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  • Writer's pictureMolly Adea

Molly Adea CAST in WHAT OF THE NIGHT by Maria Irene Fornes, Directed by Katie Pearl

Molly Adea has been cast in What of the Night by Maria Irene Fornes! This production is being put on by UCSD's Graduate Theatre program as this year's Quinn Martin Production! She will be performing alongside graduate students including her mentor DeLeon Dallas. Come see her perform November 14-18 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse.

Directed by Katie Pearl

About the play

What of the Night?, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, offers a panoramic view into the spiritual and economic poverty of 20th and 21st century United States. Taking place over a 60-year span and following four individual family members through four linked plays, What of the Night? lifts the lid off societal oppression to expose the unstoppable humans within. Meet Nadine (NADINE), who sets her children on their course by teaching them that love means survival at all costs and by any means; meet young Birdie who walks out of that life in search of a better existence. Meet Rainbow (SPRINGTIME) who carries her mother’s lesson forward, caring for her lover Greta by renting out her body to a man who, unbeknownst to her, is her half-brother, Ray. Meet abusive and power-addicted Ray (LUST), who makes it to the echelons of corporate success only to be terrorized by the emptiness he finds there. Get to know tender-hearted Charlie (HUNGER), who in his old age finds himself in charge of a vast bureaucratized homeless shelter, where Ray and eventually fourth sibling Birdie come under his care. What of the Night? is a sweeping portrait of society, a brutal castigation of greed, and a brilliant assertion of human spirit. It is a tender and brutal telling of the impossibility of love and the spiritual disintegration that happens when the stranglehold of poverty-- or the forces of great wealth--infiltrate the inner workings of our lives and relationships.

About the Playwright

Maria Irene Fornes is a Cuban-American avant-garde playwright, director, and master teacher whose plays and playwriting classes influenced an entire generation of theater artists. As a leading figure of the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s, Fornes broke open conventions of theater making, shocking and delighting New York audiences with bold, surprising work that continually redefined itself. In 1965 she won her first two OBIE’s, receiving the 'Distinguished Play' Award simultaneously for both her biting and hilarious musical Promenade and her loopy, satirical The Successful Life of 3 (dedicated to her lover at the time Susan Sontag). She went on to win a total of nine OBIE’s, and in 1990 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize with her play What of the Night?. Other notable works include Fefu and Her Friends, which was the first Off Broadway play to have an all-female cast, and Conduct of Life, Mud, Sarita, and Letters from Cuba. Fornes plays often examine the insinuation of socio-economic factors into intimate spaces, teasing out the continual interplay of wealth, poverty, power, love, and sex. Fornes currently lives in Amsterdam Nursing Home in New York City, where she is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's. She continues to be a vital figure in both the Latinx theater community as well as in the American theater in total. In order to propel her teaching legacy forward, leaders from the Latinx Theater Commons are in the process of establishing a Fornes Institute. A new documentary feature called The Rest I Make Up— which follows Fornes' brilliant creative spirit in her post-writing years via an unlikely friendship with a young journalist—is set to be released early next year.

About the Director

Katie Pearl is an interdisciplinary theater maker whose projects range from traditional plays to experimental performance to community-wide collaborations. Fueled by the belief that personal encounter and creative exchange are necessary in maintaining a humane world and motivated by the lack she sees in our country of both, Pearl's work often invites audiences and participants into radically imaginative situations that playfully challenge conventional structures and norms. As co-Artistic Director PearlDamour, the company she shares with playwright Lisa D’Amour, Pearl has co-created, directed, and sometimes performed in a body of work produced at such venues as The Kitchen, PS122/ COIL, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Arts Center, the Prelude Festival, as well as in alternative spaces and in Universities around the country. PearlDamour's work has been recognized with an OBIE, a Creative Capital Award, multiple MAP Fund grants, two NEA Our Town grants, and the Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, given to a woman or women whose work for, in, about, or through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change. Projects in development include the writing of a new unnamed play (Steinberg Commission, Trinity Repertory Theatre); Ocean Filibuster, a new PearlDamour performance co-commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre and the Harvard University Center for the Environment; and Red Hills, a site-specific performance collaboration between an American and a Ugandan writer, produced by En Garde Arts (NYC). Pearl is a producer of The Rest I Make Up, a new feature documentary by Michelle Memran about the playwright Maria Irene Fornes. She has been a Voice and Vision artist, an Anschutz Fellow at Princeton, and a visiting lecturer at Harvard, where her teaching and research focused on the concept of the Artist-Citizen.

