About the Show:
What would you do if the world was ending? When chaos roams the earth, you can either tie yourself to the bit of light left or fall into the darkness. Separated from your loved ones, you hold a notebook with you that lists all the people you are searching for. Maybe you're not searching. Maybe you just want to know they're alive. You and a group of people from across the country find yourselves recollecting an episode from The Simpsons, finding comfort through connection. What will you do to preserve the past and create a new future?
In Act I, a group of actors from across the country go back and forth, discussing the details of a particular episode from The Simpsons. They find comfort in this recollection, a chance to step away from the exploding nuclear power plants and uprising violence. They acknowledge that they are facing difficult times, separated from family and friends, being without a home, and always in constant danger. We begin to see relationships that have already been established and others that are completely new. It's not a surprise to see such closeness in such a short period of time, as humans have a natural instinct to find a sense of comfort in one another. However, some of the group members find different ways to cope, keeping a barrier between them and others.
The U.S. is locked down in a strict martial law. With everyone stuck in their homes, the demand for streaming services has sky-rocketed, leading corporations to rack up the prices so only the upper-elite have access to any form of media content. The only form of entertainment left: underground performances of media from the Before Times. Act II follows an acting troupe in their final tech (quarantined, entirely over Zoom) as they recreate The Simpsons episodes from what's left of the collective unconscious. They try to stay afloat with what could potentially be their last performance as they figure out the Big questions: what does storytelling mean in the time of Great Struggle? How will we achieve new normalcy? And where did the national supply of Diet Cokes go?
In this world of the play, what gets reused, repurposed, and renewed in this heightened version of The Simpsons? How do these figures serve those living at this time in which the apocalypse has occurred several decades ago, yet still close to their timeline? As there is not just one version of a myth, so too with this act. This act will be experimental, in which you get to witness the act into four 'rooms': three in which we dive into the world of the play solely through audio visuals, voice, and movement, while the fourth brings us into the world of the 'backstage', a glimpse of the production and how the process would have been like if the play was done at a live performance.
With each in their unique worlds, audience members gets to forge their own experience: stay in one room or move to and fro? Multiple discoveries. Multiple possibilities. Reconfigure. Reconstruct. Forge your own path, your own myth.
About the Directors:
Natalie Calderon is a second-year Theatre and Communications double major at UCSD. She has experience as musical director for Shakespeare in the Vines and as artistic director of several productions, including Almost, Maine. She also loves to act, write, and sing. Working on this show has been such an amazing experience. Natalie would like to thank all her friends, family, and peers for their undying support these past couple years.
Simon J.O. Martin is a queer theatre-maker receiving his BA in Theatre with an Emphasis in Directing and Playwriting. Directing: How I Learned to Drive, Go (Company 157), Peripeteia (Che Cafe), Orestes 2.0, Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! (UCSD; AD), Calafia at Liberty (WOW Festival; AD). Playwriting: Semi-Autobiographical Queer Love Story [Self-Produced - 2020], Weirdo, or (Make Nice) [UCSD Winter NPF - 2020, Cal Lutheran - 2019] and Fruit Fly, or (Adam, Eve, & Steve) [NSYPF 2019 Contest].
Tristan Samson is a fourth-year transfer student double majoring in theatre & dance. He was born in Cavite, Philippines and was exposed to theatre at a young age at Jimel Academy. UC San Diego credit: AHC (shank labs), winterWORKS '20, winterWORKS '19, and An Object Screaming. Other select credits: The Flying Doctor, The Robber Bridegroom, Twelfth Night.
Approaching this semi-apocalyptic world, I wanted to create an immersive experience. With our country under quarantine, I thought immersion would allow our audience to step out of the home, away from the screen, and enjoy being in the presence of other people, hearing the rush of the stream, and taking in the scenery of the woods. This act is all about how we seek comfort in hard times, and executing the play in an immersive way provides that same kind of comfort to our audience. However, this play also serves as a cautionary tale of events that might take place if we forget our responsibilities to health and safety in this time of crisis. That is why I wanted to put you inside the play - to make these choices and experience the results. In a time of such high risk, it is up to the individual to preserve the health and safety of the whole.
The most important aspect for me was that the audience be taken away from their screens. I find that screens are distracting, and right now, we are using them for work, school, and play; I needed a way to dissociate from these elements. In order to recreate this quarantine-theatre, I was inspired by the blind and deaf communities and how they experience performance art. After interviewing several people and doing extensive research on blind and immersion theatre, I decided that this was the way to go. This way of performing Act I allows us to not only explore a different mode of performance that enhances our senses, but also opens our doors to other communities, such as the blind community. Thank you so much for supporting the arts during this time; I hope that you take a moment to really step into the world of the play and ask the tough questions.
