|The Division of Theatre presents three contemporary American plays in rotation over a two-week period.
*Shakespeare Project by Will Power
April 23 & 26 at 8 p.m.; May 1 at 8 p.m.; May 4 at 2 and 8 p.m.
Conceived and directed by SMU Theatre Artist-in-Residence Will Power, an award-winning playwright and hip-hop theatre performer, The Shakespeare Project offers a new look at the Bard’s text. It fuses the rhythms of his iambic pentameter with the contemporary beats of hip-hop, and uses that rhythm to explore key characters in Shakespeare’s work. The 50-minute production includes excerpts from seven of Shakespeare’s plays, including Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew, centered on the theme of death – from fears of dying, to ghosts, to ideas of “artistic” death and loss of reputation, independence or cultural identity. It also includes an excerpt from Henry V conceived as a step competition, and a hip-hop rhyme battle featuring a host of timeless put-downs from numerous Shakespeare works. Composer Justin Ellington has collaborated with Power as assistant director and music creator, and SMU dance faculty member Millicent Johnnie has developed the movement.The Shakespeare Project is an extension of a work Power created for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the London Olympics in 2012, a hip-hop version of Caliban’s speech from The Tempest.
*Assistance by Leslye Headland
Directed by senior theatre student Samantha Rios
April 24 at 8 p.m.; April 27 at 2 and 8 p.m.; May 2 at 8 p.m.; May 5 at 2 p.m.
A biting high-octane satire about our attraction to power and what we’re willing to sacrifice to stay in its orbit. For a group of young assistants, life is an endless series of humiliations at the hands of their hellacious boss, a powerful uber-magnate. In rare moments of calm when the phone calls stop, Nick and Nora and their traumatized co-workers question whether all their work will lead to success – or just more work. With this comedy Leslye Headland provides a welcome followup to her brilliant playBachelorette.
*The Water Children by Wendy MacLeod
Directed by senior theatre student Jeffery Moffitt
April 25 at 8 p.m.; April 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; April 30 and May 3 at 8 p.m.
Meghan is an actress somewhere between “ingénue” and “Mom.” When she loses a role to a younger woman, her agent convinces the pro-choice Meghan to do a right-to-life commercial. Her romance with Randall, the organization’s director, is shattered by his militant minions and Meghan’s unexpected pregnancy. Described by The Village Voice as “an articulate debate touched with passion and astringent comedy.”