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Northwestern Theatre in May

“Moby Dick,” “Trouble in Mind,” “Charlotte’s Web,” Waa-Mu Show to be staged

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April 28, 2014 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The final performances of a world premiere of a mainstage production based on an epic sea story and a play about an African-American actress who must choose between her principles and a plum role, are among the May events presented by Northwestern University’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts -- formerly known as the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University.

Other May events include an Imagine U production of a popular children’s tale about a spider and a piglet, performances of the 83rd Annual Waa-Mu Show, and three off-campus stagings that are part of the S.I.T.E. Festival.

An MFA production of Caryl Churchill’s adaptation of an August Strindberg play, and a two-day mid-month symposium honoring the late Dwight Conquerqood, a former Northwestern associate professor of performance studies, are also planned.

All of the following events are open to the public and will take place in venues on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, as noted. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

For more information, phone (847) 491-4819 or visit the Wirtz Center.

MAY 2014 TIC MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION

World premiere of “Moby Dick,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1; 10 a.m. (student matinee) and 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3 and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Go tumbling, soaring and bounding across briny billows in this collaboration with Actors Gymnasium and their high-flying brand of aerial and physical storytelling. Aboard the Pequod, Captain Ahab will sail the watery world, seeking revenge on a lone white whale that devoured his leg in a fateful encounter in the South Pacific. Adapted and directed by Lookingglass ensemble member and Northwestern faculty member David Catlin (“The Little Prince”) from Herman Melville’s classic novel of adventure, obsession and fate, “Moby Dick” questions what it is that drives us to pursue the impossible and how that ambition can ultimately consume us. Caitlin’s premiere adaptation of Melville’s “Moby Dick” also will be staged at Lookingglass Theatre in Spring 2015. Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors 62 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators; $10 for full-time students and $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more. A post-show discussion will follow the May 1 performance.

“Trouble in Mind,” 8 p.m. Friday, May 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22; 8 p.m. Friday, May 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Set in 1957, a talented and struggling actress has just been given her breakthrough role in “Chaos in Belleville,” an anti-lynching play practically ripped from the headlines and set to open on Broadway. But is fame worth more than perpetuating a stereotype? Directed by Court Theatre Resident Artist Ron Oj Parson, prejudice and ambition are uneasy bedfellows in this satire by Alice Childress, which The Washington Post called “scathingly funny, wise and extraordinary.” Post-show discussions will following the May 16 opening night, May 18 matinee and May 22 performances. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors 62 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; or $10 for full-time students or $5 advance-purchase tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students with IDs or $10 at door.

IMAGINE U FAMILY SERIES

Imagine U Family Series, “Charlotte’s Web,” 7 p.m. Friday, May 2; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 4; 7 p.m. Friday, May 9; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, May 10; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 11, Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater at 1949 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. “Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of a piglet’s restless first night in the Zuckerman family barn, when he learns through his fellow barnyard creatures of some unsettling plans for his future. Charlotte, a resourceful spider who lives on a web overlooking his pen, takes it upon her spinnerets to save him with “witty words and trusty webs.” A poignant story of friendship, life, death and renewal, the play will feature talking farm animals portrayed by a Northwestern student cast. Adapted by Joseph Robinette from the novel by E.B. White, it will be directed by Northwestern theatre faculty member Mary Poole, Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication. This hourlong Imagine U production is designed to give children aged 6 to 10 and the “big people” in their lives an insider’s look at the magical world of theatre. Cast members will be available in-costume, including those portraying animals, following each performance to greet young patrons in the lobby for photo opportunities and a “petting zoo” experience. Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for children under the age of 18, and $5 advance-purchase tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students with IDs. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

WAA-MU SHOW

The 83rd Annual Waa-Mu Show, “Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine,” 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8; 8 p.m. Friday, May 9; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11, Cahn Auditorium. Supervised by award-winning, internationally renowned director and Northwestern theatre faculty member David H. Bell and written by Northwestern University students, the 2014 Waa-Mu Show re-imagines Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” set in 1930s Hollywood. The musical follows the story of twins who are tragically separated on their journey to a better life in Los Angles. The sister, believing her brother is dead, has no choice but to assume his identity to secure work as a movie extra, only to take the silver screen by storm as a man. When her brother unexpectedly arrives in Hollywood, struck with amnesia, hilarity ensures with mistaken identities, love triangles and an unforgettable reunion in this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s epic tale. Tickets are $30 (tier one) to $25 (tier two) for general public; $22  (tier two) for seniors 62 and older, and Northwestern faculty, staff and area educators and administrators; and $10 (tier two) for full-time students with IDs. Discount pricing is available for groups of eight or more in Tier 2. Contact the Wirtz Center box office at (847) 491-7282 or visit The Waa-Mu Show.