Simon J.O. Martin:
Act II of Mr. Burns takes us right into the middle of one of the most stressful situations you can find yourself in a martial law mandated quarantine: a final tech rehearsal. This group of struggling actors has been together for about seven years now stuck in the World's Worst Group Project; relationships have formed and their potential shows, but so does their bitterness and frustration. When they're not trying to think about the dreadful situation outside, they rehearse their vibrant musical numbers, nostalgic commercials, and slapstick comedies, all harkening back to a simpler and easier time (back to the ages of commedia dell'arte even). They all want it to make it work-- no, they need it to-- because this is their only means of survival in this lonely, dangerous world. But when nothing is the same and everyone in the world's life is shattered, how can we still do the human thing of being together and telling stories?
Through each Act of Mr. Burns, we get to see a glimpse of how human storytelling has evolved through different technological periods through the lens of our modern media. In this Act, we get to see storytelling compounded through necessity-- using stories as a form of currency in this new world. This daring project is being undertaken in a world where Zoom reigns-- actors and design teams across the state and country are coming together in an attempt to create in a way that reinforces Anne Washburn's idea of the driving Human need to come together and tell stories to each other over a crackling campfire (or the glowing hum of a laptop). Much like the characters with their audience in the show, we're glad you could be here. We hope you all are safe and healthy and that you stay that way. Thank you!
When approaching the play, it made me re-think what makes theatre unique to the art forms out there and coming to a conclusion that it is... alive, allowing the audience to "talk" to the play and vice versa. This talk invites community, as theatre brings together so many art forms that is able to create a harmonious and discordant collaborative process. We are currently living in troubled times in situation of the pandemic COVID-19, as I too have been affected feeling discombobulated, disoriented, not feeling whole. Theatre collaborations in person has been halted as of late, only able to see glimpses of how theatre works come to be, but not fully experiencing what theatre is: the collaborative process.
So then an idea came forth: with the global pandemic, my current state, and external factors we're dealing with...instead of trying to find a way of bringing the theatre works together, how about inviting this idea of fragmentation to the work, but the essence of the collaborative process still in tact! As Mr. Burns questions the exploration of pop culture of one era evolving into a mythological idea of another, this act pushes that idea by breaking down the play in multiple fragment works, as myths often do not have just interpretation. Witnessing the play SOLELY through dance, sound, performance AND backstage, while all happening at the same time; therefore, inviting the audience to jump through each process as they please. Disorienting? Yes! But with intention! Intention to provide a new sense of theatre in the predicament we are facing. Let us realize through this disorienting collaborative process that fragmentation can still bring a community together during these challenging times.
Performances + Ticketing:
RESERVE YOUR TICKETS
Act I Opening: Tuesday, June 2nd @ 7:30pm
Act II Opening: Wednesday, June 3rd @ 7:30pm
Act III Opening: Thursday, June 4th @ 7:30pm
Act I Closing: Friday, June 5th @ 7:30pm
Act II Closing: Saturday, June 6th @ 2:00pm
Act III Closing: Saturday, June 6th @ 7:30pm
Act I runs approximately 55 minutes
Act II runs approximately 45 minutes
Act III runs approximately 30 minutes
Amir-Ali Aftabi (Digital Designer, Act II & III; Mr Burns, Act III) is third-year undergraduate student studying Theatre and Political Science. He was born and raised in Orange County. Amir transferred from Irvine Valley College where he starred in King Oedipus, Voice of The Prairie, West Side Story and Zombie Dearest. Amir has also been in a variety of foreign and independent films including Permission, Party Favors and Open Mic. UC San Diego credits: AHC (Lab Festival), Director, Elektra, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope.
Sophie Anastas (Marge/Chorus) is a first-year Theatre major. Select credits: Pippin (Muir Musical, Asst. Scenic) and The Laramie Project (Grand Arts High School, ASM)
Jolie Andersen (Vocal Ensemble, Act III) is a third-year undergraduate Theatre major with Dance and Sign Language minors. UC San Diego credits: Sonnets for an Old Century (Antionette Abbamonte).
Jacqueline Arroyo (Colleen, Act II) is a fourth-year Theatre and Political Science double major.
