Recent Productions

2018-2019 Season

The Arsonists

By Max Frisch in a new translation by Alistair Beaton

Directed by Barbra Berlovitz

A man with convictions finds an answer for everything. Convictions are the best form of protection against the living truth.

– Max Frisch

In an unspecified town, houses are set ablaze and arsonists are enjoying the destruction.  At Beidermann’s house, two such people are offered shelter from the rain.  They are given a place to sleep, wined and dined until they finally leave.  The house, of course, burns to the ground.

 

This topical dark comedy is funny, musical and outrageous. The “hero” is a business owner who has just ruthlessly fired a longtime employee. He lives with his wife and maid who are powerless to make this self-centered man see the truth.  There are two arsonists, one a trickster who deceives others to get what he wants, the other is his sidekick, an ex-wrestler.  Both are dangerous.  There is an academic who has ideas but doesn’t act on them and a policeman who could save the day but doesn’t. Finally, there is the chorus of firemen.  And like the Greek chorus of ancient Greece, they sing their way through the story but, alas, effect no change.

 

Mud

By María Irene Fornés

Directed by Lauren Syme

 

In Maria Irene Fornes’ play Mud, Mae, a strong-willed and fiery woman, struggles to free herself from the abusive men who tether her to a dirty and impoverished farm. Her courage and quick wit are her only tools, but will they be enough?

 

Ghost Sonata

By August Strindberg

A Workshop Experiment with Sod House Theater

Sod House Theater is working with students on an experimental and immersive theater event. Using Strindberg’s play Ghost Sonata and research on the journey of Swedish immigrants to St. Paul in the mid-1800s, students are devising original performances and movement sequences. Audience members will promenade through the studio, hallway and greenroom of Foss and encounter intimate performances, historical references of Swedish immigration and character artifacts. The material generated will inform a larger production in fall of 2019 in St. Paul.

 

Pluma and the Tempest

By Arístides Vargas

Translation by Beliza Torres Narváez

Directed by Beliza Torres Narváez

This is a dystopian play in the Latin American tradition of magical realism that tells the story of a youngster of unspecified gender who runs away after being born to a hostile world. They find themselves living in the inner city streets, meeting all kinds of people and facing all kinds of dangers. The kid fights to learn from these experiences and to assert their personhood. Despite being adrift like a feather in a storm, Pluma attempts to preserve their hope and survive.

 

ZERO-INFINITY FLIGHT PATH

Zero Infinity Publicity PhotoBy Jessica Huang

Directed by Ricardo Vázquez

Created by Other Tiger Productions

March 6th through March 8th
Tjornhom-Nelson Theater

ZERO-INFINITY FLIGHT PATH begins at the end of a journey to the top of a mysterious mountain. A girl, her mother, and a guide climb up in order for the girl to enact a sacrifice for the salvation of those at the base. But the closer she gets to completing her journey, the more she begins to question its validity  causing the entire party to contend with crises of doubt and questions of free will.

ZERO-INFINITY FLIGHT PATH is a play that digs into the paradoxes within Systems and Institutions, and the moments when it is critical to listen to the small individual inner voice of truth. It seeks to highlight the dangerous compromises we make daily – the conflicts we face such as listening to a dogmatic group vs. listening to ourselves, following orders vs. following our instincts, and reacting impulsively vs. responding carefully. The play seeks to expose and heal the ways that dogmatic beliefs can create barriers between people.

THE MISUNDERSTANDING

(LE MALENTENDU)

By Albert Camus

Directed by Del Logeais

January 25 through January 28, 2018
Tjornhom-Nelson Theater

A prodigal son returns home unrecognized, having been abroad for twenty years, to an inn run by his mother and sister—who have been killing lodgers in order to make a living for themselves. In an immersive re-imagining of this rarely performed play, described by Camus as the theatrical piece that “resembles him the most,” The Misunderstanding explores concepts of grief, guilt, and the absurdity of existence in a world that is equally cruel to the innocent and the criminal.

THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UIPromotional poster of Arturo UI

By Bertolt Brecht

Directed by Warren Bowles

November 9 through November 19, 2017

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Brecht sets his satirical tale in Chicago during the turbulent times of Depression and Prohibition. Things are not going well for the Cauliflower Trust and so Arturo Ui seizes the opportunity to grasp power. Brecht directly references the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich though his parable is perfect for our modern times.

Promotion poster for show

TAKE CARE

Led by Janaki Ranpura

Showing September 27

Ross Studio Theater 8pm

See something. Say nothing.

Are these phrases an encouragement to mistrust? Perhaps we could take them as instructions for play. A group of students create care packages to leave in public. The results of what happens transform into performance for the showing of “Take Care.”

promotion poster for show

Janaki Ranpura

THE WORLD OF PUPPETRY & MASK

Promotion poster for show

Led by Masanari Kawahara

Showing Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00pm
Green Room in the Foss Center

Giving life to inanimate objects made from cardboard, masking tape, newspapers and papier-mâché, we will create small and intimately-scaled puppet theater. Different forms introduced may include object theater, hand puppets, figure puppets, and doll/bunraku puppets and masks. We will explore creating an intimate theater from scratch inspired by poems, obituaries, or a love letter.

