Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

May 25: Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2010-2011 Season of Plays


Eric Sloss                  

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama
Announces 2010-2011 Season of Plays

Dramaturgy Faculty, Students Available To Discuss Plays

PITTSBURGH—Peter Cooke, head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University, has announced the 2010-2011 drama season, which features a new musical and two new adaptations, as well as a banned German play.  
"I am delighted that the plays chosen for the season offer a fascinating range of writing styles and theatrical forms that in turn reflect the myriad talents of our faculty, staff, visiting directors and the student body," said Cooke. "If drama is the prism though which we view our world, then what a wonderful world we have to share with the public in 2010 and 2011."
The 2010-2011 season includes Leonid Andreyev's "He Who Gets Slapped"; "Vanishing Point," a new musical by Rob Hartmann and Liv Cummins; a new adaptation of Garcia Lorca's "Barbarous Nights"; Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; "Lady Han" by Zeami Motokiyo; Caryl Churchill's "A Number"; William Finn's musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"; Steven Dietz's "Still Life with Iris"; "Lulu," a German play by Frank Wedekind originally banned for its questionable morality; "The Alice Project," which will be developed through a yearlong interdisciplinary collaboration; and Caryl Churchill's new version of August Strindberg's "A Dream Play." More information about each production is listed below.
Performances will take place in the Philip Chosky Theater, the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre and the John Wells Video Studio in the Purnell Center for the Arts on the Carnegie Mellon campus. Students in the Dramaturgy Program will hold regular post-performance talkbacks with the audience, casts and crews following Tuesday evening performances. The dramaturgs are also available to discuss the plays with classes, student groups and public organizations. Contact Michael Chemers, dramaturgy option coordinator, at or 412-268-2399 to schedule a session with a dramaturg.   
Subscriptions to the 2010-2011 season are available. Call the box office at 412-268-2407 for package options, prices or to place a subscription order.  For additional information about the upcoming season or ticket purchases, contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407 between noon and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information on the 2010-2011 season of plays, visit

Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama 2010-2011 Season:

"He Who Gets Slapped," directed by Tony McKay
Opening: Sep. 30; Closing: Oct. 9
In an exotic French circus, a man battles desperately to come to terms with his shadowy past. Leonid Andreyev's "He Who Gets Slapped" is a thrilling and powerful work that explores acceptance, social vanity and moral corruption. Will a man's failure to conform inevitably lead to his public mortification and private destruction or could his indomitable spirit save them all?

"Vanishing Point," directed by Marya Spring Cordes
Opening: Oct. 20; Closing: Oct. 23
Mystery writer Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days. Revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared for three weeks. Aerialist Amelia Earhart disappeared forever. This stunning new musical explores the "lost times" of three iconic women in a rapidly changing world. Hartmann and Cummings explore their lives, chart new paths and rewrite history.

"Barbarous Nights," directed by Sam Creely

Opening: Nov. 10; Closing: Nov. 12
Based on the translation by Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, a new adaptation by Sam Creely, Corinna Archer and Miranda Steege. Written during the political and economic transitions of 1920s Spain, this reworking of a collection of short stories, poems and playlets by Federico Garcia Lorca explores the performative nature of identity, gender and sexuality by means of roosters, feather dusters, blind maidens locked in tall towers, talking trees that bear no fruit and the play's protagonist, Buster Keaton.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream," directed by Don Wadsworth

Opening: Nov. 18; Closing: Dec. 4
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is one of Shakespeare's most popular and most surprising works - a tale of fantastical creatures within a romantic comedy within a dream. A new light will shine on this funny, sexy, poetic and wildly imaginative play.  

"Lady Han," directed by Katie Brook
Opening: Dec. 1; Closing: Dec. 3
Obsessed by her lover's unrequited promise, Hanjo appeals to higher powers to cease her suffering and find personal fulfillment in this ancient and exquisite Japanese Noh play.

"A Number," directed by Lillian DeRitter
Opening: Feb. 9; Closing: Feb. 11
Caryl Churchill gives us "the first true play of the 21st century," part psychological thriller, part scientific speculation, part exploration of the nature and responsibilities of fatherhood in an age when cloning is just as much a part of child-rearing as lullabies and bedtime stories.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," directed and choreographed by Joe Deer, music direction by Thomas Douglas
Opening: Feb. 17; Closing: Feb. 26
Based on the book by Rachel Sheinkin, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" follows six semi-pubescent middle school students competing to be the best speller, as well as their equally quirky adult moderators. This musical with a heart of gold was directed on Broadway in 2005 by James Lapine. It won two Tony Awards, two Theatre World Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and two Lucille Lortel Awards.

"Still Life With Iris," directed by Maggie Bridges
Opening: Feb. 23; Closing: Feb. 25
Set in the fantastic world of Nocturno, "Still life with Iris a sort of Coraline" meets "The Wizard of Oz."  The play follows young Iris as she struggles to maintain her fragile memories in an inviting shadow-world. Her journey is one of hope, courage and the power of faith.

"Lulu," directed by Joshua William Geib
Opening: March 30; Closing: April 1
This 1894 German masterpiece was originally banned for its sexual content, questionable morality, and frank discussions of forbidden topics like lesbianism and prostitution. The play focuses on a young woman and her psychological downfall under oppressive, wealthy and manipulative men.

"The Alice Project," directed by Marianne Weems
Opening: April 14; Closing: April 23
"Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There" takes us into a delirious, contrary world behind the mirror. This hallucinogenic journey across a futuristic chessboard ends with a 21st century Alice carrying out the White Queen's proclamation: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward." This innovative production will be developed through a yearlong interdisciplinary collaboration.

"A Dream Play," directed by Sarah Krohn
Opening: April 20; Closing: April 23
"A Dream Play" is Strindberg's rich and strange vision of a divine daughter's visit to Earth. The daughter's adventures provide a dark mirror for humanity's turbulent spiritual struggle. Caryl Churchill's version brings the soul of this masterpiece into the 21st century with a light hand and a celebratory spirit.