Undermain Theatre Announces 2018/19 Season

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For its 35th season Undermain celebrates its past, its future, and its present with two world premieres, a rarely seen world classic, and a celebratory reboot of a recent gem from the Undermain repertoire. The two world premieres bridge new American work from an eminent playwright to an important, emerging playwright, the classic presents a Dallas premiere by "the father of realism," the Undermain in rep series contemplates the Undermain's recent achievements, and our second Whither Goest Thou America: A Festival of New American Play Readings looks to the future.

Len Jenkin

How is it That We Live or Shakey Jake + Alice

by Len Jenkin

A World Premiere

Directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens

Preview Performances 9/13 and 9/14

Opening Night Saturday 9/15/18

In Performance 9/13/18-10/7/18

Wed. through Sat. at 7:30 pm and Sun. matinees at 2pm.

How is it That We Live or Shakey Jake + Alice traces the arc of the lives of two lovers through the years, from the first kiss to the last goodbye and everything in between. On the road, in an indelible American landscape, Shakey Jake + Alice launch themselves on a poetic quest as they dance to the end of love. Longtime Undermain collaborator Len Jenkin explores the psyches of life-long partners to answer the question, "How is it that we live?"

"Len Jenkin...not only has a vivid imagination but he also has an artist's command of his craft... he is a shrewdly observant portraitist." ~The New York Times

"Len Jenkin is a master of the funny-house, mythic, quintessentially American landscape." ~The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama

"In his plays, Len Jenkin takes us on dark midnight rides to mythic environments, leading us through a stretch of the American landscape tantalizing our senses and creating a haunting world." ~Mel Gussow

A hero of the avant-garde and Undermain company member Len Jenkin returns to Undermain following a long line of acclaimed award-winning productions of Jenkin's plays such as Jonah, Margo Veil, Port Twilight, Time in Kafka, Abraham Zobell's Home Movie: Final Reel and Poor Folks Pleasure. Len Jenkin's credentials and awards include three Obie Awards for directing and playwriting, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sundance Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, a nomination for an Emmy Award, four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a PhD in literature from Columbia University. His stage plays have been produced throughout the United States, as well as in England, Germany, France, Denmark, and Japan. In New York his plays have been produced at Lincoln Center, Soho Rep, The Flea, The Chocolate Factory, The Public Theater and many others.

Henrik Ibsen

The Lady From the Sea

by Henrik Ibsen

A Dallas Premiere

Directed by Undermain Company Member Blake Hackler

Preview Performances 11/8 and 11/9

Opening Night Saturday 11/10/18

In Performance 11/8/18 - 12/2/18

Wed. through Sat. at 7:30 pm and Sun. matinees at 2pm.

There will be no performance on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22.

Undermain returns to the Classics with Ibsen's rarely seen drama, The Lady From the Sea. Ellida, a lighthouse-keeper's daughter, is trapped on an island in her marriage and longs for the sea. The conflict in the mermaid-like Ellida Wangel is between her duty to her devoted husband and her attraction to a mysterious, seagoing stranger from her past. Her duty to convention takes second place to an otherworldly awareness of more mystical bonds challenging her wedding vows. Written in 1888, years after A Doll's House but before Hedda Gabler, The Lady from the Sea continues Ibsen's exploration of the imbalances of marriage and a woman's need for freedom. It is haunting and delightfully real in its display of this world and the otherworld, with both containing an intoxicating desire to be set free.

Henrik Ibsen (20 March 1828 - 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of realism" and is one of the founders of Modernism in theatre. His major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, Pillars of Society, The Lady from the Sea, Rosmersholm, The Master Builder, and John Gabriel Borkman. He is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare, and by the early 20th century A Doll's House became the world's most performed play. Ibsen wrote his plays in Danish (the common written language of Denmark and Norway) and they were published by the Danish publisher Gyldendal. Although most of his plays are set in Norway-often in places reminiscent of Skien, the port town where he grew up-Ibsen lived for 27 years in Italy and Germany, and rarely visited Norway during his most productive years. Born into a merchant family connected to the patriciate of Skien, Ibsen shaped his dramas according to his family background. He was the father of Prime Minister Sigurd Ibsen. Ibsen's dramas continue in their influence upon contemporary culture and film.

An Iliad

by Lisa Peterson & Denis O’Hare

Adapted from the Robert Fagles translation of Homer

Directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens

Opening Night Thursday 2/7/19

In Performance 2/7/19 – 3/3/19

Wed. through Sat. at 7:30 pm and Sun. matinees at 2pm.