Masanari Kawahara

 

THE CRUCIBLE

BY ARTHUR MILLER

Directed by Darcey Engen

April 4 through April 7 at 7pm
April 8 at 3pm

Bethany Lutheran Church

This contemporary site-specific revision of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will perform at Bethany Lutheran Church on Franklin Avenue close to the Augsburg campus. Audiences will experience the play in close proximity to the actors as they move through the sanctuary and surrounding spaces. In a time of fake news and alternative facts, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a play about the Salem witch trails in colonial Massachusetts 1692, seems more significant then ever. Written by Miller in 1953 in response to McCarthyism, the play examines the dangers of extremism, fabricated accusations, and shattered trust.
Reserve Tickets

 

Cymbeline

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Darcey Engen

October 28th, 29th and November 3rd, 4th, 5th at 7:00 P.M.
October 30th and November 6th at 3:00 P.M.

Cymbeline, one of William Shakespeare’s final plays, is a fantastical fairy tale that swings from comedic heights to tragic despair with an added touch of romance. Taking place during King Cymbeline’s reign in Britain, the play tells the story of Princess Imogen’s romance with the courteous but poor Posthumus, their secret marriage and his consequent banishment. The couple’s journey back to each other involves wagers and poison, hidden identities, long-lost brothers, deceitful villains, a lost bracelet, evil stepmothers, ineffectual fathers, and an invasion by the Roman army.

 

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center


Silence is Health/Silencio es Salud

By Karina Casiano

Directed by Beliza Torres Narvaez

November 17th, 18th, and 19th at 7 P.M.
November 20th at 3 P.M.

Sara is a prominent TV reporter eager to do anything to get high ratings. She is getting married to a well-known intellectual writer, but her picture perfect wedding –which is not as perfect as it seems – is about to take an unexpected turn captured by the cameras. As Sara tries to make sense of what just happened, we get a glimpse of the past events that might have led to her loved ones being targeted. We also get to go forward in time and witness what happened after the wedding. Thus, we learn some of the answers that Sara will most likely never find.

Casiano’s site-specific play Silence is Health/Silencio es Salud is based on official documents, testimonies, historical research and analyses of similar periods of political crisis and the consequent state of surveillance in Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Israel and the United States. How much of your civil and human rights are you willing to give up in the name of “national security”? What if things that only happen “to other people,” or “in other countries” happen to you?

Don’t say you didn’t know…

Various Locations, Foss Center


Betrayal

By Harold Pinter

Student-Directed by Jack Morton

February 2nd, 3rd and 4th at 7 P.M.

Betrayal circles around the complicated relationship of married couple Emma and Robert, and Emma’s affair with Robert’s best friend Jerry. Pinter’s innovative use of reverse chronological order challenges the audience to explore broken trust between partners and friends and the consequences to life’s decisions.

 

Foss Studio Theater, Foss Center


BEYOND THE SILENCE

{a creative collaboration}
Directed by  Malick Ceesay
In collaboration with E.G. Bailey and Shá Cage

February 2nd, 3rd, 4th at 8:30 P.M.

Beyond the Silence is a spoken word piece that is themed around the value of voices in various contexts.  This ensemble-created piece will be an exploration of what it means for voices to be silenced, underrepresented, or neglected in spaces that are valued and found as important for change.  Through poetry and performance, hear the experiences of this group and the power they carry through their voices.”

 

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center


Passing Strange

Book and Lyrics by STEW

Music by STEW and Heidi Rodewald

Directed by Jamil Jude

Thursday, March 30th at 7:00 P.M.
Friday March 31st at 7:00 P.M.
Saturday, April 1st at 7:00 P.M.
Sunday, April 2nd at 3:00 P.M.

Saturday April 8th at 3:00 P.M.
Saturday April 8th at 7:00 P.M.
Sunday  April 9th at 3:00 P.M.

Part comedy. Part coming-of-age story. Full-out rock concert! PASSING STRANGE, a Tony award-winning musical, is a genre-bending exploration of an artist’s journey to find life’s truths. The story follows Youth, a young Black man raised in the idyllic hills of California, as he passes through life, learning about himself and the world around him, through music and the people he meets because of it. Throughout his journey for “the real,” he gains so much, but is what he gives up too much? Will the ends justify the means? Will everything be alright?

“Call it a rock concert with a story to tell, trimmed with a lot of great jokes. Or call it a sprawling work of performance art, complete with angry rants and drag queens… I’ll just call it wonderful” – New York Times

 

JamilJude.com

 

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

 

Carousel

Carousel Web HeaderCarousel

Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Directed by Darcey Engen
Musical Direction by Sonja Thompson

April 10,11,16,17,18 at 7 p.m.
April 12 and 19 at 3 p.m.

In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent ‘up there.’ Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It’s easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, CAROUSEL was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s personal favorite.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Def Poetics Vol.2

Def Poetics Vol.2

Facilitated by Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey

March 11th and March 12th   at 7 p.m.

