ALICE'S WONDERLAND, MACHINAL, WOKE! and More Coming to California Rep in 2017-18

ALICE'S WONDERLAND, MACHINAL, WOKE! and More Coming to California Rep in 2017-18

California Repertory Company announces productions for the 2017-2018 season. The season highlights stories of resistance and reinvention: resistance to the oppressing effects of misogyny, economic disparity and autocracy; and reinvention of the self through the power of storytelling and imagination.

Artistic Director Jeff Janisheski said, "This season we are changing the direction of our theatre. We want to be a laboratory for our students to explore new ways of making work; and to realize our namesake Cal Rep, by being committed to California - addressing issues that are urgent to our local and regional communities and producing work by Californian artists."

With adaptations of classics, modern plays, and devised works, nine of these projects were written by women, and eight are by writers based in California. Cal Rep's new initiative, Devising Democracy, is the beginning of a four-year project "to tackle the crucial issues facing our nation...Devising is about creating a democratic space - in the rehearsal room and in our world," said Janisheski.

Devising Democracy launches this year with two projects: WOKE! A Revolutionary Cabaret and The Dreamers: Aquí y Allá.


Written and Directed by Ezra LeBank

September 22 - October 1

Studio Theatre

"Curiouser and Curiouser"

In Alice's Wonderland Ezra LeBank re-imagines Lewis Carroll's classic story as a whimsical journey into the curious universe of Alice's imagination. In this new adaptation, six actors transform into long hallways, mad hatters, and mythical characters that Alice uses to make sense of the world and herself. A wild adventure filled with high-energy and high-flying, Alice's Wonderland uses LeBank's trademark style of acrobatic theater seen in Flight (nominated for "Best Show" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a hit at New York's Fringe Festival). Alice's Wonderland will captivate children and adults alike!


by Sophie Treadwell

Directed by Julianne Just

October 13 - October 21

University Theatre

"You'll submit, my lady. Right to the end, you'll submit."

Sophie Treadwell's classic Machinal is a powerful drama that explores the deeply corrosive effects of misogyny in America. Machinal tells the story of Helen, a young woman who feels that every decision she makes merely moves her from one cage to another. This social imprisonment forces Helen to confront the question, is there any place a woman can truly be free? Directed by Julianne Just, co-artistic director of The Speakeasy Society, Machinal rings startlingly true for our times.


Devised by The Ensemble

Directed by JoAnne Gordon

November 3 - November 12

Studio Theatre

"When the dark times come, we will sing about the dark times."

An original cabaret devised by JoAnne Gordon in collaboration with Alexandra Billings (co-star of Amazon's Emmy Award-winning show Transparent) and an ensemble of over 20 students, WOKE!: A Revolutionary Cabaret promises to be an explosion of music, movement, and expression. 2016 forced America to face realities of racism, gender bias, LGBTQ rights, climate change, and class warfare. WOKE! engages these issues through hip hop, spoken word and songs that call our community to activism!


By Naomi Iizuka

Directed by Eric Hoff

November 17 - December 2

University Theatre

"All these stories and lies add up to something like the truth"

In this contemporary collage of classical mythology and real life stories of street kids, Naomi Iizuka's Polaroid Stories weaves a world where myth-making and storytelling equip the characters to transform their reality and survive a system that erases and ignores them. Polaroid Stories mixes poetry and profanity to tell a kaleidoscopic tale of young people living on the streets that asks us to contemplate the myths we create about ourselves. Directed by Eric Hoff, recent director at the Humana Festival at The Actors Theatre of Louisville, this production is a visceral and theatrical journey into the underbelly of street youth culture.


Written and Performed by Andrea Caban

Directed by Amanda McRaven

A special event in partnership with the ALS Association's Golden West Chapter

December 10

Studio Theatre

"I've tried to use this voice, it's just hard to use it? And it's my old voice... without me. I left it behind."

The Voice Bank tells the story of Terry, a woman who defies her ALS diagnosis to fight for the privilege to keep speaking. Andrea Caban plays both herself and Terry, struggling to manage Terry's deteriorating speech through voice and accent training. Caban is not only faced with her patient's adverse medical diagnosis but also the mounting fear that she might lose her own mother. The Voice Bank is a meditation on letting go.

Please visit for details.


Devised by The Ensemble

Directed by Andrea Caban and Julie Granata-Hunicutt

February 16 - February 25

University Theatre

"It would be a shame if the country we love turned its back on us now."

The Dreamers are students and adults without legal status who were brought into America by their parents as children. The story of their journeys and their fight to call America home is told in this production devised in collaboration with the California- Mexico Studies Center. Featuring testimonials and interviews from DACA students and community members, these stories of personal struggle invite the question, who gets to dream the American Dream?


