World Premiere of MAGELLANICA Comes to Artists Rep, 1/20
Artists Rep presents the World Premiere of Magellanica, by E.M. Lewis, directed by Dámaso Rodríguez from January 20 through February 18 on the theatre's Morrison Stage. Magellanica is a five-part epic play written by Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis. This production is made possible through major funding from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) Creative Heights Initiative and the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. Magellanica is a part of Portland's Fertile Ground Festival of New Works.
In 1986, scientists and engineers from around the world converge at the South Pole Research Station to figure out, among other things, if there really is a hole in the sky. In the darkest, coldest, most dangerous place on Earth, eight imperfect souls are trapped together. Utterly isolated from the outside world for eight and a half months, this research team must face life or death challenges, their own inner demons and depend upon each other for survival.
With epic scope in the tradition of The Kentucky Cycle or Angels in America, this play takes its inspiration from the true story of the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer at the height of the Cold War. Part historical adventure, part love story and mystical foray into the unknown, Lewis has constructed a demanding, five-part epic that tackles issues of political, social and scientific urgency on a global scale. As Lewis says, "It has scientists as heroes. It's about the importance of truth. It's about a world that can either tear apart or come together for its own survival."
"Magellanica falls into that rare category of plays that becomes more relevant with each news cycle," says Artistic Director and Director of the production Dámaso Rodríguez, "the play grips you from its first moment and the five acts fly by. A piece of this magnitude doesn't get produced every day, and requires in-depth exploration from all sides."
Artists Rep is committed to premiering this piece because of its timely importance as tensions mount between the United States and Russia, the clock ticks on the warming planet and divisions widen between cultures. It's a vital story for today and an extraordinary excursion for audiences to the ends of the Earth.
Artists Rep received two major gifts in support of the World Premiere production of Magellanica. The Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights Initiative awarded the company $75,000 and the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards awarded $44,000 through the Theatre Communications Group.
The scale and complexity of the piece required that Artists Rep seek special "risk capital" for Magellanica, above and beyond the theatre's typical contributed income. While the play has received developmental work at multiple theatres, no theatre has taken on the challenge of producing it. With a play that extends past the five hour mark and includes a large cast working in multiple languages, Magellanica needed three additional weeks of rehearsal. The technical and aesthetic demands of the design and the narrative structure also add complexity and expense. The Edgerton Foundation funded the additional rehearsal weeks, and OCF's Creative Heights Award funded the increased production expense and covers some of the risk the theatre is taking on earned income, as the play's length dictates a shortened run and fewer performances than a typical play would receive.
Over the last 11 years, the Edgerton Foundation has supported an extended rehearsal process for 385 World Premiere productions. Through this support, many plays have scheduled numerous subsequent productions, with 27 making it to Broadway. Fifteen plays were nominated for Tony Awards, with All the Way, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo winning the best play or musical awards. Nine plays have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with Next to Normal winning in 2010, Water by the Spoonful in 2012, The Flick winning in 2014, and Hamilton winning in 2016.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
E. M. LEWIS is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and is published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, an L.A. Weekly Award for Production of the Year, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. Her play Now Comes the Night was part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival in Washington DC, and was published in the anthology Best Plays from Theater Festivals 2016. The Gun Show premiered in Chicago in 2014, and has since been produced in more than a dozen theatres across the country, including Coho Theatre in Portland, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; it was published in The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016. Other plays by Lewis include: Infinite Black Suitcase, Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, Reading to Vegetables, True Story, Apple Season, and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center). In 2018, Lewis' epic Antarctica play, Magellanica, will have its World Premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland. How the Light Gets In will have a reading in the Fertile Ground Festival. Song of Extinction will have a reading at the Portland Civic Theater Guild. And Lewis will spend five weeks in residence at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, teaching playwriting and working with students on the workshop production of a big, new political play set in her home state of Oregon called The Great Divide. In addition, Lewis will premiere Town Hall, a new opera written with composer Theo Popov, at the University of Maryland Opera Studio in February, and continue to work on a full-length, family-friendly opera, written with composer Evan Meier, commissioned by American Lyric Theater, called Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant. Lewis is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
DÁMASO RODRÍGUEZ is in his fifth year as Artistic Director of Artists Repertory Theatre. In 2001 he co-founded the Los Angeles-based Furious Theatre Company, where he served as Co-Artistic Director until 2012. From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. His directing credits include work at Artists Rep, Playwrights' Center, The Pasadena Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre@Boston Court, Naked Angels and Furious Theatre. Rodriguez is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award and the Pasadena Arts Council's Gold Crown Award. His productions have been nominated for multiple LA Weekly Theatre Awards and LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. In 2012, Rodriguez was honored by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation as a Finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Directing credits at Artists Rep include the World Premiere musical Cuba Libre by Carlos Lacámara featuring the music of three-time Grammy-nominated band Tiempo Libre; the Portland premieres of Stephen Karam's The Humans, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon (co-director), Nick