ETSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance hopes to electrify audiences with its final production of the 2017-2018 season this weekend.
Directed and choreographed by Associate Professor Cara Harker, “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” will run this Thursday through Sunday in the Bud Frank Theater.
“There is something for everyone in this show: suspense, comedy, singing, dancing,” Harker said. “The play has a powerful message, one that lingers in your mind for days after.”
“Mr. Burns,” by award-winning playwright Anne Washburn, premiered in Washington, D.C., in 2012 before moving to New York City for a successful run. It was nominated 2014 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play.
The play opens shortly after an apocalyptic event on a group of survivors who attempt to recall a popular episode of “The Simpsons” together—the 1993 episode “Cape Feare.” Washburn uses this structure to comment on the human instinct to tell stories. In a post-apocalyptic world with humanity on the brink of extinction, the characters turn to storytelling to rebuild what they can.
While a three act structure isn’t unusual for a play, each of the three acts in “Mr. Burns” are marked by a significant time jump, making each distinct from the last. Harker and her cast rose to the challenge during a busy rehearsal period.
“With three acts dramatically different from one another, much work has been done to ensure that each act has its own arc, while preparing the audience for the grand musical finale,” Harker said. “The cast has boundless energy; their commitment to telling the story is inspiring.”
The cast includes twenty students, with even more working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth production. The play’s run begins April 19 at 7:30 p.m. with Friday and Saturday shows at the same time. The Sunday performance will be at 2 p.m. Student tickets are $5. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.etsu.edu/theatre.