Shelby Becker (Maria, Act I) is a third-year double major in Theatre and Communication at UC San Diego, and Mr. Burns is her first departmental production. Other theatre credits: The Orange Garden (Peace Corps Iran Assn.), Peripeteia (Che Cafe), Home, Fault Lines, Note/Note/Note (Company 157). Film: Two Seven (3041 Productions).
Jalani Blankenship (Sound Designer, Act II) is a fourth-year Theatre major. UC San Diego credits: Don't Dress For Dinner (SD, LAB 2020), How I Learned To Drive (SD, Company 157), Jefferson Middle School Monthly (Cora), Classical Women (Greek Chorus), Whatever You Need (Lorraine), Peer Gynt (Ase), The Skriker (Skriker/Little Girl). Playwrights Project credits: Sea of Fog (Denise). Company 157 Credits: Go (Maddie), Mirage (Amber), The Guest (Greta), Cryonics (Troy).
Hailey Brown (Sound Designer, Act I ) is a third-year Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts - Music major and a Theatre minor. Previous credits: La Cage Aux Folles (Cygnet Theatre, Asst. Sound Designer); Pippin, Songs for a New World (Muir Musical, Sound Designer), Hairspray (Muir Musical, Asst. Sound Designer).
Elena Browne (Lisa/Chorus, Act III) is a fourth-year Theatre major and Vice President of UC San Diego's Equestrian Team. UC San Diego credits: Twelfth Night (Found Space Theatre), La Soledad de Mi Humanidad (Astrid Espitia's Honors Thesis), Trish's Guide to Surviving High School (Company 157), Measure for Measure (Company 157), Tartuffe (Fair Play Theatre). Other credits: Cabaret, The Laramie Project, West Side Story, Romeo & Juliet (New Roads School).
Lauren Choo (Jenny, Act I) who is from Singapore, is a third-year Theater major and International Studies minor. This is her first time participating in a UC San Diego undergrad production so she is excited to share her work with everyone in this community. Other credits: South Pacific, Rocky Horror Show, Zombie Dearest.
Cassandra Connolly (Nelson/Chorus ) is a third-year History major and Theater minor. Other credits: Measure for Measure, On the Table.
Kara Coughenour (Itchy/Chorus, Act III) is a third-year Theatre major. This is her first show in the department at UC San Diego. Other credits: Songs For A New World (Muir Musical), Reefer Madness (The Empty Space), and Our Town (Bakersfield College).
Emily Cronan (Quincy, Act II) is a first year Theatre major and potential Communications double major. Credits Include Six Characters In Search of an Author (Company 157), Into The Woods, Disaster the Musical, and Filed As CIP. Emily thanks all the artists involved on Mr. Burns, for their creative ingenuity in unprecedented times!
Rickie Emilie Farah (Movement Ensemble, Act III) is third-year undergraduate student. Previous credits: Much Ado About Nothing (Dogberry), Julius Caesar (Portia), Sueno (Estrella), The Cherry Orchard (Anya), Museum (Carol, Mira Zadal, and Tink).
Meg Farinsky (Willy/Flanders/Chorus, Act III) is a third-year transfer Theatre major. UC San Diego credits: Move, Jump, Fly! (Company 157). Other credits: Endgame, Twelfth Night, Eurydice. Film credits include leading roles in short films at SDSU, UNCSA, and independent productions.
Charles Glaudini (Arranger/Orchestrator/Music Director Act III) is a third-year Music major and Theatre minor specializing in music technology and sound design. UC San Diego credits: Much Ado About Nothing (SD), Sonnets for an Old Century (SD). Other credits: Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar (MD, Muir Musical); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Singing in the Rain, The Little Mermaid (AMD, MTW); A Weekend with Pablo Picasso (SD, NVA).
Sophia Harris (Colleen, Act I; Gibson, Act II) is a fourth-year Theatre major. UC San Diego credits: Our Town, Classical Women, Much Ado About Nothing, LAB 2020 Insomnia. Other credits: Government Inspector, Maple and Vine, King Lear, Dead Accounts, The Seagull, Medea, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Little Women at College of Marin.
Ruby Hays (Stage Manager, Act I) is a second-year Theatre major and Literature/Writing minor. This will be her first production with the UC San Diego Theatre Department. Previous credits: Pippin (Muir Musical, ASM), and Hairspray (Muir Musical, PA).
