UMass Boston student playwrights, a drama asking tough questions about the complexities of sexual assault on college campuses, and an exciting guest director mark the 2018-19 season at UMass Boston’s Theatre Arts program.
Auditions are September 10 and 11 for the Fall productions, [link event] and open to all students, regardless of major. Actors will be cast in Student Body by Frank Winters, directed by Robert Lublin, as well as New Voices/New Stories, a series of staged readings of short plays by UMass Boston students, directed by Carrie Ann Quinn.
In Student Body, a college freshman finds a video of a sexual encounter, where the woman may not be conscious. Students debate whether or not they’ve witnessed a crime, and weigh the complex and difficult questions that arise – crime, punishment, privacy. It will run for 7 performances, November 29 through December 7.
“In the age of #MeToo, Winters’ play proves particularly important,” says director Robert Lublin. “Our goal is not only to initiate a critical discussion on stage, but one that prompts further thought in the audience.”
New Voices/New Stories is a series of short plays by student playwrights on campus, curated by Ginger Lazarus and Carrie Ann Quinn. Done as concert-style staged readings, there will be four performances October 10 through 13.
Coming in Spring, UMass Boston’s Performing Arts is proud to welcome Dawn M. Simmons as guest director. Simmons is currently directing The Wiz at The Lyric in Boston, with choreographer Jean Appolon who teaches Dance at UMass Boston. Dawn’s recent directing credits include The Irish and How They Got That Way at Greater Boston Stage Company, Saturday Night Sunday Morning at the Lyric. She’s worked with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Actors Shakespeare Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, Suffolk University, and is co-artistic director of New Exhibition Room, and Artistic Director of the Front Porch Arts Collective.
“We’re thrilled our invitation to Dawn M. Simmons was accepted, and we’re having wonderful discussions toward deciding what play she’ll undertake with our students,” says Rafael Jaen, director of Theatre Arts. “She’s worked with a number of our students and alums as interns and crew members, and she’s a model for socially conscious artists working in Boston theatre today.”
“The student body of UMass Boston is a rich mix of colors, races, gender identities and more, so what I want to find is a play that lets the students express their individuality as humans not ‘teachable moments’, issues or diversity plays,” Simmons says. “And then, there's the magic of live performance, I'm considering stories that have strong sense of magic, quirk or something else that makes the world of the play a place we want to get lost in for a while.”