Mr. Burns at CityRep

Paul T. Taylor as Mr Burns - photo by mutzphotography.com
For this excellent Performing Arts Q&A, the Founding Artistic Director of CityRep, Donald Jordan, talks about their upcoming production of the Simpsons inspired play, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.

What five words would you use to describe Mr. Burns?
Brilliant, imaginative, epic, clever, unique.

Now, using more than five words, what’s it about?
MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY asks us to consider what will endure when the cataclysm arrives—when the grid fails, society crumbles, and we’re faced with the task of rebuilding?

Anne Washburn’s imaginative dark comedy, one of the most produced new plays in American theatre, propels us forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling into its future. A paean to live theater, to the fundamental human need for storytelling and to the resilience of Bart Simpson through the ages, MR. BURNS is a wildly imaginative exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

What are some unique aspects for your version?
We have chosen to stage the play in the very intimate confines of the black box theatre we created in the basement of the Civic Center Music Hall, the CitySpace, so the show has a real sense of immediacy that harkens to its Off-Broadway origins.

In addition, we have an extraordinary cast, including well-known film, television and regional theatre professionals Paul T. Taylor, Bob Hess, Kris Schinske and Tim Fall.

Cast of Mr Burns - photo by mutzphotography.com
Why have you chosen to feature this show?
This play is currently one of the most produced new plays in American professional theatre, and we are proud to present the Oklahoma premiere. The play is part of the contemporary national theatrical dialogue and part of our mission as Oklahoma’s award-winning professional regional theatre is to tackle just this kind of challenging and rewarding new material.

What is the biggest challenge with the production?
“The production is incredibly challenging creatively, a mindbending workout for the imagination, the intellect, and the funnybone.”The production is incredibly challenging creatively, a mindbending workout for the imagination, the intellect, and the funnybone. In addition, there are many practical aspects of production that also present challenges—in order to do the play in such an intimate space, we have had to solve myriad technical and logistical problems, do it on time and on budget, and in keeping with the high professional artistic standards CityRep is known for.

What scenes or moments stand out to you that make the play worth showing to people.
The piece in its entirety is so creative, unique and imaginative. When other theatre artists ask me “what’s it like?” I tell them it is like nothing else…you just have to experience it in all its fantastical, mythological, theatrical glory.

In a post-apocalyptic world, would you try to reenact your favorite tv shoes?
I think one of the themes of the play is man’s enduring need for and use of storytelling. Within the world of this play, even when civilization crumbles and begins the long journey to rebuild, the uniquely human use of storytelling remains…whether around a campfire, acted out for entertainment for others or as a ritual and instrument of collective memory.

Why should one see MR. BURNS?
First, one should ALWAYS be going to the theatre of course!

MR. BURNS is a significant play in our current national cultural dialogue, from an enormously talented up-and-coming young playwright. It is among the most popular plays with young audiences 35 and under, possibly because they can relate so naturally to THE SIMPSONS, having grown up with them, as well as it’s “post-Apocalyptic” theme, which is also prevalent in the current zeitgeist.

Anything else you want people to know?
MR. BURNS continues our 15th Anniversary season here at CityRep. We have titled this season “SeriousFUN” and that is a concise definition of the experience of MR. BURNS….a play of profound ideas, musical numbers, sly satire, and…The Simpsons. As Mr. Burns might say, “it is Eeeeeeegcellent…”


Mr. Burns – A Post Electric Play will play in the Freede Little Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall, located at 201 N. Walker Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City. The show is rated R due to adult situations and language. Tickets are $8 for Students, Teachers and Military Personnel (with ID), $25 (groups of eight or more), $35 (matinees) and $40 (evening performances), and may be purchased by calling the Civic Center Music Hall at (405) 848-3761 or online at www.cityrep.com.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
Friday, February 24 at 7:30pm Preview Performance
Saturday, February 25 at 1:30pm Matinee Preview Performance
Saturday, February 25 at 7:30pm Opening Night Performance
Sunday, February 26 at 1:30pm
Thursday, March 2 at 7:30pm
Friday, March 3 at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 4 at 1:30pm
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 5 at 1:30pm Closing Matinee Performance

Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Owner and Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma. In short, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories for books, movies, and shows. More about my projects are at DennisSpielman.com

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