It is with great pleasure that the CSULB Theatre Department announces the 2012-2013 University Players season, which is sure to titillate, agitate and stimulate.
The fall semester begins fusing past and present, myth and reality from October 4th to 13th. Ellen McLaughlin’s Ajax in Iraq seeks to make sense of the horrors of war in a compelling fusion of Ajax, Sophocles' tragic military hero, and AJ, a female soldier in contemporary Iraq. Director John Farmanesh-Bocca trained at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts before serving as Directing Fellow at The Juilliard School’s Drama Division (2003-2005). He is Artistic Director of both Shakespeare Santa Monica and the Big Sur Theatre Lab, and directed an exciting, physical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona at CSULB in 2010.
Susan Blackburn prize-winner Jennifer Haley’s comic tale of an unnervingly realistic video game Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom will be directed by LADCC Award-nominated director Trevor Biship. “Playing like a nifty episode of "The Twilight Zone," the story builds to an affectingly gruesome finale,” according to Variety. Running October 19th through November 3rd, this play contains adult language, graphic situations... and zombies. May not be appropriate for children. Biship has directed the world and regional premieres of diverse contemporary playwrights, from Suzan-Lori Parks to Paula Vogel. Los Angeles world and regional premieres include Far Away, Film, Just Say No and Psalms of a Questionable Nature. His production of The Kentucky Cycle for California Repertory Company was recently nominated by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for Best Ensemble.
From November 27th to December 8th, the department is thrilled to present Lemon Boots, an original piece created by students under the direction of CSULB Head of Movement, Ezra LeBank. Prior to his appointment at CSULB, he taught at The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, Vassar College/Powerhouse Theatre, Smith College, and The University of Montana. He has performed in theatre, film, dance, physical theatre, and opera around the world to critical acclaim including work with LaMaMa E.T.C., Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, The Talking Band, New Century Theatre, and Montana Repertory Theatre. Lemon Boots promises to be a visually stunning, kinetic theatre experience set in a world without water. Lives are made and broken on the promise of a drink.
The spring semester will begin with the University Players production of Bob Gluadini’s Jack Goes Boating, a gentle romantic comedy of love, friendship and the charm of the ordinary. This production runs from March 1st to March 16th and will be directed by CSULB alum Jeff Paul. After graduating summa cum laude, Paul was awarded recognition as the Outstanding Graduate of the College of the Arts and subsequently joined the part-time CSULB faculty pool until attaining his present position as director of the Music and Theatre Conservatory at OSCHA. Paul has directed productions at the Century City Playhouse, West Hollywood’s Elephant Theatre, Saddleback Civic Light Opera, Long Beach Studio Theatre, Long Beach Playhouse
From March 15th through March 30th Joanne Gordon will direct her final production as Chair of Theatre Arts: Steven Slater and Duncan Sheik’s hit musical Spring Awakening. Based on Wedekind's explosive classic and winner of 8 Tony Awards, this exhilarating alternative rock fusion dramatizes teenage angst and the tumultuous journey to adulthood. Award-winning director Gordon’s accolades include five Drama-Logue Awards, a Los Angeles Critics Choice Award and being named "Best of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times. Her adaptation and production of Love, Bukowski was nominated for several awards by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, which also conferred on Cal Rep the Polly Warfield Award. As an internationally renowned Sondheim scholar, she has directed a number of this extraordinary artist’s works worldwide, including the first Chinese language production of West Side Story in Beijing. Published work includes Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook; frequent contributions to The Sondheim Review and Art Isn't Easy: The Theater of Stephen Sondheim.
We close the season with Lobster Alice, April 26th to May 11th, directed by CSULB MFA Directing candidate and Robert Prior. Playwright Kira Obolensky combines a pinch of Surrealism with dashes of Dada, Dali, and Disney into a deliciously absurd concoction as her pair of clumsy lovers grope their way to a happy ending. For over a decade, Prior has served as Artistic Director of Fabulous Monsters Performance Group and brought to local and national audiences its eclectic ensemble of actors, dancers, musicians, acrobats and designers. Its work cultivates an “ultra-theatrical style” incorporating world myth, vivid social content and outrageous, often gender bending humor, has toured nationally and been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including 5 New York Drama Desk Nominations.
University Players performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm, with limited 2 pm Saturday matinees. The Players Theatre and Studio Theatre are both on the CSULB South Campus in the Theatre Arts Building, accessible via West Campus Drive. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students (with valid ID). For tickets and information, please call (562) 985-5526 or visit www.csulb.edu/depts/theatre.