S.I.T.E. FESTIVAL

S.I.T.E. Festival, Friday, May 23 through Sunday, June 8, at various Evanston locations. The S.I.T.E. (Surprising Intersections of Theatre in Evanston) Festival will feature three compelling productions presented in non-traditional theatre spaces located in or on the edge of Evanston. A vacant building on Howard Street, Evanston’s first craft brewery and an 18-hole golf course are the settings for these upcoming works at the S.I.T.E. Festival. The May 23 through June 8 theatrical event, designed to directly engage Evanston community members, is a joint collaboration of Northwestern University’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, the City of Evanston, the Temperance Beer Company and the Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course. Open to the public, the festival’s three plays are “Far Away” by British playwright Caryl Churchill, “American Dead” by Chicago playwright Brett Neveu and “Thou Proud Dream,” co-written by Northwestern MFA student director Damon Krometis and Northwestern alumna Jenni Lamb. Casts for all three productions will feature Northwestern undergraduate students along with several guest professional actors from Chicago. The festival is the brainchild of Northwestern’s Michael Rohd, assistant professor of theatre at the School of Communication and founding artistic director of Portland Oregon’s Sojourn Theatre, which has earned a national reputation for participatory theatre. A Festival Pass -- available for $25 at sitefestival.northwestern.edu -- guarantees a reservation to each of the three S.I.T.E. Festival productions. The pass also is an exclusive ticket to a June 8 end-of-festival party at Temperance Beer Co. Individual tickets are available in advance at the Wirtz Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282. Tickets are $10 for general public and $5 for Northwestern students with valid Wildcard IDs. Day-of tickets are subject to availability at the door, $10 cash only.

S.I.T.E. FESTIVAL PRODUCTIONS

• Alderman Ann Rainey of Evanston’s 8th Ward and the City’s economic development department were advocates for director Jessica Fisch to stage “Far Away” by Caryl Churchill at 727 Howard St., a vacant building that has been a church, a storefront and a proposed theatre space. “Far Away” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, May 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25; 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 1; 8 p.m. Friday, June 6; and 8 p.m. Saturday June 7. It describes a world where everything in nature is at war and tells the story of a young girl who witnesses something she was never meant to see. Discovering dark truths far beyond her years, nothing will ever be the same for her again. “Far Away” and its stage design team of Northwestern students Shawn Ketchum Johnson, Stephanie Cluggish and Maya Fein create a magical world on the Evanston/Chicago border. For more information, visit http://sitefestival.northwestern.edu/far-away/

“American Dead” audiences will visit Evanston’s first microbrewery, Temperance Beer Company at 2000 Dempster St. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25; 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 1; 8 p.m. Friday, June 6; and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7. Written by Chicago playwright Brett Neveu and directed by Scott Cummins, “American Dead” is the story of a man haunted by the murder of his sister who tries to uncover the truth of her death. Enlivening one of Evanston’s light industrial warehouse spaces, Northwestern graduate student designers Lindsey Lyddan and Carolyn Sullivan will create the world of the play by engaging structural elements inside the craft brewing company. For more information, visit http://sitefestival.northwestern.edu/american-dead/.

“Thou Proud Dream,” adapted from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” by director Damon Krometis and Northwestern alumna Jenni Lamb, guides audiences on an outdoor walk through the “Canal Shores” Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course at 1030 Central St., in Evanston. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1; 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 3; 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 4; 8 p.m. Thursday, June 5; 8 p.m. Friday, June 6; and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7. Hoping for inspiration for his highly anticipated homecoming speech, Iraqi war veteran Leroy turns to his favorite war story, “Henry V.” But something within him wants to tell a different war story -- his own. Northwestern graduate students Shawn Ketchum Johnson, Maya Fein and Carolyn Sullivan will use the 18-hole public golf course to paint the scene of a classic tale cast in the contemporary light of our modern, warring world. Since audience members will be engaged in walking during the outdoor production, they should wear comfortable shoes. For more information, visit http://sitefestival.northwestern.edu/thou-proud-dream/.

MFA COLLABORATION SERIES

MFA Collaboration Series, “A Dream Play” by August Strindberg, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29; 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31 and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 1, Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theatre, 1949 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Caryl Churchill’s new spare and resonant version of Strindberg’s “A Dream Play” will be directed by Northwestern MFA candidate Aaron Snook. It tells the story of a young woman from another world who visits earth to see if life is really as difficult as people make it out to be. Following the logic of a dream, in which characters merge into each other, locations change in an instant and a locked door becomes an obsessively recurrent image, Strindberg's play, written in 1902, is an amalgam of Freud, Alice's “Wonderland” and Strindberg's own private symbolism. Tickets are $10.  

PERFORMANCE STUDIES

“Cultural Struggles,” a Symposium Honoring the Scholarship and Activism of Dwight Conquergood, May 16 and 17, Northwestern University’s John Evans Alumni Center, 1800 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus. The two-day symposium presented by the department of performance studies at Northwestern University, will feature a keynote address by Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor of Theater and English, chair of the Theater Studies Advisory Committee and director of Theater at Yale University, lectures, performances and closing remarks by Renee Alexander Craft, assistant professor of communication studies and curriculum in global studies, at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Conquerqood, a former associate professor of performance studies at Northwestern University, died in fall 2004. He was known for his groundbreaking research in performance studies, critical ethnography and cultural studies. Conquergood conducted much of his research living with the people he was studying, including in refugee camps in Thailand and the Gaza Strip and in immigrant and impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago. His work in all these settings extended far beyond scholarship into advocacy and activism. For more information, visit the School of Communication and click the “Spring Quarter” tab.     

CONSTRUCTION ALERT

A three-year construction project under way on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. For more information, visit TIC for more information. 

Topics: Campus Life