The range of human experience

Performing Arts Department announces 2010-11 season

The 2010-11 Performing Arts Department season will begin Sept. 9-11 with Dance Close Up, the biennial faculty concert. Pictured is Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance and director of the Ballet Program.

From mordant humor and exuberant defiance to love and war and existential anguish, the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis will scale the heights and plumb the depths of our shared mortal coil with its 2010-11 season.

“This season, the plays and dance concerts that we are presenting will address the full range of human experience,” says Robert Henke, PhD, professor and chair of the PAD. These range “from the sexual and political oppression suffered by five Liberian women in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed; to the giddy, joyous and transformative power of love and poetry in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; to the gamut of human emotions represented in our original student playwriting work.”

The season opens Sept. 9-11 with Dance Close Up, the biennial concert of new and original choreography by the PAD’s dance faculty, which often serves as the unofficial kickoff to St. Louis’ professional dance season. Directed by Mary-Jean Cowell, PhD, associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program, the concert will include 10 works in a variety of styles, ranging from Flamenco and Indian to contemporary and ballet.

The season will continue Oct. 1 and 2 with the annual A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival, which features staged readings of new works written by Washington University students. This year’s festival will feature three plays: A Hundred Pines by junior Selena Lane (Oct. 1), Before Jumping In by senior Eli Keehn (Oct. 2), and The Stroke Scriptures by senior Chris Kammerer (also Oct. 2). The latter, which won the 2010 A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition, will receive a full production in April.

Next up, Oct. 22-31, will be Bertolt Brecht’s sardonic masterpiece The Threepenny Opera, directed by Jeffery Matthews, senior lecturer in drama. Set to music by Kurt Weill, the story — inspired by John Gay’s 18th-century hit The Beggar’s Opera — centers on the infamous Mack the Knife, a “shark with white kid gloves,” who lurks in London’s shadowy underworld.

Annamaria Pileggi, senior lecturer in drama, will direct Sam Shepard’s Obie Award-winning Curse of the Starving Class Nov. 18-21. At once comic and tragic, this dark and lyrical play centers on the Tates, a poverty-stricken farm family in Southern California, as they struggle against violence, self-destruction and the dissolution of the American dream.

Living in Momentum, the 2010 Washington University Dance Theatre concert, will run Dec. 3-5. Directed by Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance, the performance will feature dozens of student dancers presenting professionally choreographed works by both faculty and visiting artists.

Henry I. Schvey, PhD, professor of drama, will direct Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Feb. 25-March 6. Andrea Urice, senior lecturer in drama, will direct Gurira’s Eclipsed April 1-10. Concluding the season will be Kammerer’s The Stroke Scriptures April 28-May 1. William Whitaker, senior lecturer in drama, will direct.

The A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival is free and open to the public. Tickets to Dance Close Up are $17, or $12 for students, faculty, staff, seniors and children. All other events are $15, or $10 for students, faculty, staff and seniors. Subscriptions to three or more events are available for $12 per show. In addition, the PAD offers a special “season pass” for $58. A current WUSTL ID is required; registration deadline is Sept. 11.

For more information about the PAD season or to order tickets, call the Edison Theatre Box Office at (314) 935-6543.

Auditions for the 2010-11 theatrical season will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 2 and 3, in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, located in Mallinckrodt Room 208. Auditions for Washington University Dance Theatre auditions take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, in the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, located in Mallinckrodt Room 207.

For more information about theater auditions, contact Matthews at or 935-4059. For more information about dance auditions, contact Slaughter at or 935-8075.

2010-11 SCHEDULE

Sept. 9-11: Dance Close Up
Directed by Mary-Jean Cowell
Annelise Mertz Dance Studio

Oct. 1-2: A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre

Oct. 22-31: The Threepenny Opera
Music by Kurt Weill, book and lyics by Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Elisabeth Hauptmann.
Directed by Jeffery Matthews
Edison Theatre

Nov. 18-21: Curse of the Starving Class
Written by Sam Shepard
Directed by Annamaria Pileggi
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre

Dec. 3-5: Washington University Dance Theatre presents Living in the Momentum
Directed by Cecil Slaughter
Edison Theatre

Feb. 25-March 6: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Henry I. Schvey
Edison Theatre

April 1-10: Eclipsed
Written by Danai Gurira
Directed by Andrea Urice
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre

April 28-May 1: The Stroke Scriptures
Written by Chris Kammerer
Directed by William Whitaker
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre

* The Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre and Edison Theatre are all located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.