CONSTELLATIONS, 'LINES' and More Set for Theatre LILA's 2017-18 Season
Theatre LILA will present two mainstage shows and dozens of student theatre workshops in its upcoming season, telling moving, personal stories in innovative ways.
"We're very excited about our fourth season in Madison," said Artistic Director Jessica Lanius, who co-founded the company in New York City in 2004. "It's a landmark year for us-we're building on our previous successes in education and creating new work, and we're striking out in new directions with the Wisconsin premiere of a play from an important young playwright." Theatre LILA will also continue to present work in two beautiful venues in Madison-the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin campus and Overture Center for the Arts.
Theatre LILA's first production will be Constellations, by Nick Payne, opening January 26 in the Fredric March Play Circle. Directed by Tyler Marchant, the script explores the multiple paths available to one couple, and the different relationships they might have on different planes of space and time. The two-person play will feature actors Marcus Truschinski and Andrea San Miguel.
Marchant commented, "I think fundamentally, I'm most excited about working with the actors on this very challenging script," he said. "The play has a lot of raw emotion, and it fits really magically into this theatrical world where the audience gets to learn how to watch the show." He continued, "I am most attracted to plays that invite an audience to meet the play halfway with their imagination."
The second show of the season will be a devised piece, similar to previous, critically acclaimed Theatre LILA productions Suitcase Dreams, Trash, and The BED. "Our mission is to create inventive new works and bring theatre to life in unexpected forms," Lanius explained. "In addition, we try to build bridges with our productions by collaborating with diverse artists to promote cultural exchange," she said.
In keeping with that mission, Lanius is looking forward to the world premiere of LINES: A Theatre LILA Invention, which she believes will be important catalyst for encouraging compassion, empathy, and understanding.
LINES co-writer and director Melisa Pereyra began working with Lanius on this project last spring, when they organized a writers' retreat for women of color in Spring Green. "At first, the goal was not to write a play," Pereyra said, "but to merely create a space where we could come together to create content that reflected our experiences on both an individual level and within a larger society."
After months of writing, editing, and revising the script in concert with Olivia Dawson, Pereyra is excited to see the work take shape. She commented, "The subjects we address in our writing go back directly to the subject of lines; lines within us, lines we make ourselves, lines that are made for us by others, lines that are made for us by the system." A Core Company member at American Players Theatre, Pereyra admits that, "this will be the first project that has pushed me out of the comfort zone-acting onstage-and into the world of playwriting and directing."
Additional information and links to purchase tickets for both productions are available at Theatre LILA's website, theatrelila.com.
Theatre LILA invites area middle school and high school teachers to bring their students to matinee performances of each production, through a low cost ticket program ($10 per student). After each show Lanius will lead an educational talk-back with the actors to extend the learning beyond the stage. For more information or to reserve tickets, teachers are invited to contact Theatre LILA via the company's website.
Theatre LILA will also present a public performance of The Whoopensocker Show! in May, 2018, as the culmination of several arts residencies with local elementary schools.
Constellations by Nick Payne
January 26-February 4, 2018
Memorial Union Theater/Fredric March Play Circle
Tickets on sale now: theatrelila.com | Adults-$35, Students-$20
What if one moment-or one word-shifted the universe, altering your whole life? Walk into the world of Constellations where metaphysics and love intermingle. Through a dizzying series of vignettes, an intimate and imaginative romance unfolds across time and space, charting the limitless possibilities of a single relationship.
Director Tyler Marchant says he was drawn to the project because it's all about choices. "What we say and what we do matters in our personal relationships. This play explores a variety of choices that can be made within a moment-some will alter everything that comes after."
He continued, "I hope that audiences see this production and think of how their lives are playing out, consider other paths that they might have taken, and ultimately look at themselves with more empathy." He smiled, "Maybe some audience members will even consider new paths that they may try in the future."
Constellations will feature actors Marcus Truschinski and Andrea San Miguel.
Marcus Truschinski is a core company member at American Players Theatre, and has been seen there recently in A Flea in Her Ear, Pericles, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Creditors. Past favorite roles include: Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Henry Carr in Travesties, Chris Keller in All My Sons, Tony Cavendish in The Royal Family and Jim O'Connor in The Glass Menagerie. He has also appeared with the Milwaukee Rep and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
Andrea San Miguel spent the summer at American Players Theatre in A Flea in Her Ear, Pericles, and The Maids. Based in Chicago, other recent credits include: Chicago Shakespeare's Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet. Other favorites include: Emily in Our Town (Theater Latté Da), and Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks) where she has toured three seasons. Andrea graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program.
LINES: A Theatre LILA Invention
April 20-29, 2018
Overture Center for the Arts
Tickets on sale now: overturecenter.org or (608) 258-4141 | Adults-$35, Students-$20
Theatre LILA commissioned five female playwrights of color to create fierce, honest portrayals of the lines in their lives-that separate and connect; that need to be crossed, erased, and drawn again; that are invisible and in-between. LINES celebrates a diverse cross-section of women, whose stories will provoke and inspire.
Director and writer Melisa Pereyra explains, "Our final product will definitely be a little bit of everything; monologues, movement pieces, spoken word poetry and scenes. And obviously physical storytelling will be a huge part of the performance." Pereyra will collaborate with Theatre LILA Artistic Director Jessica Lanius and AJ Juarez on the movement vocabulary of the piece.
Pereyra continued, "I am excited to collaborate with some truly remarkable women making theatre that is socially conscious and includes a wide variety of perspectives. So far, our conversations have been rich, nuanced and necessary. Above all, I am excited to create a platform where women of color can tell their own stories."
The Whoopensocker Show!
May, 2018 Overture Center for the Arts
We're bringing kids' extraordinary imaginations out of the classroom and onto the stage!
In partnership with the UW School of Education, Theatre LILA will work with more than 200 third and fourth graders in the Madison Metropolitan School District over the course of the academic year, exploring a creative writing, storytelling, improvisation, and theatre. Then in May, the entire community is invited to The Whoopensocker Show, an evening of hilarious, thought-provoking plays written by students during the residency and performed by professional actors. Don't miss it!
Theatre LILA challenges the audience's experience of theatre by integrating the "360° actor"- the physical, intellectual, psychological, and emotional instrument - in a fusion of drama, dance, music, and sound to create a total performance experience. For more information, visit theatrelila.com.