Jones' Trevor, David Ives' adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Liar, Nina Raine's Tribes and Exiles by Carlos Lacámara; the U.S. premiere of Dawn King's Foxfinder; the West Coast premieres of Charise Castro Smith's Feathers and Teeth, Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys and Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; and revivals of The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, The Miracle Worker by William Gibson and The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge. Credits at other theatres include productions by contemporary and classic playwrights including Craig Wright, Neil LaBute, Matt Pelfrey, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Richard Bean, Owen McCafferty, Alex Jones, William Shakespeare, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, Bernard Shaw, Clifford Odets and Lillian Hellman. Upcoming directing projects for Rodríguez are Magellanica by E.M. Lewis at Artists Rep, Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and We, the Invisibles by Susan Soon He Stanton at Actors Theatre of Louisville. www.damaso-rodriguez.com/
By E.M. Lewis
Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez
Vin Shambry*^ as Captain Adam Burrell | Intimate Apparel, Superior Donuts (Artists Rep), The Gun Show (CoHo Theatre, international tour)
John San Nicolas*^ as Freddie De La Rosa | An Octoroon, The Talented Ones, Trevor (Artists Rep)
Michael Mendelson*^ as Dr. Vadik Chapayev |An Octoroon, Marjorie Prime, Mothers and Son (Artists Rep)
Sara Hennessy* as Dr. Morgan Halsted | Caught, Feathers and Teeth, Cuba Libre (Artists Rep)
Allen Nause*^ as Dr. Todor Kozlek | The Big Meal, The Gin Game, No Man's Land (Artists Rep)
Joshua J. Weinstein*^ as Dr. William Huffington | We Are Proud to Present..., Tribes, Foxfinder (Artists Rep)
Barbie Wu+ as Dr. May Zhou | The Mermaid Hour (Milagro Theatre), Mother Courage (Oregon Contemporary Theatre), Slavs! (Southern Methodist University)
Artists Repertory Theatre's mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for artists and audiences of varied backgrounds to take creative risks. Artists Rep is Portland's premiere mid-size regional theatre company and is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez and Managing Director Sarah Horton. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. Artists Rep became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN).
Artists Rep's 2017/18 season of play selections for the company's 35th anniversary season can be found here.
Artists Rep offers the second year of their groundbreaking Frontier Series which presents internationally acclaimed artists who are reimagining how theatre is created and shared. The 2017/18 series features three bold new works: They, Themself and Schmerm by Becca Blackwell (New York), The Holler Sessions by Frank Boyd (Seattle) and White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour (Iran). These are limited, one weekend engagements, offering Portland audiences access to fresh touring performances from around the world. The Frontier Series is curated by Jerry Tischleder, Artists Rep ArtsHub Director and Artistic Director of Risk/Reward Festival.
Artists Rep has become a significant presence in American Regional Theatre with a legacy of world, national and regional premieres of provocative new work with the highest standards of stagecraft. The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of Resident Artists, professionals of varied theatre disciplines, who are a driving force behind Artists Rep's creative output and identity.
Artists Rep is committed to developing new work through its new play development program Table|Room|Stage. With T|R|S, Artists Rep strives to empower and support Oregon-based playwrights while also creating a Portland home for writers from around the country to develop their work. Additionally, this program strives to make a meaningful impact on diversity, equity and inclusion in the theatre field by mandating opportunities for women writers and writers of color, and cultivating the next generation of theatre- goers by creating work specifically for young people (13 and up). Artists Rep makes a vital impact on the Portland arts community with its ArtsHub, creating space and offering a home to 12 multidisciplinary arts organizations within its facility.
RESIDENT ARTISTS - Artists Rep productions feature the work of a core group of over two dozen multidisciplinary theatre professionals. Hailing from around the country, our Resident Artists are nationally renowned and award-winning actors, directors, writers, designers and educators who have chosen to make Portland and Artists Rep their artistic home. Working together and independently, they create inventive and theatrically rich experiences for our audiences while playing a major role in defining Portland's cultural landscape.
TABLE|ROOM|STAGE - Established in 2015, Table|Room|Stage (T|R|S) is Artists Rep's robust new play program that offers development opportunities for local and national playwrights, and ensures that underrepresented voices are heard on stage. With this program, Artists Rep is committed to bringing the work of exciting women, transgender and non-binary writers and writers of color to its stages. Artists Rep's first completed T|R|S commission was The Talented Ones, by Yussef El Guindi. They will produce Larissa Fasthorse's The Thanksgiving Play as part of their regular season in April. Current playwright commissions include: Linda Alper, Larissa Fasthorse, Hansol Jung, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Rathje and Andrea Stolowitz. The works created by these writers through T|R|S will establish Artists Rep and Portland as an engine for new play development and will enrich the national new play landscape. To learn more about all the projects, playwrights and programs of Table|Room|Stage visit here.
ARTSHUB - Artists Rep is also home to the growing ArtsHub, where 12 arts organizations find a home in the building. A diverse range of artists and arts organizations can thrive here with access to affordable administrative, performance and rehearsal space, as well as a myriad of support services. The ArtsHub serves as a community arts center, where its performance venues and lobbies buzz with creative energy and Portland's arts-loving audiences can gather. Over the last year, more than 500 performances, events and happenings by Portlanders found a place in Artists Rep's building. To learn about the arts organizations Artists Rep's ArtsHub visit here.
The 2017/18 Artists Repertory Theatre season is presented by Ronni Lacroute, David & Christine Vernier, and The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation. Other season support comes from The Collins Foundation, The Renaissance Foundation, Regional Arts Culture Council, Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and Work for Art and Media Sponsor The Oregonian. Magellanica is the recipient of a 2017 Edgerton New Play Award and an Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights grant with additional support from show sponsors the Kinsman Foundation, Steve Fenwick & Martha Wilson and Karl & Linda Boekelheide.