I’m pleased to introduce our reimagined 2020-2021 season to you. We have spent the past months sheltering in place, balancing the need to isolate from each other physically with the call to take action alongside our DC communities. We have re-envisioned the plays we’ll produce, the way we’ll create our work, and the best ways to invite you, our audience, to join us safely.
I think you’ll agree that season is still very Studio. We are still dedicated to the kind of immediate connection between artist and audience, play and present moment, that has always animated our work. We’re calling this season “In the Moment”—which captures the livewire of performance, the unique frame that the pandemic gives this season, and the resonance each of these plays has with this unprecedented moment in history.
The plays of the season are all quite distinct in their interests and their tone, from Dael Orlandersmith’s look at the pain and resilience from communities of Ferguson, MO in 2014 that reverberates today; to Lisa Kron’s stories of her father, a Holocaust survivor and roller coaster enthusiast; to a world premiere about the moral reckoning of an ICE subcontractor; to an adventurous installation from Scottish innovators Vox Motus, designed to be experienced in person and alone. Each of the forms that the plays take— audio plays, digital drama, installation-based theatre, a four-show rep— are brand new to us and to you.
If you’ve been with us for a few years, you’ll see we’re also re-making past work for our present moment—I’ll re-stage the 2014 Cock for socially distant actors; Doris Duke Artist in Residence Psalmayene 24 will direct a revival of Will Power’s Flow for a new generation; Marti Lyons returns to direct Kings, Sarah Burgess’s lacerating comedy about lobbyists and politics, in audio play form (available just before our election).
After our forays into audio and digital plays, we’re inviting you back into 14th and P in gradual steps—and we have digital options for almost every production. But it is good to be making plans to be together, even virtually, and to share the visions of the many artists of this season. We’ve made the plans with hope and humility, and if we have to shift our programming, we promise we’ll find equally adventurous and exciting work (alongside a generous refund policy). More than ever, we are grateful for your support and sense of adventure as we step into the future together.
Executive Artistic Director David Muse, Managing Director Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg, and Associate Artistic Director Reginald Douglas talk our 20-21 season, safety measures, and answer questions from subscribers. If you haven't seen the Town Hall, it's a great primmer on what to expect in our new season.
Click on production title to see show description.
Studio In Frame
Studio kicks off its subscription season with two plays reconceived for our current moment. Filmed with multiple cameras at Studio and broadcast digitally, these productions offer the chemistry and intensity of in-the-room performance while keeping artists and audiences safe. Available for streaming in early 2021.
John breaks up with his boyfriend of seven years. Two weeks later, he's desperate to be taken back—but can't stop sleeping with the woman he started seeing in their weeks off. In a world with so many ways to be happy, how do you know the right thing when you have it? A sexy, conflicted look at attraction, ambivalence, and commitment. David Muse remakes his 2014 Helen Hayes-award winning production for the camera.
When Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson in 2014, the outrage and protests that followed were a wake-up call to some and familiar, exhausting news to others. Dael Orlandersmith draws from dozens of interviews across Ferguson's communities in Until the Flood, using one specific flashpoint of race and power to look at the ongoing pain of a litany of Black deaths at the hands of police. Studio Associate Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas reimagines Orlandersmith's solo play with a cross-generational ensemble of three Black women, celebrating the resolve for justice that remains as urgent today as it was six years ago.
A heart wrenching story told in a deeply personalized, immersive format, Studio In-Stalls brings the unique theatrical installation Flight to Washington, DC for the first time beginning in Spring 2021.
With their small inheritance stitched into their clothes, two children set off on an epic journey across Europe—orphaned brothers on a desperate odyssey to freedom and safety. Wearing headphones and viewing a handcrafted diorama from a personal booth, audience members are plunged into the brothers' story of hope and survival, playing out in breathtaking, intimate miniature. Flight is an immersive installation created by Scottish innovators Vox Motus and designed by Jamie Harrison (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child magic effects and illusions designer). An invitation to bear witness to the personal stories of two of the 300,000 displaced children who make unaccompanied journeys every year.
Studio in First Person
Four plays, one actor each, in four unique encounters with history on a personal scale. Beginning in Summer 2021, join Studio in person—with limited seating and strict mask requirements—or stream from home.
Will Power's percussive look at one urban community and its seven storytellers, who gossip and riff, declare and reveal, showing off their neighborhood through its stories, from trivial to tragic. Backed by a live DJ and unfolding in rhythm and rhyme, Flow is a call and response through history, from the griot tradition to the next artists who will make the tradition for their times. Will Power toured the piece to Studio in 2004 and Doris Duke Artist in Residence Psalmayene 24 directs a new production for a new generation.
Lisa's father is 74, nearly blind, a Holocaust survivor, and addicted to roller coasters. 2.5 Minute Ride follows two very different father-daughter trips: the annual Kron family pilgrimage to roller-coaster heaven in Sandusky, Ohio and Lisa's once-in-a-lifetime trip to Auschwitz with her father. A travelogue through thrill and loss, Lisa Kron (book and lyrics, Fun Home) tracks her father's enthusiasm, physical frailty, and ambivalence about the lives he might have lived with humor and unsentimental compassion.
It's a strictly ordinary day for a strictly ordinary young woman: alarm at 7:37 a.m., dogs and birds and up at 7:41, a fight with her brother, a half-breakfast with her mum, and then out into the world, with its gossip and distractions. Until one moment—wrong place, wrong time, a seemingly random crime—shatters everything. debbie tucker green captures the strangeness of grief and catastrophe in piercing, poetic detail. The DC debut of a major British talent and one of the 50 Best Plays of the 21st Century (The Guardian).
When Martín applies for a position at the local Walmart-turned-Detention Center, he expects to be supervising hardened criminals facing deportation. But he soon discovers he's guarding a warehouse full of children, as young as his own, separated from their families at the nearby Texan border. Still, jobs are scarce, the graveyard shift pays well, and Martín is in no position to turn down a steady paycheck. But when a strange epidemic reaches the facility, he faces a moral reckoning. Stark and propulsive, Tender Age joins Brant's Grounded (Studio, 2014) as a play about living at the edge of your ethics.
Studio In Your Ears
Intimate and immediate, Studio’s audio plays bring the thrill of great writing and great acting directly to you. Available beginning in Fall 2020.
WRITTEN BY SARAH BURGESS
DIRECTED BY MARTI LYONS
Newly elected congresswoman Sydney Millsap arrives in DC armed with her ideals and sense of duty, and refuses to play by the rules of special interests—or her own party. Kate’s a lobbyist who backs winners. The two collide in the audio adaptation of the lacerating comedy Studio produced just after the last midterms. With its snappy dialogue and shrewd look at where power really sits in our government, it’s an audio play just in time for November.
Available for free beginning late October 2020.
A WORLD PREMIERE
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY IKE HOLTER
An anthem for our time, I Hate it Here looks at the ways people do (and don’t) deal with a world on the brink of explosion. Commissioned by Studio to create an audio work, award-winning Chicago writer Ike Holter brings his sharp humor to the complexities of stepping into a new decade with the odds already stacked against you.
Coming December 10, 2020.
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