Def Poetic Vol.2  is an evening of spoken word. The presentation is the culmination of pieces developed in a four week workshop. The spoken word workshop participants will engage in listening & video sessions along with writing and performing both their own pieces and ‘classic’ work. Free and open to the public.

Studio Theater, Foss Center

Trouble in Mind

Trouble-in-Mind-Marquee-WEB

Trouble in Mind

By Alice Childress

Directed by Dominic Taylor

January 30,31, February 5,6,7 at 7 p.m.
February 1 and 8 at 3 p.m.

Willetta Mayer, a talented, but struggling African American actress, has been cast to star in a Broadway Show, the anti-lynching play Chaos in Belleville. She has paid her dues and is ready for her star turn, but is this play as enlightened as she’s hoping?  Chaos is written by a liberal white male and directed by a white male. Willetta’s journey shows us that theatrical practices often put show business and integrity on a collision course. When this collision also includes race and gender, it is a compelling and potent dramatic brew.  Trouble in Mind, written in 1955 by Alice Childress, creates a theatrical microcosm with real world reverberations.

Production Photos

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Egg

Egg-Web

Egg

By Mark Steven Jensen
Student-Directed by Mawrgyn Roper

November 14 at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
November 15 at 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
November 16 at 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Bertha and Louise are wandering in an empty wasteland when they both spot an egg at the same time. Bertha wants to turn the egg into an omelet; Louise wants to paint the egg for Easter. They each try to convince the other to give up dibs on the egg. The debate turns more and more violent and events spiral out of control. The production will use highly physical performance techniques with puppetry and clowning to tell the story of two women and an egg.

Production Photos

The Studio Theater, Foss Center

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

nonameA Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Martha Johnson

October 31, November 1,6,7,8 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 5 Show added at 7p.m.
November 2 and 9 at 3 p.m.

With its potent mixture of love, comedy, lyricism, and stage magic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has continued to captivate audiences for over four centuries.  Set in a mythical world of ancient Athens, moonlit woods, and fairy kingdoms, the play is a poignant and hilarious look at multifarious forms of human folly. Our production will imaginatively explore the play’s rich and compelling themes (both overt and covert)—love, power, gender, sexuality, marriage, class, patriarchy–through a fresh, contemporary lens, as we mine the play’s poetic, humorous, and magical power.

Production Photos

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Peer Gynt

PeerGyntPeer Gynt By Henrik Ibsen
April 10 – 13, 2014

Adapted by Robert Bly
Dramaturgy and further adaptation by Sarah Myers
Directed by Darcey Engen and Luverne Seifert

Performed at The University of Minnesota Arboretum in Chaska Minnesota

The Peer Gynt Project is a collaboration between the Theater Department at Augsburg College and the BA Theater Program in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota. This re-vision of Ibsen’s classic Peer Gynt is a site-specific performance at the University of Minnesota Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota. This production is an exploration of this epic Norwegian play and how it reflects culture, history and mythology. Students from each department will work closely with the project leaders, Darcey Engen, Chair and Associate Professor of Theater at Augsburg College and Luverne Seifert, Instructor and Head of BA Theater Performance at the University of Minnesota to create a highly innovative, condensed, site-specific production that explores the universal themes in the play. Continue reading “Peer Gynt”

Antigonick

AntigonickA new translation of Sophocles’ Antigone by Anne Carson

Directed by Martha Johnson

January 31 at 7 p.m.

February  1,6,7,8 at 7 p.m.

February 2 and 9 at 3 p.m.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Ticket information 

In her highly innovative translations of ancient plays, acclaimed poet Anne Carson “combines contemporary language with the traditional structures and rhetoric of Greek tragedy, opening up [ancient tales] . . .to a modern audience. . .”  In Antigonick, Carson emphasizes the importance of time–and timing–in tragedy, by introducing a silent character, Nick, who is always on stage measuring things while the events of the play unfold. Antigone is “here given an entirely fresh language and presentation.”

Making Connections: Theater Department Alumni

Augsburg Now Summer 2010From the Summer 2010 issue of the Augsburg Now magazine

In theatre, as in life, finding success is often about who you know. But knowing the right people isn’t enough. In order to build the foundation for a thriving career in theatre, students need to form and maintain connections with the people and the places that make up the “theatre scene.”

Featuring Tessa Flynn ’05, Katie Koch ’01/’05, Lee Fisher ’06, Michael Kelley ’05, and Justin Hooper ’07, Carla Steen ’91, and Jenni Lilledahl ’87.

Read the article in the Augsburg Now >

Loven and “Lewis” come home

kyleloven_rightnavKyle Loven ’06 has called a few places “home.” He moved from the charming town of Wilmar, Minn. to Minneapolis to study theater and art history at Augsburg. After college, he spent some time in Europe before settling in Seattle, Wash. And recently he found his way back to Twin Cities home where he performed my dear Lewis, his one-man show about memories.

Read the full story from March 2010 on Inside Augsburg