2011-2012 Season: Theatre and Social Justice
Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College Presents its 48th Season:
“Theatre and Social Justice”
KALAMAZOO, MI – In conjunction with the new Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the 48th season of Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College presents a series of provocative, humorous, and innovative plays that unite performance, text, and design, while exploring what it means to live and not live in a socially just world.
Special Event: The Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College Diversity Guest Artist Series present the kick-off to “Theatre and Social Justice” season with a performance of Free Jujube Brown on Saturday September 17 at 7:30pm in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse. Written and performed by Hip-Hop theatre artist Psalmayene 24, Free Jujube Brown is a one-man, multi-character driven Hip-Hop theatre piece about a young African American writer who is provoked to shoot and accidentally kill a white police officer.
Psalmayene 24, a.k.a. Gregory Morrison, is a professional actor, Hip-Hop theatre artist, singer/songwriter, and playwright from the Arena Theatre in Washington D.C. He was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for his performance in Free Jujube Brown. Psalmayene’s vision for the future includes, “Creating Art that truly improves the quality of life on this planet.”
This production is sponsored by the Festival Playhouse Guest Artist Series, which is committed to providing culturally diverse art free to the Greater Kalamazoo community. It is made possible primarily through funding from the Dorothy U. Dalton Enrichment Fund, Previous Guest Artist Series performances include Oni Faida Lampley in “”, Lisa Kron in “2.5 Minute Ride”, and Jose Torres Tama in “The Cone of Uncertainty.”
Stuff Happens by David Hare
November 3-6: Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm
“Stuff happens … And it’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”
These are the famous words of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in April 2003, shortly after the United States invaded Iraq. Award winning author David Hare pulls no punches in this riveting documentary play which profiles the extraordinary events at the White House, the United Nations, and all over the world leading to the U.S./Iraqi war. Besides Bush, Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld, other characters include Laura Bush, Tony Blair, and U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix. A play about international diplomacy, leadership, and credibility, and, most of all, in the author’s own words “Stuff Happens is a history play which happens to centre on very recent history.”
Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill
Feb. 23-26: Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm
Act One takes place in British colonial Africa and features a man playing the mistress of the household, a white actor playing a black servant, and a doll playing the well-behaved daughter. Act Two is 100 years later in London, but the characters have only aged 25 years, as they explore their sexual identities through everything from heterosexual adultery to bisexual incest. This is Caryl Churchill’s outrageous satirical farce, one of the sharpest, politicized and funniest plays ever written. While The New York Times called the original Broadway production “ an evening of inspired lunacy,” Caryl Churchill has emerged of one of the most successful, respected and insightful playwrights of her – or any – generation.
Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi
April 26-29: Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm
“For the longest time Arab issues or Muslim issues just had not been on the radar," says playwright Yussef El Guindi. "The subject was just "too edgy.” Then came 9/11. Suddenly there were calls for plays.” A chilling black comedy, Back of the Throat tells a Kafkaesque story of two mysterious government agents who visit the apartment of Kaled, an Arab-American writer, for some “routine questioning.” What begins as friendly and humorous becomes uncomfortable, then menacing, and finally violent.
KAHANI – A New Play Devised by Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Fellow and Guest Artist Director Irfana Majumdar and students of Kalamazoo College.
May 10-13: Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm
Based loosely on stories of Hindi 20th century writer Munshi Premchand and Rabindranath Tagore, ‘national’ poet of Bengal, KAHANI (story) will explore the implicit power and hierarchical structures within the family and society in complex and insightful ways. A truly interdisciplinary and international creation from Theatre Arts, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, and Center for International Programs.
As an Arcus Center Social Justice Leadership Visiting Fellow, Indian director, filmmaker, and theatre educator will be in residence at Kalamazoo College from January through 2012, teaching and directing.
Stuff Happens, Cloud Nine, and KAHANI will be performed in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, and Back of the Throat will be performed in the Dungeon Theatre. Ticket prices are $15/Adults, $10/seniors, and $5/students. Our Senior Performance Series are housed in our black box Dungeon Theatre, where tickets are $5 at the door for everyone. All plays in both theatres are “pay what you want” on Thursdays. For more information, call 269-337-7333 or visit www.kzoo.edu/theatre.
Theatre that is always provocative. Theatre that is always thoughtful. Festival Playhouse gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation.