Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (officially stylized Mr. Burns, a post-electric play) is an American dark comedy play written by Anne Washburn and featuring music by Michael Friedman. It premiered in May 2012 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and then ran from August through October 2013 at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Mr. Burns tells the story of a group of survivors recalling and retelling "Cape Feare", an episode of the TV show The Simpsons, shortly after a global catastrophe, then examines the way the story has changed seven years after that, and finally, 75 years later. It received polarized reviews and was nominated for a 2014 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play.
|Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play|
The poster for the original off-Broadway production at Playwrights Horizons
|Written by||Anne Washburn|
|Date premiered||May 2012|
|Place premiered||Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.|
Shortly after an unspecified apocalyptic event, a group of survivors gather together and begin to attempt to recount the episode "Cape Feare" of the television show The Simpsons. The second act picks up with the same group seven years later, who have now formed a theatrical troupe that specializes in performing Simpsons episodes, with commercials and all. The final act is set an additional 75 years in the future. The same episode of The Simpsons, now a familiar myth, has been reworked into a musical pageant, with the story, characters, and morals repurposed to fit the artistic and dramatic needs of a culture still reeling from destruction of civilization and the near-extinction of humanity decades earlier.
|Character(s)||Original off-Broadway cast||Original D.C. cast|
|Quincy, Businesswoman, Bart 2||Quincy Tyler Bernstine||Erika Rose|
|Susannah, Lisa 1, Second F.B.I. Agent, Itchy||Susannah Flood||Jenna Sokolowski|
|Gibson, Loving Husband, Sideshow Bob, Homer 2||Gibson Frazier||Chris Genebach|
|Matt, Homer 1, Scratchy||Matthew Maher||Steve Rosen|
|Nedra, Edna Krabappel||Nedra McClyde|
|Jenny, Marge||Jennifer R. Morris||Kimberly Gilbert|
|Colleen, First F.B.I. Agent, Lisa 2||Colleen Werthmann||Amy McWilliams|
|Sam, Bart 1, Mr. Burns||Sam Breslin Wright||James Sugg|
Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play was written by Anne Washburn. For a long time, she had been exploring what it would be like "to take a TV show and push it past the apocalypse and see what happened to it" and while she originally considered Friends, Cheers, and M*A*S*H, she ultimately settled on The Simpsons. Working with The Civilians theater company who had commissioned the play, Washburn held a workshop for a week in a bank vault beneath Wall Street which was being used as a shared rehearsal space in 2008 to see how much of any episode of The Simpsons the actors she had assembled, including Matthew Maher, Maria Dizzia, and Jennifer R. Morris, could remember. Maher knew The Simpsons well and the group decided on the 1993 episode "Cape Feare", based on the 1991 film Cape Fear, itself a remake of an eponymous 1962 film which is based on the 1957 novel The Executioners. He helped Dizzia and Morris remember the episode, then the two of them went on to perform it for an audience without his help; Washburn subsequently utilized recordings of this process in writing her play's first act.
The play, a dark comedy, was premiered in May 2012 at Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company It was commissioned by The Civilians and developed in partnership with them, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons. It was directed by Steve Cosson who got confirmation from several lawyers that the play fell under the umbrella of fair use. Cosson also directed the New York City production at Playwrights Horizons that premiered on September 15, 2013. Maher and Morris, who had not appeared in the Woolly Mammoth production, returned for the New York staging. At Playwrights, the show ran until October 20, 2013. Samuel French, Inc. published the show's script and licenses productions of the show.
Washburn continued to revise the play for its European premiere at the Almeida Theatre in London in Spring 2014, and a new draft was published by Oberon Books. It was directed by Robert Icke, who commissioned Orlando Gough to compose a new acapella score for the third act. The London production was visually and emotionally darker than the New York one, especially in its third act which resembled Greek tragedy as much as The Simpsons.
It provoked an extremely divided reaction from British critics, responses veering from one to five stars.
|Character(s)||Original London cast|
|Maria, Lisa||Annabel Scholey|
|Gibson, Itchy||Demetri Goritsas|
|Matt, Homer||Adrian der Gregorian|
|Quincy, Marge||Wunmi Mosaku|
|Colleen, Bart||Jenna Russell|
|Sam, Mr Burns||Michael Schaeffer|
|Jenny, Scratchy||Justine Mitchell|
In Time, Richard Zoglin characterized the reaction to the show as receiving "some rave reviews, a few equally passionate dissents and sellout crowds." Ben Brantley of The New York Times compared Mr. Burns to Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th-century book The Decameron in which a group of Italian youths have fled the Black Death to a villa where they begin to exchange stories. "At the end of Steve Cosson's vertiginous production, which opened on Sunday night at Playwrights Horizons, you’re likely to feel both exhausted and exhilarated from all the layers of time and thought you've traveled through", wrote Brantley. Reviewing for Vulture, Scott Brown found "Cape Feare" to be "a perfect palimpsest" and commended the ending musical number as "equal parts Brecht and Bart, Homer and the other Homer".
