The 30th season for Undermain Theatre has been partially announced. We know the first three shows, of which two are world premieres and one a regional premiere. The world premieres come from transgender playwright Sylvan Oswald (Profanity) and Undermain favorite Len Jenkin, and the regional premiere is by Jackie Sibblies Drury and has possibly the longest title of a play that we can remember: We are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 (shortened to We Are Proud to Present a Presentation...).
The 2013-'14 season returns Undermain to the Dallas City Performance Hall, a situation that must have worked out with this year's Penelope. Jenkin's play Abraham Zobell's Home Movie: Final Reel will be performed there.
A fourth mainstage production is to be announced, and there will also be the Undermain Reads series at the Dallas Museum of Art. Also look for a 30th anniversary gala.
Here's the season breakdown, with info on the plays and the writers:
By Sylvan Oswald
Directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens
A World Premiere
September 12-October 12
With Bruce DuBose, Michael Federico, Shannon Kearns-Simmons, Alex Organ, Katy Tye
Design by John Arnone, Giva Taylor, Steve Woods
In 1950’s Philadelphia, the Schneider brothers have big dreams for the family real estate business. Struggling against their own disagreements and rival companies, they want to build something that will last. However, when they hire a new secretary, she and her daughter Esther stumble upon long hidden secrets in musty files behind closed doors. In his World Premiere dark comedy, rising young playwright Sylvan Oswald explores a family foundation sinking into decay and the corrupted ties that bind communities.
Sylvan Oswald is a transgender theater artist originally from Philadelphia. He creates plays, texts and publications. Sylvan’s plays include Profanity, Nightlands, Sun Ra, Pony and Vendetta Chrome. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a Six Points Fellow for 2010-2012 and the Dorothy B. Strelsin Playwriting Fellow at Soho Rep for 2010-2011. Sylvan is the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, a Thurber House Playwriting Fellowship, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Millay Colony for the Arts, the Dramatists Guild, and a New Voices fellowship from The Ensemble Studio Theater. Sylvan’s play Pony premiered at About Face Theatre and Nightlands premiered at New Georges in 2011. Sylvan collaborated with puppet-theater artist Dan Hurlin on Disfarmer in St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2009 and is currently at work on Zoetrope, a music-theater work with composer/director Alec Duffy and designer Mimi Lien. Other plays have been developed and presented at Clubbed Thumb, The Foundry Theater, The Hangar Theater, The McCarter Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, and P73’s I73 Writing Group among others. Since 2009, Sylvan has taught playwriting at Barnard College and Purchase College/SUNY.
ABRAHAM ZOBELL’S HOME MOVIE: FINAL REEL
By Len Jenkin
Directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens
A World Premiere
January 17-February 1
Performed at the Dallas City Performance Hall
With Rhonda Boutte, Fred Curchack, Bruce DuBose, Laura Jorgenson
Design by John Arnone, Giva Taylor and Steve Woods
One night the ailing Abraham Zobell escapes his wife’s care to undertake a final, perilous journey to the ocean. At Sister Fleeta’s Go-Go Bar, where the blues and gospel tunes never cease, he discovers a kindred spirit in Uncle Monday, a young girl, Stella, who takes him back to his high school days, his boss from the first job he held at the boardwalk carnival, and a Rabbi on his final pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This new play from three-time Obie-winner Len Jenkin, Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie: Final Reel…, is about a man making the journey backwards through the last seventy years of his life, trying to say goodbye to the love he lost along the way.
Undermain returns to the City Performance Hall to create Zobell’s world with dazzling light, scenic wonder, projections and a live band performing American roots music and Doo Wop. Over its thirty year production history Undermain has had the great pleasure to premiere two of Len’s plays, Time in Kafka and Port Twilight in past seasons along with regional premieres of his plays, Margo Veil and Poor Folks Pleasure, making Len Jenkin a perennial Undermain favorite. Now Undermain will have the great pleasure of continuing its longtime collaboration with the world premiere of his latest play, Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie: Final Reel...
Len Jenkin is a novelist, playwright, director, and screenwriter. His novels include N Judah, New Jerusalem and The Secret Life of Billy’s Uncle Myron (with Emily Jenkins). Plays include Dark Ride, Pilgrims of the Night, Carless Love, My Uncle Sam, Limbo Tales, The Dream Express, Margo Veil, Port Twilight and Like I Say. His works for the stage have been produced throughout the United States, as well as in England, Germany, France, Denmark, and Japan. His films include Blame it on the Night, Welcome to Oblivion and American Notes. He has received many honors and awards, including three OBIE awards for Directing and Playwriting, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, a nomination for an EMMY Award, and four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Mr. Jenkin holds a PhD in American Literature from Columbia University. He’s a Professor in the Dramatic Writing Department, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and lives in New York City.
WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION...
By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Undermain Artistic Associate Dylan Key
A Regional Premiere
Full title: We are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915
March 22-April 19
Design by Robert Winn
A troupe of young actors gears up to portray the extermination of the Herero tribe of Namibia. They’re passionate. Energetic. They’ve got piles of research. But what do they really know about being black Africans under German colonization? Is it possible to identify with the victims of history? What about the villains? There is danger in the game they’re playing, and fraught racial histories threaten to tear the troupe apart. As the actors dive further in, this inventive new play from Jackie Sibblies Drury (named a “Top Ten” show by New York Magazine) becomes a hilarious and head-spinning nightmare of identity.
Jackie Sibblies Drury is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 had its New York premiere at Soho Rep in fall, 2012, and its world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Jackie’s work has been featured at PRELUDE.11, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Victory Gardens 2010 Ignition Festival, American Theater Company’s 10 x 10 Festival, and The Magic Theatre’s Virgin Play Festival. Jackie received a 2012-13 Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists. She was a member of the 2011-12 Soho Rep Writer/Director lab, a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Fellow, and member of The Civilians’ R&D Group. She is the dramaturg and contributing writer for Zero Cost House, a collaboration between Pig Iron Theatre Company and Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada. Jackie is a NYTW Usual Suspect and a MacDowell Colony fellow, and is on committees to organize classes for Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops and The Public School New York. She is a graduate of Brown’s MFA playwriting program, where she received the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting. Her play Social Creatures was commissioned by Trinity Repertory Theater Company in Providence RI, and premiered there in March 2013. Jackie is the inaugural recipient of the Jerome New York Fellowship for 2012-2014.
A fourth production will be announced later, and Undermain will also continue its Undermain Reads series at the Dallas Museum of Art. Stay tuned for more.
Undermain Theatre performances are Wednesdays-Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are Wednesdays $15, Thursdays $20, Fridays $25, and Saturdays $30. Undermain is located at 3200 Main Street at the corner of Murray Street in Deep Ellum. Discounts are available for seniors, students, KERA members, and groups. Call214.747.5515 or visit www.Undermain.org.