Director's Statement

I am writing this program note in the middle of rehearsals. Each day when we enter the rehearsal room, the cast and I meet Maria Irene Fornes via this extraordinary script. And each day these are the words that come to us: Challenging. Transcendent. Precise. Brutal. Tender. Wild. Surreal. Intimate. Confounding. Unforgiving. And deeply, deeply human. For me, the four plays of What of the Night? illustrate that our choices, behaviors, and very identities are inextricable from our economic conditions—and invite us to consider how the forces of capitalism, power, and greed infiltrate our most intimate relationships and impact our ability to communicate and connect as individuals and as a society. Fornes said it this way once: “I fear for our future. I feel that we are becoming greedy and heartless... When I first came to live in this country [in 1945] I was deeply moved by the spirit of compassion and concern for the underprivileged that I found here. Now I ask myself what has happened to this spirit. In these plays I ask that we give thought to what would happen to our civilization if we don't reverse the course we have taken." Now, here, in 2017, when we have perhaps even surpassed the moment Fornes was thinking towards, giving space to that thought in our classrooms, conversations, civic spaces and theaters is an urgent and necessary act. I am deeply appreciative of the MFA students who are leaning so far with me into this text, and of course most of all appreciative of Maria Irene Fornes, who leaned far into everything she did, because—I imagine her saying—why waste your time otherwise? I visited Fornes where she lives at Amsterdam Nursing Home right before I came to San Diego, and read her parts of the play. And she held my hand, as tightly as she always holds the hands that reach out to her. Did she track that I was reading her her own text, that I was there at all? Most certainly probably no. But I was there, and she remains here with us, and I am glad to welcome you now to this UCSD production of her play What of the Night?.

The Creative Team

Director – Katie Pearl Scenic Designer – Matthew Herman Costume Designer – Junior Bergman Lighting Designer – Brandon H Rosen Sound Designer – Zhongran Carren Wang Assistant Scenic Designer – Hsi-An Chen Assistant Costume Designer – Chris Flagstad Assistant Costume Designer – Katie Mai Assistant Lighting Designer – Mextly Almeda Assistant Sound Designer – Mae Ann Ross Production Stage Manager – Ashley Martin Asst. Stage Manager – Willie Mae Michiels Asst. Stage Manager – Jacob Halpern-Weitzman Production Assistant – Trevor Rinzler

The Cast

Task Force – Molly Adea Helena / Lorraine – Mary Rose Branick Pete / Joseph / Jim – DeLeon Dallas Birdie / Dream Restaurateur ("Wing") – Janet Fiki Ray – Kyle Hester Leah / Greta / She – Nicole Javier Task Force – Levan Korganashvili Nadine / Reba / Dream Restaurateur ("Wang") – Kim Monks Charlie / Boy – Allyn Moriyon Task Force – Jenna Nimri Rainbow / Girl – Mo Rodvanich Task Force – Alexandra Velazquez Task Force – Anna Younce

Performances at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse/ UC San Diego Theatre District

Saturday November 11 @ 2:00PM PREVIEW

Tuesday November 14 @ 7:30PM Opening

Wednesday November 15 @7:30PM

Thursday November 16 @7:30PM

Friday November 17 @ 7:30PM

Saturday November 18 @ 7:30PM Closing

(Information taken from the UC San Diego Theatre and Dance website)

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