In his otherwise positive review, Brown noted that the play's "flabby middle act could use some tightening, to better dramatize Washburn’s talky deepthink." Marilyn Stasio wrote for Variety that the "piece loses sight of its humanity with an overproduced pop-rap-operetta in the underplotted second act". The Huffington Post's David Finkle felt that the play "could be contained in a 15-minute skit--if not quite a 140-character tweet" and that Washburn "stretches and stretches it through [its] three parts".
The play is referred to in the 2015 The Simpsons episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot" as part of a list of recent post-apocalyptic films (despite the fact that it is not a film). In writer Mike Reiss's memoir about writing for the show (Springfield Confidential), he describes his disappointment with the play, saying both it and the playwright failed because the play was what The Simpsons itself never was, "grim, pretentious and dull."
|2014||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Nominated|||
Julie Grossman examined Mr. Burns as an instance of multilayered adaptation. She wrote that the show "challenges audiences to embrace the imaginative (if strange and alienating) scions, or adaptations, of cultural matter." In reference to characters in the play's second act bargaining for rights to and lines from other Simpsons episodes, she noted "That permissions and copyright have survived the apocalypse brings out the absurdity of owning the rights to artistic production and dialogue and the persistence of capitalism." Grossman differentiated Mr. Burns from Emily St. John Mandel's 2014 novel Station Eleven, which also examines storytelling in a postapocalyptic setting, in the types of catalysts for their respective apocalypse: a naturally occurring flu outbreak in Station Eleven versus an unnatural and greed-driven nuclear collapse in Mr. Burns. "Although the play's postmodern mash-up of television, film, and theater is highly entertaining, its powerful ethics resides in seeing capitalism and consumerism (symbolized by the greedy Simpsons character Mr. Burns) as the causes of civilization's decay."
The 18th Annual Helpmann Awards for live performance in Australia was held across two nights; the Curtain Raiser Ceremony on 15 July 2018 at the Sydney Town Hall and the Awards Ceremony on 16 July 2018 at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Nominations were announced on 18 June 2018.Major recipients included dance work Bennelong (six awards including Best New Australian Work and Best Dance Production), musicals Beautiful (five awards including Best Musical) and Muriel's Wedding (five awards including Best Original Score), opera Hamlet (four awards including Best Opera), and play The Children (three awards including Best Play).2012 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 2012.Almeida Theatre
The Almeida Theatre, opened in 1980, is a 325-seat studio theatre with an international reputation, which takes its name from the street on which it is located, off Upper Street, in the London Borough of Islington. The theatre produces a diverse range of drama. Successful plays are often transferred to West End theatres.Anne Washburn
Anne Washburn is an American playwright.Cape Feare
"Cape Feare" is the second episode in the fifth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 7, 1993, and has since been featured on DVD and VHS releases. Written by Jon Vitti and directed by Rich Moore, "Cape Feare" features the return of guest star Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob, who tries to kill Bart Simpson after getting out of jail. "Cape Feare" is a spoof of the 1962 film Cape Fear and its 1991 remake (which in turn are both based on John D. MacDonald's 1957 novel The Executioners), and alludes to other horror films such as Psycho.
The episode was pitched by Wallace Wolodarsky, who wanted to parody Cape Fear. Originally produced for the fourth season, it was held over to the fifth and was therefore the last episode produced by the show's original writers, most of whom subsequently left. The production crew found it difficult to stretch "Cape Feare" to the standard duration of half an hour, and consequently padded several scenes. In one such sequence, Sideshow Bob continually steps on rakes, the handles of which then hit him in the face; this scene has been cited as one of the show's most memorable moments. The episode is generally considered one of the best of the entire series, and the score received an Emmy Award nomination.Damien Atkins
Damien Atkins is a Canadian actor and playwright.Born in Australia and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Atkins graduated from the musical theatre program at Grant MacEwan College and moved to Toronto after appearing in a Canadian Stage production of Into the Woods.Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play
The Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play is a theatre award, presented by Live Performance Australia (LPA) at the annual Helpmann Awards since 2003. In the following list, winners are listed first and marked in gold, in boldface, and the nominees are listed below with no highlight.List of Reed College people
This page lists notable alumni of American liberal arts institution, Reed College, located in Oregon's most populous city, Portland, along with their past and present positions.Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society
The Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society of Georgetown University is the oldest continuously running collegiate theatre troupe in the United States. Today, the Society is one of five theatre groups on the Georgetown campus and is entirely student-run. The group continues to provide an opportunity for students to develop artistic, technical, and administrative skills, while performing high-quality theatre in its 168th season.