Natalie Stella Hill (Lighting Designer) is a second year Theater major and thrilled to be a part of Mr Burns, a post electric play. Her select credits: Songs for a New World (lighting designer), Calafia at Liberty (assistant lighting designer), Hairspray (lighting designer), tick, tick...BOOM (lighting designer and assistant director), WinterWorks 2019 (assistant lighting designer), The Crucible (lighting designer), A Midsummer Night's Dream (sound designer), and Shogun Macbeth (sound designer). She would like to thank her family and friends for always supporting her, and lastly the floor for always being there when she falls.
Christopher Hin (Bart, Act III) is a first-year Theatre major. UC San Diego credits: Weirdo (or Make Nice)-Company 157. Other credits: I Hate Shakespeare at Santiago HS, Almost, Maine at Santiago HS, and Action News: With 10% More Action at Santiago HS.
Michael Hongxun Huang (Sam, Act I) is a second-year Engineering Physics major and Theater minor. UC San Diego credits: (LAB/Winter 2020) We Wear The Mask a Devised Piece, Sorry Wrong Number.
Kaci Koelker (Scratchy/Chorus, Act III) is a first-year Theatre major. This is her first UC San Diego performance.
Marina Lee (Sam, Act II) is a third-year Theatre and Neuroscience double major, and Human Development minor. She is thrilled to be acting in her first UC San Diego production and hopes you enjoy the show!
Zach Lenton (Gibson, Act I) is a third-year undergraduate student. Previous credits: Much Ado About Nothing (Don Jon), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Snout), Twelve Angry Men (Juror 2), and The Terezin Promise (Nicholas Moeller).
Evelyn Lopez (Matt, Act II) is a recent alumna of HArts Academy and a first-year undergraduate Theatre student. Select recent acting credits: A Beautiful Day... (Trainer/Smilesinger), Sister Act: The Musical (Sister Mary Patrick) and Grease (Jan). She has competed in four DTASC Festivals and was a member of her school's Comedy Sportz team. Evelyn would like to thank the cast and crew for all their hard work and for making this show so fun. She would also like to thank all her friends and family for their love and support!
Naomi Louie (Movement Ensemble), is a first-year undergraduate Theatre Major. Previous credits: The Good Woman of Setzuan (God's Assistant), A Long Christmas Dinner (Leonora Banning), and [title of show] (Heidi).
Linda Lucia (Movement Ensemble, Act III) is a first-year undergraduate student majoring in Theatre. Select credit: Orestes 2.0 (Menelaus' Intern), Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Mother, Company 157).
Alex Luong (Stage Manager, Act III) is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Theatre and Communications. UC San Diego credits: Much Ado About Nothing (ASM). Balm in Gilead (PA), New Directions '19 (ASM), The Jefferson Middle School Monthly (ASM, WNPF '19), Classical Women (SD), Our Town (ASD), 53% Of (ASM, WNPF '18), and A Raisin in the Sun (PA). Other credits: Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story and Legally Blonde (New Village Arts, ASM).
Kate McLeod (Sound Designer, Act III) is a stage manager and sound technician receiving her BA in Mathematics with a Theater minor. UC San Diego credits: Elektra, ASM. Other credits: Legally Blonde, (Palomar College, SM), Julius Caesar (The Classical Academy, SM/SD), Julius Caesar (The Classical Academy, SM/SD) The Children's Hour (Palomar College, ASD), Mamma Mia! (Center Stage Productions, ASM).
India Menete (Edna/Chorus Leader) is a first-year Theatre major from Los Angeles. UC San Diego credits: AHC (Lab Festival), Elektra (Chorus). India recently filmed a short film called Queen of the Night in which she played the Moon.
Chloe Miller (Stage Manager of Act II), is a fourth-year Theatre major with an emphasis in stage management. She is excited to be interning at The Old Globe this summer. UC San Diego credits: An Object, Screaming (ASM), The Underground (MFA dance thesis, ASM) Monster (ASM, WNPF '19), SERE (PA, WNPF 2018), Mother Courage and Her Children.
Vita Muccia (Vocal Director, Act II) is a third-year transfer student from New York City, originally from Costa Mesa, CA. She is a Music major, a Theatre minor, and studied Theatre Arts at her previous institution. Marymount Manhattan. UC San Diego credits: Elektra (Chrysothemis), Music Director/Co-Director of [title of show] Fair Play Theatre Company. Other college credits: Punk Rock (Tanya Gleason), Romeo and Juliet (Nurse). NHHS credits: Pygmalion (Alfred Doolittle), The Diary of Anne Frank (Anne Frank), Lucky Stiff (Rita LaPorta).
