Ira Brind School of Theater Arts 2020–2021
The Brind School is working with the fall and spring season directors to create dynamic and groundbreaking theater experiences.
When considering how to restructure the fall season in response to COVID-19, the creative community asked themselves a series of questions and landed on the following set of goals and guidelines for performers and creative teams.
Continue to make vital, dynamic work while keeping all collaborators safe.
Find opportunities to maximize student learning, engagement and the development of their artistry, despite limitations.
Deconstruct and decolonize the ways in which we produce work—in particular, how current industry standards uphold the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. Use this moment to free ourselves from those oppressive standards by reimagining and redefining process, schedule, culture and protocol.
Invite new techniques and technologies into our processes to best share the work we do with others in a time of needful distance.
Test artistic hypotheses. Conduct research that will benefit us long after the pandemic limits our ability to produce live events.
In this musical comedy, two philosophers leave the shelter of jail to take a walk through the landscape of American Capitalism. They promenade through wild parties, city streets, political theaters and picnic in a militarized war zone. Will they find the appearance of sin or hold on to their compassion? Fall through the looking glass with them and enjoy the view.
Book and Lyrics by María Irene Fornés
Music by Rev. Al Carmines
Directed by Amy Dugas Brown
A serialized musical experience
Streaming Feb. 5–14 at uartspromenade.com
A student-produced festival of student-written new plays
Pre-recorded and livestreamed performances
Feb. 12–13 at 7 p.m. EST
Feb. 13–14 at 2 p.m. EST
Pump to Pump by Matthew Bock
Directed by Emilia Amador
Berzerk! by Will Vence Jr.
Directed by Brennah Leone
Bodies and Bones by Sophia Snyder
Directed by C Castro
Look Up, Canyon by Isabella Capelli
Directed by Ryan Louis
Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Kelly Krieger
Feb. 18–21 at 7:30 p.m. EST
The Last Five Years is an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the span of five years. The piece follows two separate timelines: one telling the story chronologically, the other in reverse. Through this unconventional storytelling structure, four actors will re-examine the musical through a personal lens, rebuilding and redefining Jamie, Cathy and their lost love. Before each performance, two actors will be randomly selected to take on the roles, bringing audiences a different version of this universal love story each night.
Including and inspired by the work of Adam Guettel
Generative work by Brind School students
Directed by Billy Bustamante
View a cut of the Student Devised Work: https://vimeo.com/522944716
In his song cycle Myths and Hymns, Guettel paints an emotional landscape of faith and yearning that embraces a boundless spectrum of ideology and spirituality. The lyrics were inspired by Greek mythology and a 19th-century Presbyterian hymnal; the musical vocabulary sweeps from romantic art song and rock to Latin, gospel and R&B. Myths and Hymns elucidates our fantastic desire to transcend earthly bounds, our intrinsic need to connect with something or someone greater in our restless search for enlightenment.
By Kelly Fleming
Directed by Becky Wright
Recorded audio with accompanying visuals
In October of 1966, front-man and songwriter of the insanely popular band The Grooves suddenly and accidentally dies. In order to cover up his death from their fans, the general public, and with a warning of national safety from MI6, Grooves management replaced him with a lookalike, Will Peers. Will: A Coverup is a retelling of the iconic "Paul is Dead" conspiracy theory in the form of a pre-recorded audio play paired with an audio visualizer, featuring an original psychedelic underscoring to curate a virtual and transportive theatrical experience.
Substance abuse/Drug use
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Brett A. Robinson
April 1-4, 2021 at 8:00PM eastern
Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.
For tickets: https://www.
Please note that this performance includes:
Near Drowning/Death Experiences
Men in Boats is presented by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service.
Playwrights Horizons, Inc. and Clubbed Thumb produced
MEN ON BOATS in New York City, 2016
The Blazing World
Music by Sean Eads
Book & Lyrics by Brandy Hoang Collier
Directed by Zi Alikhan
Music Directed by Mo Yeh
Kill the Whale: A Musical Odyssey
By Daniel Emonds
Directed by Chloe Treat
Music Directed by Dan Garmon
By Truth Bachman
Directed by Zhailon Levingston
Lilith and Her Demons
By Sarah Hough
Directed by Randi Alexis Hickey
By Lope de Vega
Directed by Jose Aviles
From the Golden Age of Spanish drama, Fuente Ovejuna documents the motivations behind the murder of Fernando Gomez de Guzman, the Chief Commander of the Order of the Calatrava. Basing the play on an actual historical event, Lope de Vega dramatizes the corruption of the Calatrava’s leaders and the effects of the Commander’s tyranny on the pastoral village of Fuenteovejuna.
The Commander, while glorious in battle, lacks moral character and routinely kidnaps and ravishes young women in the town. When he sets his sights on the lovely Laurencia, the mayor’s daughter and new bride of Frondoso, the town is shocked but stands aside. When Laurenica returns, bloodied and beaten, she finally spurs the town into action against him, resulting in his murder. Even Spanish royalty become involved in the questioning of the town and under torture, all they can learn about the Commander’s murder is: “Fuenteovejuna did it.” Fuente Ovejuna is a timeless tale about people standing together against corruption, tyranny and abuse.
By Quiara Alegría Hudes
Directed by Becca Claire ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
A poetic view at the cyclical nature of war and the experiences of those involved.
The musicality of the language eases the reality of the content to make it seamlessly unfold with only four characters, millions of stories and 39 pages. A filmed endeavor with the fifth character being designed, this piece—directed by Becca Clair in spring 2021—ambitiously hopes to change the perspective of war’s generational toll and bring humanity to those painted inhumane within societal standards.