Mask and Bauble produces four main stage shows annually, including the Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival, which focuses on student-written work. All shows are directed, produced, designed, and performed by students.Matthew Maher (actor)
Matthew Maher (born 1971/1972) is an American television and theater actor who has appeared in, among other works, John from Cincinnati. He has also worked in such theaters as The Public Theater, New York Shakespeare Festival, Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, and Actors Theater of Louisville.Michael Friedman (composer)
John Michael Friedman (September 24, 1975 – September 9, 2017) was an American composer and lyricist. He was a founding associate artist of The Civilians. He received a 2007 Obie award for sustained excellence. His musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opened on Broadway in October 2010. He died on September 9, 2017, aged 41, from complications related to HIV/AIDS.Mitchell Butel
Mitchell Patrick Butel (born 10 February 1970) is an Australian actor, singer, writer and director. He is best known for his work in theatre, including musical and opera productions. From March 2019, he will be the Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia.Nomadic Theatre
Nomadic Theatre is a co-curricular, student-led theatre group at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in the United States. Focused on being "technically ambitious and socially engaged," it is dedicated to producing new works that have an aspect of social awareness and using the theatre process to allow students to learn about theatre. The group takes its name from its history of having no permanent theatre to work in.
The group produces three main stage shows a year, usually performed in the Walsh Black Box (no longer in use), the Village C Theatre, or the Devine Theatre in the Davis Performing Arts Center in the center of Georgetown's campus. Main stage shows are directed, produced, acted, designed largely by students. Often students in large roles such as director, producer, or designer, will have an assistant who they train to be able to perform that role on a future show.
The group also produces "Square Pegs", opportunities for students to get involved in theatre without a large time commitment. These have a much shorter rehearsal process and have minimal technical elements and are often performed in the open air amphitheatre in Red Square or in Bulldog Alley in the Leavey Center.Olivia Tennet
Olivia Tennet (born 4 January 1991) is a New Zealand actress and dancer best known in her home country for her role as Tuesday Warner on the nightly medical drama Shortland Street, along with several roles in television and theatre. Outside of New Zealand, she is best known for her roles in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Power Rangers RPM (2009), and the independent film Blood Punch (2013).Robert Icke
Robert Icke (born 29 November 1986) is an English writer and theatre director. He has been referred to as the "great hope of British theatre."He is best known for his modern adaptations of classic texts, including versions of Oresteia, Mary Stuart, Uncle Vanya, and 1984, devised with Duncan Macmillan.Science fiction theatre
Science fiction theatre includes live dramatic works, but generally not cinema or television programmes. It has long been overshadowed by its literary and broadcast counterparts, but has a long history, and via the play R.U.R. introduced the word robot into global usage.Steve Cosson
Steve Cosson is a writer and director specializing in the creation of new theater work inspired by real life, as well as a free-lance director of new plays, musicals, and classics. He is the founding Artistic Director of the New York-based investigative theater company The Civilians. He led the Civilians as the first theater company in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He wrote the first major American play about climate change, The Great Immensity, which generated significant controversy from Republicans in Congress and right-wing media, and was featured as a TED Talk at main TED conference in 2012. Other notable accomplishments include developing and directing Anne Washburn's Mr Burns, a post-electric play, named the 4th Best American Play of the past 25 Years by The New York Times. His plays have been published by Oberon Books in the UK, Dramatists Play Service, and an anthology of his plays with The Civilians was published by Playscripts Inc.University of New Haven
The University of New Haven (UNH) is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in West Haven, Connecticut, which borders the larger city of New Haven and Long Island Sound. Between its main campus in West Haven and its graduate school campus in Orange, Connecticut, the university is situated on approximately 122 acres of land. Combining a liberal arts education with professional training, the university comprises six degree-granting colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, the College of Business, the Tagliatela College of Engineering, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and the School of Health Sciences.From 2006–2011, the university’s undergraduate and graduate student enrollment increased by 28% and as of fall 2011 totaled over 6,000 students.
The University is a member of the Northeast-10 Conference and its mascot is the Charger, a medieval war horse. New facilities include the David A. Beckerman Recreation Center, Soundview residence hall (Celentano Hall), the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, and Westside residence hall. U.S. News & World Report has named the University the 100th best university in the northeastern United States as well as in the top tier of engineering programs nationwide in its annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings.Situated on about 82 acres overlooking the Connecticut shoreline the main campus is 90 minutes by train to New York City and 2 ½ hours from Boston. Satellite campuses are located in New London, CT (on the campus of Mitchell College), Albuquerque, NM, and Prato, Italy.Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is a non-profit theatre company located at 641 D Street NW in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1980, it produces new plays which it believes to be edgy, challenging, and thought-provoking. Performances are in a 265-seat courtyard-style theater.
Woolly Mammoth is led by Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes, a celebrated American theatre producer, and Managing Director Emika Abe.