Welcome from the Chair

Interested in taking a trip to unknown lands?
Ready to walk in a stranger’s shoes?
Willing to open your heart and mind to old truths and new ideas?

Then please join us for the UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre 2018-19 Mainstage Season!

In keeping with our department mission, we’re proud to present a season representing a range of cultures, ethnicities, historical periods and aesthetic genres. From classics by Goldoni and Shakespeare to contemporary plays by two of our nation’s finest contemporary playwrights, we offer a theatrical journey created and performed by our skilled faculty directors, actors, designers, dramaturgs, stage technicians, all working side-by-side with our talented students right here in Robinson Hall.

We begin the year with a special faculty showcase of Caridad Svich’s Archipelago. Our production features performances by Assistant Professor of Physical Theatre Carlos Cruz and Assistant Professor of Acting Kaja Dunn and is directed by guest director Monica Ndounou.

Svich, who received the theatre department’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, has written more than 40 full-length plays and received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre. Ndounou is Associate Professor of Theater and Sony Music Fellow (2017-2018) at Dartmouth College and the author of Acting Your Color: The CRAFT, Power and Paradox of Acting for Black Americans 1950s to the present.

Shakespeare returns to Robinson Hall after taking a few years off from our stage, and he’s ready for action with Twelfth Night, a comedy about love, death, community and identity. Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare Andrew Hartley directs his own adaptation, set in a contemporary world with flavors of New Orleans and featuring new compositions by guest music director Noel Freidline (performed by a special student music ensemble).

In honor of Martin Luther King day, we’re delighted to present a touring production of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned. This one-man show, performed by guest artist Wali Jamal, follows Wilson from his roots as a struggling writer in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to the completion of The American Century Cycle, a collection of ten plays that chronicle one hundred years of the African American experience. A Pittsburgh native, Jamal has performed roles in all ten of Wilson’s American Century plays and is one of only a handful of actors performing this autobiographical tour de force.

February takes us to 18th-century Italy, where we warm up with Carlos Goldoni’s comic masterpiece, The Servant of Two Masters. Directed by Carlos Cruz, our production is rooted in the performance traditions of the Italian commedia dell’arte and filled with physical comedy, music and off-the-wall (and off-the-stage) antics. Sit anywhere you like, but expect to come face-to-face with our roving band of actors, acrobats and musicians.

We end the year at the dawn of the Great Depression and in the hands and heart of Pearl Cleage, acclaimed author and Playwright-in-Residence at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. The characters in Blues for an Alabama Sky cross paths in a boarding house in Harlem, where the creative euphoria of the Harlem Renaissance converges with an emerging activism centered on women’s reproductive rights. Assistant Professor Kaja Dunn directs this powerful drama about love, career and service.

The Department of Theatre is committed to offering our students and members of the surrounding community thought-provoking and entertaining approaches to a wide range of theatrical performance, from the classics to contemporary interdisciplinary work. We encourage all of you to explore and engage with our performances and special opportunities, including post-show discussions, master classes, workshop opportunities, guest lectures, theatre-going excursions and pop-up performance experiences.

See you at the theatre—backstage, on-stage and in the house!

~Lynne Conner