In the spirit of celebration of 35 years of cutting edge performance, Undermain establishes its repertory series To honor the gems of its production history,  with a reboot of AN ILIAD, and reviving this landmark production from 2012 starring Bruce DuBose and Paul Semrad and directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens. An Iliadis a modern-day retelling of Homer's classic. Poetry and humor, the ancient tale of the Trojan War and the modern world collide in this captivating theatrical experience. The setting is simple: the empty theater. The time is now: the present moment. The lone figure onstage is a storyteller—possibly Homer, possibly one of the many bards who followed in his footsteps. He is fated to tell this story throughout history.

Lisa Peterson is an American freelance director.  She developed and directed An Iliadat Seattle Rep and throughout its transfers to The McCarter Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop.  A graduate of Yale in 1983, Lisa soon became the casting director at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. Eventually she was invited to join their company where she began directing new work as part of the theatre’s annual one-act marathon. Developing new work became her passion and her musical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s The Waveswith David Bucknam was her first big break in New York.  She would go on to win an Obie award for her production of Caryl Churchill’s Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.  In the early 1990’s Peterson took up positions with La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where she continued to develop new playwriting in the Regional Theatre scene.  Currently one of America’s best-regarded freelance directors, Peterson has directed world premieres and classics throughout the country, including The Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Arena Stage.


Denis O’Hare is a Tony Award-winning Irish American actor.  An Iliadis his debut as a writer for theater, although he studied poetry under Alan Shapiro while pursuing a degree in acting at Northwestern.  O’Hare has appeared in many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, winning a Tony in 2003 for his role in Take Me Outand nominated for a Tony for playing Charles J. Guiteau in Assasinsby Stephen Sondheim.  O’Hare played The Baker in Central Park as part of The Public Theatre’s production of Sondheim’s Into The Woods.  O’Hare is also an acclaimed TV and film actor.  He appeared in J. EdgarThe Proposal, and MilkTrue Bloodfor HBO, and American Horror Storyon FX for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie in 2012.

so go the ghosts of méxico, part three

by Matthew Paul Olmos 

A World Premiere

The centerpiece production of the Whither Goest Thou America Festival

Directed by Undermain Artistic Director Katherine Owens

Preview Performance Friday, 4/12/19 

Opening Night Saturday 4/13/19

In Performance4/12/19 – 5/5/19

Fri. and Sat. at 7:30 pm and Sun. matinees at 2pm.

so go the ghosts of méxico, part three will be the centerpiece production of the Whither Goest Thou America Festival. The final installment in this three-play cycle exploring the U.S./México drug wars. A young Mexican couple get caught up in the web of the drug trade between the two countries, changing their lives forever. But is their ordeal what it seems or a mirage of disinformation created by unseen forces? Somewhere between truth and illusion a mother from Mexico searches for her missing daughter. The third part of Matthew Paul Olmos’s daring and poetic trilogy explores the human struggle of the US/Mexico drug wars and the shadowy forces which create the market and distribution system shaping the world on both sides of the border


Matthew Paul Olmos was born and raised in Los Angeles to a police officer and Labor/Delivery nurse. He is a three-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient (2014 Lab, 2013 UCROSS, 2009 Time Warner Storytelling Fellow), New Dramatists Resident Playwright, the 2012 Princess Grace Awardee in Playwriting and was recently named by Sam Shepard as the inaugural recipient of the La MaMa e.t.c.'s Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award. Mr. Olmos is a 2013-14 Dramatists Guild Fellow, a 2012-13 New York Theatre Workshop fellow; Primary Stages Writer's Group, Ensemble Studio Theater lifetime member; and has been a terraNOVA Groundbreaker Playwright, Rising Circle Playwright, INTAR Theater H.P.R.L Writer and Brooklyn Arts Exchange Resident Artist. Mr. Olmos was a two-time Resident Artist at Mabou Mines/Suite (mentored by Ruth Maleczech); awarded the “Top Prize of the Americas” by the BBC 2011 International Playwriting Competition for his play The Nature of Captivity. Awarded the Sundance Institute Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship for his play i put the fear of méxico in ‘em; produced in Chicago by Teatro Vista in 2012; it was also on the syllabus at a Rutger’s University undergraduate course. Mr. Olmos’s 3-play cycle so go the ghosts of méxico, focuses on the US/México drug wars. The first play in this cycle was produced by La MaMa E.T.C. in the spring of 2013 and has since premiered in México. Undermain produced the first part of the trilogy in its 2016/2017 season and produced the world premiere of part two last season.


Whither Goest Thou America: a Festival

New American Play Readings


The Reading Series runs from April 10ththrough May 2, 2019

With Readings performed every Wed. and Thurs. at 7:30

Undermain presents a series of readings of new plays examining the American Landscape. Each week of the series will focus on a different playwright and play with staged readings by an ensemble cast. Audiences will have the opportunity to return each week of the series to experience a new work examining the American experience and asking the question, “Where are we going?” 

Play titles will be announced during the season.



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