If you haven’t seen a show at CTC, you’re missing out! If you’re looking for something to do this week, may I suggest…
WORLD PREMIERE farce at City Theater Company – runs February 10-18, 2017.
After Birth of a Nation Reflects the Absurdity of American History
A movie that glorifies the KKK. A daughter torn between career and country. A butler bent on revenge. What could possibly go wrong? Join City Theater Company for the World Premiere of After Birth of a Nation, a new comedy by playwright David Robson. The farce is a hilarious reimagining of what events may or may not have taken place on the night that the White House hosted its first film, “Birth of a Nation” in 1915.
Out-of-touch President Woodrow Wilson battles with his main advisor Colonel House over the war in Europe, the NAACP, and his strong-willed daughter Margaret as his guests, director D.W. Griffiths and the southern Reverend Gamble and his wife Cora, unwittingly derail the evening’s festivities. A substitute butler named Fields has plans of his own for making the soiree a night to remember. Throw in the Russian Ambassador, who’s in search of American weapons, and the night just grows crazier and funnier.
Says playwright David Robson, After Birth of a Nation began as a straight history play about this odd evening at the White House, but as I researched, aspects of the story stood out as being rather absurd. Especially the climax of Griffith’s film—a portrait of the ‘heroic’ KKK—how did anyone at the White House think premiering this film there was a good idea? With that realization, turning a dull history play into a flat-out farce made sense to me.”
CTC’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Gray directs. For both Gray and Robson, the two-year script development has been half the fun. Gray says “Birthing After Birth of a Nation has been a joy. CTC has always been committed to producing new work, and with this play we are addressing some very real, and relevant, issues around racism, sexism, and power. But true to CTC form, we are doing so in a ‘louder, faster, funnier’ way. And the actors are very much a part of this creation—their voices have helped shape the direction of the characters and the plot from the beginning.”
Robson agrees. “Working with CTC again has been inspiring. From the start the actors and the director have embraced the idea that a play changes and grows through a process of reading and rewriting and whittling. It’s why I write plays: the collaboration is all.” He continues, “And this play toys with American stereotypes in an attempt to help us laugh at ourselves—our foibles, our biases, and our shortcomings. Some of the imagery and situations walk that fine line between offensive and funny. I’m always of the mind that if you’re not offended by SOMETHING, you’re not paying attention. Still, the emphasis here is on irony, exaggeration. and all-out silliness.”
After Birth of a Nation stars Chris Banker, Jim Burns, Dylan Geringer, Jeff Hunsicker, Kerry Kristine McElrone, Paul McElwee, George Tietze, Dan Tucker.
Directed by Michael Gray. Scenic and lighting design by Vicki Neal and Richard Kendrick.
General admission $28. Production runs Friday, February 10 through Saturday, February 18, 2017. All shows 8:00 p.m. at The Black Box, 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington, DE 19805. Tickets available now at city-theater.org
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