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Mud

By María Irene Fornés
Directed by BJ Dodge
 

September 12 – 29, 2019
Players Theater
A California Repertory Production

 

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Hopeful, hard-working Mae lives in bleak rural poverty, but she is going to school, and plans to better her life through the refined magic of reading and arithmetic. Lloyd, who lives with Mae, spends his time caring a little too much for the farm animals; he scorns to learn from a book, and treats Mae with angry disrespect.

When Lloyd becomes ill, Mae goes searching for a diagnosis, and brings their simple, yet eloquent, neighbor Henry home with her, in order to help her read the difficult medical language. The ensuing love / hate triangle that brews between the three creates a toxic environment, and Mae, whose love and respect for Henry turns to impatience and resentment after an accident renders him helpless, determines that to escape the ill-luck of her life, she must escape the men who depend upon her.

In Mud, Maria Irene Fornes has created a stark and uncompromising drama, in which self-improvement is a wistful, far-off goal, and the bleak nature of everyday life is impossible to escape, in the end. 

 

Hookman

By Lauren Yee
Directed by Lisa Dring

September 26 – October 6, 2019
Studio Theater
A California Repertory Production

 

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Freshman year at college is hard when your roommate is weird, you’re feeling homesick, and a hook-handed serial killer is slashing girls’ throats. But if Lexi can discover what really happened to her high school best friend on that car ride to the movies, everything will be okay. In this existential slasher comedy, Lexi and her friends learn what it means to grow up – and it’s not pretty. 

 

 

Romeo & Juliet: Hard Way Home

By William Shakespeare
With Music by Brandi Carlile
Directed by Beth Lopes

November 1 – 16, 2019
University Theater
A California Repertory Production

 

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This production was dual inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Brandi Carlile’s album, Bear Creek. This Romeo and Juliet exists in a dusty, isolated locale; the whistle of the passing train echoes the longing of our characters to find something greater than their small town world. Whether it be to find love, purpose or themselves, our heroes and heroines are searching, and Bear Creek is their soundtrack. The spiritual power of Friar Lawrence resonates in the gospel influences of this album. The excitement and danger of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting is exemplified in the sexy chaos of Raise Hell. And, most importantly, Hard Way Home perfectly encapsulates the heartbreak, longing, and unending hope of growing up.

 

Move: The History of a Hand

Devised by The Ensemble
Directed by Ezra LeBank

November 21 – December 8, 2019
Studio Theater
A California Repertory Production

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MOVE is a multi-year arts project to investigate the unexpected possibilities of our bodies in action, and to inspire our Long Beach community to move in creative and collaborative ways. In The History of a Hand we dig into the cultural, scientific, and personal histories of our hands. The Hand is the most dexterous part of the body, and our most frequent tool to interact with the world around us. But what is a Hand capable of if used to its full potential? How can we rediscover something we think we know like the back of our Hand? 


In the Blood

By Suzan Lori Parks
Directed by Desean K. Terry

February 13 -- March 1 
Players Theater
A California Repertory Production

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In this modern day riff on The Scarlet Letter, Hester La Negrita, a homeless mother of five, lives with her kids on the tough streets of the inner city. Her eldest child is teaching her how to read and write, but the letter "A" is, so far, the only letter she knows. Her five kids are named Jabber, Bully, Trouble, Beauty and Baby, and the characters are played by adult actors who double as five other people in Hester's life: her ex-boyfriend, her social worker, her doctor, her best friend and her minister. While Hester's kids fill her life with joy—lovingly comical moments amid the harsh world of poverty—the adults with whom she comes into contact only hold her back. Nothing can stop the play's tragic end.

Blood at the Root 

By Dominique Morrisseau
Directed by Bruce A. Lemon, Jr.

March 5 – 14, 2020
University Theater
A California Repertory Production

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A striking new ensemble drama based on the Jena Six; six Black students who were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus. This bold new play examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, and the crises in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the shattering state of Black family life.

The Wolves

By Sarah DeLappe
Directed by Jessica Hanna

March 19 -- March 27 
Studio Theater
A California Repertory Production

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Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. An indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.

Zoot Suit

By Luis Valdez
Directed by Jonathan Munoz Proulx

April 30 – May 10, 2020
Studio Theater
A California Repertory Production

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This critically acclaimed play by Luis Valdez, the first by a Mexican American to be produced on Broadway, cracks open the depiction of Chicanos on stage, challenging viewers to revisit a troubled moment in our nation's history. From the moment the myth-infused character El Pachuco burst onto the stage, cutting his way through the drop curtain with a switchblade, Luis Valdez spurred a revolution in Chicano theater.