“Theatre & Conversation –
In Flanders Fields”
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 7 pm at
The Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St NW.
Alliance for New Music-Theatre in partnership with The Woodrow Wilson House continues its year-long inaugural series of lively cultural evenings in the Dupont-Kalorama neighborhood. On Wednesday, April 26 at 7 pm for our fourth evening of “Theatre and Conversation” we will present In Flanders Fields.
In celebration of the month of poetry and to mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, The Woodrow Wilson House and the Alliance for New Music Theatre present In Flanders Fields, an exploration of poetry and music of the time. The story is told through the experiences and correspondence of members of the historical Chapman family, whose son Victor enlisted in the French Foreign Legion in 1914.
In addition to two settings of John McRae’s poem “In Flanders Fields,” the evening includes the poetry of William Butler Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Wharton, Alan Seeger, and Wilfred Owen, and the music of Charles Ives, George Butterworth, George M. Cohan, and Stephen Chatman, among others. The so-called “Great War” was not only the source of countless poems and songs; it also ended much too soon the lives of poets McRae, Seeger and Owen, and composer Butterworth, and far too many other artists to name here.
The Chapmans are portrayed by Laura Lewis, Meghan McCall, Ari Jacobson, and John Boulanger, with Douglas Bowles playing the historic Steinway piano belonging to Woodrow Wilson’s daughter Margaret.
Following the performance, we will host a discussion to further explore the themes presented that still resonate widely in our current culture. The prescience of the work will engage today’s audiences, as its focus is very much part of our global conversation.
“Theatre & Conversation – R.U.R.: A Retro-Futuristic Musical”
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7 pm at
An intimate performance/reading based on the play R.U.R. by Karel Čapek in a music-theatre adaptation by composer Maurice Saylor and director Susan Galbraith. R.U.R. takes us “back to the future” in a new musical adaptation, unveiling the ideas behind a play written in 1920 by Czech playwright Karel Čapek, who introduced the word “robot” to the world. This work-in-development dramatizes the conflict very much part of today’s conversation: whether the combination of a robotic work force and artificial intelligence will liberate mankind from economic drudgery or threaten to overcome and destroy the human race. The work both celebrates and examines critically the promise of industrialization and technology that was envisioned in the time of the very modern “Electric President” Wilson.
Following the performance, we will host a discussion to further explore the themes presented that still resonate widely in our current culture. The prescience of the work will engage today’s audiences, as its focus is very much part of our global conversation:
“Theatre & Conversation -An Evening with Kafka”
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 7 pm at
The President Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St NW.
For our second evening of “Theatre and Conversation” we hosted “An Evening with Kafka” with a performance of Franz Kafka’s riveting short story A Report to an Academy, that explores the struggle to be human in a broken, oppressive society.
In this solo theater piece, Drew Valins embodies Kafka’s half-ape RotPeter, telling his story of how he joined the human community after being captured and caged. Drew performed to wide acclaim the role of Vaněk in Václav Havel’s play Protest in our first evening of “Theatre and Conversation” at the Woodrow Wilson House in September 2016.
Kafka wrote this tale in 1917; however, it’s themes of lost identity and marred freedom will grip any modern audience today. In this tale RotPeter (Red Peter) details his transformation from ape to human – from the horrors of being snatched into captivity, held within a confining cage, and the realization that he must become something he is not, in order to obtain a vestige of freedom.
Following the performance, we will host a discussion to further explore the themes presented that still resonate widely in our current culture. Kafka was a contemporary of Wilson. Both witnessed WWI, the Great War to End all Wars, yet they looked to the future with different perspectives.
“Theatre & Conversation – Protest“
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
We kicked off the series with a special public presentation of Protest by the playwright, activist, political prisoner and ultimately president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel. This presentation was made possible by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and followed a private performance at the embassy celebrating the 80th birthday of Vaclav Havel.
Woodrow Wilson had a close relationship with Tomáš Masaryk Czechoslovakia’s first President and Havel embodied the vision of a civil society that Masaryk worked for. The play exposes life under a totalitarian regime and the thin line between acquiescence and culpability. Directed by Susan Galbraith and featuring actors David Millstone and Drew Valins.