By Jackie Sibblies Drury

Directed by Chris Anthony

March 9 - March 17

University Theatre

"We need to stay in it, and move..."

Six actors work to create a presentation about a little-known genocide in Africa. As they seek the story behind the facts, questions emerge: What is the story, exactly? Who are the people inside it? Who gets to tell it? As histories converge and lines get blurry, the artistic exploration gives way to...something else; leaving yet another question: can we ever escape our own story?


By Paula Cizmar

Directed by Jeff Janisheski

March 23 - April 8

Studio Theatre

"How far back do we have to go to see who was right in a thousand-year-old war?

Thebes is now a ruin surrounded by refugee camps. Police violence, terrorists, predators, demagogues abound. This contemporary meditation on love, power and war is based Sophocles' classic drama of oppositional ethics. In this multi-media adaptation, LA-based writer Paula Cizmar poses a question that has lingered for two thousand years: who will dare defy authoritarian rule and follow the higher laws of love and decency?


By Deborah Zoe Laufer

Directed by Beth Lopes

April 26 - May 12

Studio Theatre

"Could we just give up on me for eternity. I'm a lost cause for eternity. But could I be with you now?"

This award-winning play is centered on sixteen-year-old goth atheist Rachel Stein and the wacky universe of people in her orbit: her mother is busily awaiting the Rapture; her father hasn't changed out of his pajamas since 9/11; her new neighbor is an Elvis impersonator who has a crush on her; on top of all that the Apocalypse is approaching. Will Stephen Hawking be the one to save them all?

Opening the Cal Rep's 2017-2018 season is Head of Movement and Assistant professor at CSULB Theater Arts, Ezra LeBank directing a movement adaptation of ALICE'S WONDERLAND, in which he uses his trademark style of high-energy, acrobatic theatre seen in acclaimed shows such as Flight (nominated for "Best Show" at the 2015 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival and a hit at New York's Fringe Festival). Co-Artistic Director of the Speakeasy Society, and Opera and Theater Director Julianne Just accentuates the classic 1920s American piece, MACHINAL, with subtle and relevant modernity. Award winning director JoAnne Gordon, will present WOKE!: A REVOLUTIONARY CABARET. Dr. Gordon and Alexandra Billings team up again - fresh from their hit run of S/He & Me at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Eric Hoff, a lecturer at UCLA, critically acclaimed director in LA, New York, Chicago and most recently at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, will direct POLAROID STORIES. Returning director of the wildly successful She Kills Monsters, New Zealand born Theater-Maker and Educator Amanda McRaven will direct Andrea Caban in the THE VOICE BANK.

The same Andrea Caban, head of Voice and Speech at CSULB Theater Arts, will join Julia Granata-Hunicutt, an educator and performer with more than 18 years of experience with regional theaters across the county, to co-direct a critically important piece about immigrants with DACA status: THE DREAMERS: AQUÍ Y ALLÁ. Former Associate Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Chris Anthony will direct WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT... a director, teacher, actor, and administrator, Chris was recognized by the President's Committee for the Arts and the Humanities for her achievements as a teaching artist. Cal Rep Artistic Director Jeff Janisheski has directed and taught across the world, including work as the Head of Acting at Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and as the Artistic Director of the National Theater Institute (NTI) at the Tony Award-winning Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Connecticut. In the spring he will direct ANTIGONE X, a modern adaptation of Sophocles classic story. LA based freelance director and teacher Beth Lopes, whose work includes Grand Concourse at Theatre Horizon, Nicky at the Couerage Theatre Company, and Atlas Pit at the LA New Court Theatre, will direct the hilarious, blasphemous comedy, END DAYS.

General Admission tickets are $20, tickets for students are $15, and for military and seniors (55 and older) are $17; go to, to buy tickets and find out more information. The University Theatre is attached to the north side of the Theatre Arts Building while the Studio Theatre and Players Theatre are inside the Theatre Arts Building on the CSULB South Campus, accessible via 7th Street and West Campus Drive.

Now in its 29th Season, California Repertory Company (Cal Rep) is the producing arm of the Theatre Arts Department at CSULB. Over the past three decades, Cal Rep has a history of creating new work, devised theatre and adaptations of classics. As its name suggests, Cal Rep is centered on:

· California: creating work for and by Californians - addressing issues that are urgent to our local and regional communities and producing work by Californian artists.

· Repertory: developing new work, new voices and new repertoires of plays - especially work by underrepresented writers and artists.

· Company: being a company of artists dedicated to art that asks questions, inspires action and promotes the next generation of theatre artists.

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