Posted on September 30, 2021
| 9:00 a.m.
NAKED SHAKES cast rehearse for the performance of “Twelfth Night” on October 1st. (Courtesy photo)
The upcoming year of performances from the UCSB Theater and Dance Department will be presented live and in person. The 2021-22 season includes everything from one-off versions of old classics to new and original works of theater and dance.
As the live performances return, the health and safety of clients, faculty, staff and students will take priority and recommended guidelines put forward by the university, state and CDC will be followed along with changes made accordingly.
The season opens on October 1 with Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, presented by award-winning collective NAKED SHAKES. Directed by Irwin Appel, the absurd comedy of false identities follows the twins Sebastien and Viola who believe they are dead after being separated by a shipwreck.
One of the first live performances at UCSB in over 18 months, “Twelfth Night” takes place on Commencement Green.
Next is the first of two 24-hour game festivals of the season. This festival is a celebration of community and creation that will feature short original unseen pieces written, directed and performed by UCSB students, faculty and staff – all written, produced and performed within 24 hours.
The first show takes place one night, October 16, in the intimate Studio Theater on campus. The second festival begins in January.
November begins with “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” originally created by Greg Allen in Chicago, where it has become the longest-running show in history. Now director Michael Bernard is bringing the show to Santa Barbara.
“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” is an ensemble production that seeks to play 30 pieces in 60 minutes. Each two-minute piece is performed in random order with the participation of the audience. The 30 pieces range from heartwarming to funny to heartbreaking. The one-time production takes place at the UCSB Performing Arts Theater.
Also in November, undergraduate conducting students will present the One Acts. Supervised by Appel, the directing students will stage a variety of one-act pieces ranging from cutting-edge classics to time-tested classics. Directors go through the entire process of putting together a show, from casting to scenography, including the search for props.
The One Acts offers a collaborative and educational showcase, presented at the Studio Theater for three nights. Another series of acts is slated for Spring Quarter in May, when advanced filmmaking students present their flagship projects supervised by Annie Torsiglieri.
As the final piece of the fall, Risa Brainin stars Anton Checkhov’s “Seagull”. Translated by Libby Appel, the show is a fitting way to return to campus after such a long absence as it tells the story of reuniting an eccentric family.
Considered the first of Chekhov’s four major plays, “Seagull” is both a hilarious and heartbreaking love letter to the theater.
To close the fall term and kick off the dance performance season, this year’s fall dance concert, Kinetic Lab, will feature original work by BFA Dance students. Kinetic Lab is a creative, process-oriented choreography lab for students to experience their individual composition methods and unique artistic voices.
BFA students will present their new pieces in collaboration with student lighting designers and costume designers. The concert is directed by Brandon Whited and takes place at the Hatlen Theater. Kinetic Lab will return in 2022 as the last production of the season.
The winter season opens with LAUNCH PAD, AMPLIFY and the Initiative for New and Reimagined Works presenting the BIPOC Reading Series Festival. The event is also in association with the National New Play Network. The festival is an exchange of ideas between emerging and veteran artists where four new pieces will receive 20-hour workshops, after which they will be presented to the public.
Next, UCSB’s acclaimed resident professional dance company, the Santa Barbara Dance Theater, returns to action with new creative leadership and a performance under the direction of artistic director Brandon Whited. The show of new and original works is presented on a loop in the Performing Arts Theater.
In February, UCSB graduate student Jo Palazuelos-Krukowski writes and directs her original play, “Spectral Frequencies”.
Palazuelos-Krukowski’s doctoral research on spectrality, folklore, aurality and intercultural theater provides a fitting background for “Spectral Frequencies”, a ghostly tapestry of Australian sound dramas staged for the stage. The show is an amalgamation of spooky stories featuring the island continent’s rich heritage of 20th century horror radio, and takes place at the Performing Arts Theater.
In a special collaboration, the Department of Theater and Dance and the Department of Music will co-present a whimsical staging of the opera “Magic Flut” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The opera is directed by Isabel Bayrakdarian, with puppets and choreography by Christina McCarthy.
The show follows Prince Tamino who has been asked by the Night Queen to save her daughter from captivity. The collaboration of music, theater and dance takes place in the Lotte Lehman concert hall.
Performing in the Hatlen Theater will be “The Bones of Contention”, which seeks to reflect the challenges people face as a result of the “New Normal”.
Written and directed by Leo Cabranes-Grant, the show explores how a California community is trying to stay together after a pandemic while dealing with the difficulty and demands of emotional loss, a failing economy and environmental crisis. .
To complement the Winter Quarter, UCSB Dance Company will present some fascinating new works under the direction of artistic director Delila Moseley. The show will feature works by guest choreographers Yusha-Marie Solzano, Derion Loman and Joshua Manculich, as well as staging of world-renowned pieces by choreographers Donald McKayle and José Limón.
Closing the term, Daniel Stein supervises the students of BFA Acting in the creation of their senior solos. The project is the product of three years of rigorous training, endless energy and imagination, all culminating in the individual performances created by the students. Senior Solos takes place in the Studio Theater for one night only.
The opening spring term is the Spring Dance Concert, conducted by Brandon Whited, which will present new synthetic choreography by six senior BFA Dance majors. Also featured is the dance company UCSB will present a new repertoire before heading out on their spring European tour.
Then in dance, the senior BA Dance majors will present their senior dance solos. The project is supervised by Christina McCarthy who guides the students in their search for their solo voice in an experimental process exploring a variety of performance mediums and visual arts.
For the Spring Musical, Julie Fishell conducts “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” with music by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and designed by Rebecca Feldman with additional material by Jay Reiss.
Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk Awards, the comedy provides a glimpse into the thoughts and emotions of children who enter the spelling contest.
The contemporary ballet company Opus I will present “Aqua”. Directed by Valeria Huston and featuring works by Huston and Arizona State University dance faculty member Carley Condor, the concert is a comprehensive program exploring the color of water and the critical connection between water and life.
Next comes a LAUNCH PAD preview production of “A Medusa Thread”, a new play by Candrice Jones, directed by Shirley Jo Finney. In “A Medusa Thread,” audiences are immersed in the world of a purgatory beauty salon where Medusa herself gives clients one last hairstyle before moving on to their afterlife. Takes place seven nights in the performing arts theater.
To end the theatrical season, Daniel Stein accompanies the students in the presentation of “Particle Collider”, a creative melting pot that encourages radical discovery and development of the artistic voice. This project is open to any active UCSB student and is free to watch.
Tickets for the 2021-22 season are available online at www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu and at the Associate Student Box Office of the UCSB University Center. Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 805-893-2064. The opening hours of the ticket office are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A number of events are free, but for those who aren’t, ticket prices are $ 17 for general admission; $ 13 for all UCSB students, seniors, children and faculty and staff.
Seasonal passes are also available for sale. The Theater Series (six theatrical performances) and the Dance Series (three dance productions) will be available for a 20% discount off the general admission price.
Alternatively, customers can select their own membership by choosing five events for a 10% discount off the general admission price. Subject to availability. Certain restrictions apply. For more details, visit www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu.