartuffe into his home, he has no idea that he has accepted a snake into his den. While Tartuffe acts like a kind minister, he is — in fact — a con man plotting to rob Orgon of everything he holds dear. While Orgon becomes hopelessly entranced by Tartuffe, his family rallies to expose Tartuffe for the scoundrel he is. Will they be able to save the hapless Orgon from Tartuffe’s clutches? It may take an act of fake seduction — and an obvious Deus ex Machina — to help defeat this lascivious hypocrite. “A classic gem. Laugh-out-loud funny,” says The New York Times.

Directed by Laura Standley, with scenic and lighting designs by Jeremy Winchester and costumes designed by Andrea Williams, this production of Tartuffe will set the play in a ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ world with a sinister, and outlandishly puritanical Tartuffe.

Venable Theater
December 1 - December 10, 2017

TALK BACK with casts and creatives
December 9, after the 8pm performance
Venable Theater

CRITICAL RESPONSE SESSION on Tartuffe
December 11, 6pm
Venable Theater


RhinocerosRhinoceros

Eugène Ionesco wrote “Rhinoceros” in 1958 as a response to his experience of fascism in Romania in the 1930s. In a small-town cafe, the apathetic Beringer meets his friend Jean for a drink. Suddenly, a rhinoceros runs down the street! Not long after, they see another, then another, until soon, the square is overrun with rhinos! Where did they come from? Something must be done! Berenger realizes, to his horror, that people are actually TURNING INTO RHINOS! He watches as his neighbors' and co-workers' skin hardens, bumps form on their noses, and horns grow. It is an epidemic of 'Rhinoceritis' and almost everyone succumbs. In the end, determined to keep his humanity, Beringer finds himself beginning to mutate. But unlike the others, he puts up a fight. A physical theatre production that will showcase Ionesco’s haunting and urgent words, as it depicts the struggle of one man to maintain his individual identity and integrity in a world where others successively yield to the inevitable domination of brute force.

North Adams theatre artist painter, puppeteer, and performer, David Lane, directs this existential allegory about the nature of moral strength and weakness, and whether we should see the survival of the human race as triumph or tragedy.

Venable Theater
February 23 - March 4, 2018

TALK BACK with casts and creatives
March 3, after the 8pm performance
Venable Theater

CRITICAL RESPONSE SESSION on Rhinoceros
March 5, 6pm
Venable Theater


Into the WoodsInto the Woods

Everyone's favorite storybook characters romp into the woods where Cinderella marries her prince, Jack tearfully sells his best friend (his cow) for a handful of beans, Little Red defeats the wolf, and Rapunzel lets down her hair, and it all goes horribly wrong because a baker and his wife seek help from a witch to help them have a child. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine use the familiarity of the Grimm stories to remind us that wishes and fantasy are inevitably refracted when the very human elements of lust, ambition, ego, fear, and spite are in the picture. In the “real” fairy-tale world, spells can go terribly wrong, and there’s collateral damage whenever wishes come true. The community must band together to save each other and their kingdom from the terror of the giant, but some sacrifices must be made. A more mature retelling of our favorite stories and what happens after "Happily Ever After!”

This treasured musical theatre classic will be directed by Jeremy Winchester and will feature Laura Standley in the role of The Witch.

Venable Theatre
April 20 - April 29, 2018

TALK BACK with casts and creatives
April 28, after the 8pm performance
Venable Theater

CRITICAL RESPONSE SESSION on Into the Woods
April 30, 6pm
Venable Theater


CRITICAL RESPONSE SESSIONS are based on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process is a widely-recognized method that nurtures the development of artistic works through a four-step, facilitated dialogue between artists, peers, and audiences. In use for over 20 years, the Process has been embraced by artmakers, educators, and administrators at theater companies, dance departments, orchestras, museums and more. The Process has deepened dialogue between artists and audiences; it has enhanced learning between teachers and students. By extension it has proven valuable for all kinds of creative endeavors, work situations, and collaborative relationships within and beyond the arts, from kindergartens to corporations.

Further information about discussion events, complete casting and additional production information will be announced at a later date. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at (413)-662-5123 or visit https://mcla.ticketleap.com/.

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