Directed by Audrey Gregory ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
A creepy, twisted world delivered only by sound, Spooky Scary Radio Play will rehearse and record through the semester with a final product that listeners can access at any time! Collaborators aim to take on the horror genre with chilling sounds and detailed voice work that will trick listeners into thinking they're in the room with the characters and keep them on the edge of their couches.
By Jaedto Israel ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
Directed by Justin Jain
A musical gaming experience
Follow a party of amnesiac adventurers as they uncover the mysteries of a city destroyed by Mother Nature, a showboating diva plant woman with an affinity for Vaudeville. Overgrown hopes to simultaneously be a one-act campy musical comedy and a Full Motion Video game that features elements of DnD-inspired RPG’s and rhythm games such as Parappa the Rapper.
By Juana Parral ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
Workshop directed by Amy Dugas Brown
Toothache is a play about a woman named Vera who is struggling with a severe toothache she cannot afford to take care of, while working at a Spanish restaurant that has just started out. This play follows the struggles of a healthcare system that does not care about the people that need it most; Vera’s connections with a family of Spaniards at the restaurant where she works; and her struggles with a lack of connection with her own family. Toothache will be in a workshop setting, with the hope of developing the script with the actors in the room, and with the goal of a final online live or pre-recorded performance.
By Rodney Murray '21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
The UArts Theater Design and Technology program hosts an annual Portfolio Day. Students across all four years of the BFA program display work from classes, productions and independent projects to visiting professionals, faculty, colleagues, friends and family. This event is a celebration of their work and an opportunity to introduce them and their work to the professional community.
Visitors will be able to meet and chat live with students on that ay from 12:00pm-4:00pm ET. The site will remain live for visitors to see the work displayed in individual galleries and leave comments on what they see.
A poignant and moving comedy that asks us to reflect on what we value most in life, our varying definitions of success, and the ways in which we identify and perceive ourselves and those around us, Ride The Cyclone challenges the meaning of “dying too young” and examines the legacy we leave behind after life.
In this auditory experience with accompanying visuals, audiences follow six dead high school choir students who tell their stories in a bid to win the favor of an elusive fortune telling machine, The Amazing Karnak, who promises to grant life to the most deserved storyteller.
Book, Music and Lyrics by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond
Additional Material by Alan Schumuckler
Directed by Elana Mirella Mariani ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
Available Nov. 6–15, 2020 on Broadway on Demand
Tonight, Walt is going to read you a screenplay he wrote. It’s about his last days on earth. It’s about a city he’s going to build that’s going to change the world. And it’s about his brother. It’s about everyone who loves him so much, and it’s about how sad they’re going to be when he’s gone. Right? I mean, how can they live without him? How can anyone live without him?
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Justin Rubenstein ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
A Livestream Play
Nov. 6–8, 7 p.m. EST
Who shot Andy Warhol? Superstar Candy Darling, a character based on a real-life member of Warhol’s studio known as The Factory, hosts a happening whodunit musical during which the famous—and infamous—creatures of The Factory all have motives to pull the trigger. But the pop art icon unravels an even bigger mystery as he confronts not only the prime suspects, but also his art and his own greatest creation: himself.
Book by Maggie Kate Coleman
Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Directed by James Bruenger ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
A web-based, interactive multimedia musical experience
Dec. 11 & 12, 8 p.m. EST
Dec. 13, 2 p.m. EST
Myths and Hymn: An Artistic Talkback
Friday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. EST
Actor, director, and UArts alumnus Billy Bustamante and a team of student performers, designers, and production artists have spent the fall semester investigating the song cycle Myths and Hymns by Adam Guettel. Ahead of the January 2021 public streaming presentation of the final remotely filmed project, the team will gather to discuss the creative process and share some preliminary material.
A senior project by Marisa Faller (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
Presentation available now
Each year, I learn more and more about the importance of open, raw, and honest discussion and expression of intimate topics in our everyday lives. The C Word (consent) focuses on topics relating to consent in our society and personal lives through resources like recorded one-on-one Zoom interviews with organizations whose work focuses on consent and self-care; consent-specific educators; doulas; intimacy directors and coordinators; advocates for social justice; sex and relationship counselors/educators; or during our recorded group Zoom discussions.
I have collected artists and social justice advocates living in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts—some of whom are UArts students or grads—to guide these important discussions and to submit personal creations, if they feel so inclined. Look out for the immortal and always-evolving Prezi link coming soon, and please feel free to submit a piece of art whenever you are able—in whatever visual form it may be—to be posted (and credited!) on the Prezi.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, concerns or submissions.
The Dust Bowl is one of the single most infamous periods in United States history. The cataclysmic combination of the greatest financial crisis the U.S. has ever experienced and a monumental environmental disaster made life hell on earth for those unlucky enough to live through it.
The play uses this tragic period as the setting for the coming-of-age story of a young girl who struggles with nearly crippling visions of a presence she often sees in the dust. Living in a once small (now virtually non-existent) settlement, the newly orphaned child is taken in by the ladies of a nondescript cathouse therein. To see this tragedy through the eyes of a child may shine a new light on the day-to-day mundanity that made up so many lives. The routines that went along with this episode in history were specific and taxing, yet many persevered.
By Rebecca Smith ’21 (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
Directed by Rebecca Wright
An online workshop
Presentation date TBD
A Senior Project by Monique Chambers
ETNAD serves to uplift and vigorously showcase the talents of a wide variety of artists including producers, vocalists, rappers and DJs. We strive to create a comfortable environment for young Black men and women so that they know that their voice matters and is always valid. Our number one goal is to help young artists mold their voice and feel confident enough to pursue their dreams. In the form of a website, ETNAD will spread exposure and share content. To start, the website will feature three to four artists and include things like solo and group interviews, photoshoots, bios for each artist, and spotlight “artists of the week.”