The UCSB Department of Theater and Dance Present BERNHARD

The UC Santa Barbara Department of Theater and Dance and LAUNCH PAD present a workshop of a brand new play, Bernhard, by Lynn Rosen. A provocative new piece inspired by the current refugee crisis and political trends across the globe, as well as the compelling life of Austrian author Thomas Bernhard, opens on November 4 and runs through November 13 at the UCSB Performing Arts Theater.

Bernhard is a dark comedy about one young man's unpredictable and harrowing journey to find his mother during war time, and the challenges he must overcome, not only to survive, but to retain the qualities that make us human: faith, hope, and an ability to love. The director of the piece Anne Torsiglieri says, "Although the play is loosely based on the early life of Thomas Bernhard, who endured the Second World War, this story of the survival and resiliency of the human spirit is timeless. The play could be taking place anywhere war is possible, now, in the past, or in the future. The challenges of remaining hopeful and connected with the world, rather then succumbing to fear, despair, xenophobia, and hatred is a challenge all of us face every day even in the best of times. And the intimacy of UCSB's Performing Arts Theater promises an immersive and visceral theatrical experience."

UCSB's LAUNCH PAD program brings an established playwright to campus and allows them to develop a brand new play during the rehearsal process, culminating in a fully designed workshop production. The term "workshop" in this sense means that the playwright and director have the ability to change and improve the play and the production throughout its run, even until the very last show has previewed. This process is invaluable for the playwright who gets to learn about what works and what doesn't, determining which scenes are the most engaging and successful in telling her story. Many playwrights do not get this opportunity to see early drafts of their works under lights, music, and costumes, and LAUNCH PAD offers them this unique opportunity. Since its inception in 2005, LAUNCH PAD had produced a series of plays by distinguished authors such as, James Still, Idris Goodwin, and Alison Tatlock. Several works such as, Appoggiatura, Kingdom City, The Talented Ones and Melancholy Play have gone on to see world premieres and be produced all over the country.

This year's playwright, Lynn Rosen is a resident playwright at New Dramatists in New York City. Her plays have been produced or developed with: TheatreWorks (Silicon Valley), Women's Project, Centerstage (Baltimore), Working Theater, Barrington Stage, The New Group, The New Harmony Project, Red Bull Theatre, and The 52nd Project, to name a few. Lynn co-writes and co-created the award-winning comedic web series Darwin, which was named one of the "Top Ten Best Web Series of 2015" by Paste Magazine.

Rosen's new play, Bernhard, is under the direction of UCSB Associate Professor Anne Torsiglieri who previously directed Top Girls and Cloud Nine at UCSB. Anne is a graduate of Princeton University and the Juilliard School and was an actor in New York City, performing on and off Broadway before joining UCSB's faculty.

Torsiglieri's cast of 11 is all a part of UCSB's BFA acting program. They not only act in this very funny piece but also utilize their various musical talents, singing, dancing, and playing live instruments to help shape the world of the play. The music is composed by James Connolly, winner of the Independent Award for his last work on UCSB's production The Death of Kings. The instruments in the show range from ukulele and electric guitar to kalimba and bass drum.

Join us as we delve into a world of war, survival, vermin, love and most of all, comedy. As our protagonist works his way through his sufferings, his sarcasm and dark humor are what propel him through those impossible times. Go online at www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu for tickets and further show information.

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