The art of storytelling takes center stage when the Department of Theater and Dance presents “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” as the next offering in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series.
The production runs from February 25 to March 5 at the Bartlett Theater on the Fredonia campus. Show dates and times are February 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m.; February 27 at 2 p.m. and March 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Fredonia campus box office at the Williams Center and by phone at (716) 673-3501.
“Mr. Burns” is described as an “imaginative dark comedy that propels audiences forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling toward its future.” After civilization collapses, a group of survivors share a campfire and begin to piece together the plot of “The Simpsons” episode “Cape Feare” entirely from memory. This storytelling format becomes the live entertainment of a post-apocalyptic society struggling to hold on to its past.
Daniel F. Lendzian, a member of the theater and dance faculty, is the Mainstage production manager. He hopes “Mr. Burns” will create an appreciation for storytelling.
“‘Mr. Burns asks the question, what are the stories we tell and tell, and how do those stories change and change over time? What will survive us? Why do we need to tell stories? And how do yesterday’s myths create tomorrow’s stories? says Lendzian. “These questions make ‘Mr. Burns is a fascinating sight.
“Mr. Burns” is presented in three acts, which Lendzian says are very different in tone and style.
“The first act is contemporary realism. The third act is a musical. I think there is something for everyone,” said the director.
While the iconic TV series “The Simpsons” is the focus of “Mr. Burns,” Lendzian said, you don’t have to be a fan of the show to enjoy this piece.
“Nobody has to be a fan of The Simpsons to appreciate the work. Washburn does a great job of preparing audiences to fully understand the references,” he said. “Coincidentally, the episode of The Simpsons samples elements of popular culture, particularly the movie “Cape Fear”. Regardless of your familiarity with “The Simpsons,” if you see “Mr. Burns, you’ll enjoy it.
More than 50 students take part in the Theater and Dance production and the highlights are numerous.
“We have an incredible cast, incredible designers and an amazing storyline. I don’t want to say too much, but I’m blown away by the design,” Lendzian said. from the music school and student Nik Dahlen on the music for the show. Our students worked so hard on the production and I can’t wait to share what we created.