Curtains Up! The 2014-15 UCLA TFT Theater Season Has Arrived

By Noela Hueso

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s 2014-15 Theater Season is here! Thirteen exciting new events, including The Two Cities Project, and returning ones, such as the Francis Ford Coppola One Act Marathon, will be hosted by the School’s Department of Theater.

“I am, once again, overjoyed and very impressed by the brilliant season our Department of Theater faculty have curated for the 2014/15 season at TFT,” says UCLA TFT Dean Teri Schwartz. “From classics to groundbreaking new works, this upcoming season is a ‘wow’ by any measure and one that I am really looking forward to.  I can't wait to see our amazing students' work and that of our distinguished faculty and visiting artists, as well. Congratulations to our TFT Department of Theater for constantly striving to take all of our programs to such inspiring levels of excellence.”

The season kicks off at UCLA TFT’s Freud Playhouse on Fri., Dec. 5, with The Revenger’s Tragedy, written by English playwright Thomas Middleton in 1606 and directed by Lisa Wolpe, artistic director of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company. In this vivid, violent Jacobean tragedy of lust and ambition, featuring MFA and undergraduate actors from the Department of Theater, a young man plots revenge on a depraved duke for his lurid offenses.  (Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 9-13)

The Laramie Project chronicles the 1998 murder of gay teenager Matthew Shepard and closely examines hate and homophobia in our society, as told by published news reports, friends, family and inhabitants of Laramie, Wyo. Featuring undergraduate actors, The Laramie Project was written by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Directed by MFA director Bryan Puckett. (Little Theater, Dec. 9-13)

The New Play Festival features MFA playwright Nicholas Johnson’s The Other Town, in which Stevie, struggling to make ends meet in the foggy redwoods of California, cares for her sister and emotionally frayed mother while watching her own dreams float away. Performed by undergraduate actors and directed by Richard Martinez (MFA, ’09). (1340 Macgowan Hall, Dec. 10-13. This is a RUSH Event. No ticket required. Seating is limited.)

Presented in collaboration with Opera UCLA and UCLA Philharmonia, the West Coast premiere of Saverio Mercadante’s recently rediscovered bel canto masterpiece I Due Figaro kicks off Winter Quarter 2015, as part of L.A. Opera's Figaro Unbound celebration. This sequel to The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), with libretto by Felice Romani, is made possible in part by the generous support of the Max H. Gluck Foundation. Directed by UCLA Opera Head Professor Peter Kazaras and conducted by Joseph Colaneri, all aspects of this production are executed by students enrolled in UCLA Department of Theater courses in scenery, costuming, lighting, sound and advanced theater laboratories. (Freud Playhouse, Feb. 13 & 20 and Feb. 15 & 22)

Also in February is Project III, a collection of plays performed by undergraduate actors, helmed by MFA directors Darcie Crager and Brendan Hartnett. (Theater Lab, Melnitz Hall, Feb. 25-28. This is a RUSH Event. No ticket required. Seating is limited.)

The ghosts of German-occupied Poland are invoked by the tortured soul of a young soldier returning from Iraq in Magda Fertacz’s Trash Story (translated by Benjamin Paloff). Directed by Monica Payne, (MFA, ’11) Trash Story features MFA actors from the Department of Theater. (1340 Macgowan Hall, March 6-7, 10-14)

Written and directed by MFA director Zhou Xiao Wei, Begonia, which features undergraduate actors, is an adaptation of a popular Chinese novel about a young woman who sets forth on an epic journey to find her destiny. (Little Theater, March 10-14)

Spring Quarter begins with Associate Professor Joe Olivieri directing undergraduate actors in Joe Sutton’s explosive and harrowing drama Voir Dire, in which a jury of six is left to decide the fate of a prominent African American arrested for buying crack. (Theater Lab, 1473 Melnitz Hall; May 6-9. This is a RUSH Event. No ticket required. Seating is limited.)

The Ray Bolger Musical Theater Production for the 2014-15 academic year is Bat Boy: The Musical. Based on the sensational half-bat/half-boy story from the Weekly World News, Bat Boy: The Musical examines hypocrisy, racism and revenge all to the tune of Laurence O’Keefe’s catchy score. Directed by Adjunct Associate Professor Jeremy Mann, the musical features undergraduate actors and a book by Keythe Farley (BA, ’87) and Brian Flemming. (Little Theater, May 7-9 and 12-16)

Actors from the UCLA Department of Theater Undergraduate Program and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) will perform new work in real time in London and Los Angeles via broadband interconnection as part of The Two Cities Project. Two distinguished playwrights travelling from London to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to London will provide the focus for this exciting acting and playwriting experiment. Associate Professor Thomas O’Connor will direct the Los Angeles performance. (Theater Lab, 1473 Melnitz Hall; May 29 and June 5)

“As the host of the LAMDA auditions in Southern California for more than 30 years, we have had a strong friendship with our friends in London,” says Department of Theater Chair Michael Hackett. “This new venture promises to be an exciting collaboration between our two schools and between our UCLA and LAMDA students.”

An Evening of Devised Work showcases projects created and performed by first-year MFA actors, directors and playwrights. (1340 Macgowan Hall, May 21-23. This is a RUSH Event. No ticket required. Seating is limited.)

The Francis Ford Coppola One-Act Marathon, established in 1998 and named after the UCLA TFT alum and world-renowned filmmaker, pairs graduate film directors from the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media with new works by Department of Theater playwrights. The one acts are performed by UCLA TFT undergraduate and graduate actors. (1340 Macgowan Hall, date TBD. This is a RUSH Event. No ticket required. Seating is limited.)

The 14/15 Theater Season ends on Sat., June 6 at Freud Playhouse with Design Showcase West. Held at UCLA TFT each year, DSW is the only national entertainment design showcase on the West Coast featuring the work of students graduating from the nation’s top university design programs, including UCLA; California Institute of the Arts; UC San Diego; New York University; University of Missouri, Kansas City; UC Davis; the University of Texas, Austin; UC Irvine; and the North Carolina School of the Arts. Exhibits range from costume design to set, sound and lighting design. Entertainment producers, directors and A-list designers looking for new talent regularly attended DSW. In addition to the UCLA TFT Department of Theater, Design Showcase West is hosted by the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892, the United Scenic Artists, Local 829, the Set Decorators Society of America and the Art Directors Guild, Local 800. (Open to the public from 2-5 p.m. No ticket required.)

A full schedule for the 2014-15 season is available on UCLA TFT’s theater season website

Tickets are available through CTO, (310) 825–2101, and $12 parking is available at Structure 3.

THEATER SEASON AT A GLANCE Top: Fall productions The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Laramie Project, The Other Town; middle: Winter productions I Due Figaro, Begonia, Trash Story; bottom: Spring offerings Bat Boy: The Musical, The Francis Ford Coppola One Act Marathon, Design Showcase West.

Posted: September 17, 2014