Angelynne Pawaan (Vocal Ensemble, Bart/Flanders) is a fourth-year undergraduate Theatre and Cognitive Science double major. Credits: Sonnets for an Old Century (UCSD), Pippin (Muir Musical).
Roberto Perez-Kempton (Homer/Troy. Act III) is a fourth-year transfer student from Spain. Awards: Best Actor (Bay Area Critics Circle), KCACTF Irene Ryan Nominee, 2018. Select credits: The Servant of Two Masters (Brighella), The Little Mermaid (Jetsam, Chef Louis), Into the Woods (Rapunzel's Prince), A Few Good Men (PFC Downey), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo). UC San Diego credits: Man in Love (Leigh), Shame Spiral (WNPF '19), Life is A Dream (Tenor), Our Town (George).
Ryan Pham (Vocal Ensemble) a third-year transfer student, is a Biochemistry & Cell Biology major and Theatre minor. UC San Diego credits: Milestones (Samson). Other credits: Pippin with Muir Musical (Lewis), Back the Night with It's On Us (Sam).
Manuel Puentes (Maria) is a third-year Theatre major from Van Nuys, CA. This is his first production at UC San Diego. Other credits: Chicago (Amos), Cinderella (Evil Stepmother), Grease (Roger) at BCCHS.
Teagan Rutkowski (Muscial Director, Act II) is a fourth-year Theatre and Music double major with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. She is graduating with her Honors degree in Music this Spring. Teagan is also the Artistic Director of Fair Play Theatre Company at UC San Diego. UC San Diego credits: Balm in Gilead (Babe). She Kills Monsters (Farrah the Faerie), Peer Gynt (ASM), Our Town (Simon Stimson), Classical Women (Music Coordination/Asst. Sound Design), Shame Spiral (ASM, WNPF '19).
Brian Salvanera (Assistant Stage Manager) is a fifth-year undergraduate theatre major with a minor in critical gender studies. Previous theatrical credits: An Object, Screaming (PA), Six Characters in Search of an Author (SM, Company 157), Las Quinceneras (Clinician, La Jolla Playhouse 2019 WOW Festival). UC San Diego credits: The Underground (MFA dance thesis, PA) Life is a Dream (Scenic Crew), Alalahanin Mong Mahal Kita (Choreographer UC San Diego's Kaibigang Pilipin@).
Alex Savage (Matt, Act I) is a first-year undergraduate Theatre major. He was born and raised in Alexandria, VA. UC San Diego credit: Balm in Gilead (John).
Abigail Swinson (Production Stage Manager) is a third-year Theatre and Math double major. UC San Diego credits: New Directions 2019 (PA) and The Jefferson Middle School Monthly (PA). Other credits: SummerFest 2019 (La Jolla Music Society, PA) and A Kind of Weather (Diversionary Theatre, PA).
Sarah Taylor (Jenny, Act II) is a 2nd-year Theatre and Communication double major interested in acting, writing, and producing. UCSD Credits: AHC, a Lab production (SM and Co-producer). Her selected acting credits include: It's a Wonderful Life, The Diviners, The Diary of Anne Frank. She is thrilled at the chance to continue collaborating and creating theatre during these uncertain times.
Xinyi Wang (Assistant Stage Manager) is a third year Theatre major with a minor in Linguistics. UC San Diego credits: Gradient (ASD), How I Learned to Drive (PSM), Move, Jump, Fly (PSM), Mothers (WNPF 2018), How to Defend Yourself (WNPF 2018), Home (UNPF 2018), Go (Company 157).
Michael Wogulis (Scene Designer) is a Theatre and Communications major. UC San Diego credits: Much Ado About Nothing, (SD), Our Town (SD), A Raisin in the Sun (ASD), Balm in Gilead (ASD), Undergraduate New Play Festival (LD/SD). Other credits: Dry Land (SD), Songs for a New World (SD).
Grace Wong (Costume Designer ) is a first-year Theatre major with an emphasis on costume design. Design credits: Loves Labours Lost, Winterfest (Arcadia Stage). Assistant Design credits: The Underground (UC San Diego), Les Miserables, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beauty and the Beast, The Giver (Arcadia Stage).
Jimmy Xie (Movement Ensemble, Act III) is fourth-year transfer undergraduate Theatre major. UC San Diego credits: Balm in Gilead, The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, Brushstroke Through Time, Whitelash, and Homesick.