by Mac Wellman 
Directed by Judy Navas

October 3-14, site specific performance at The University Lake near the Art Building

In Bad Penny, a drifter moves from Montana to New York City where he soon gets a flat tire and goes wandering across Central Park to find a gas station.  Along the way he runs into nosy strangers who offer him strange advice.  When one stranger finds a “bad penny” that supposedly will bring bad luck, the advice soon dive bombs into crazy skepticism about life, the universe, and everything.  A poetic tour de force, Bad Penny takes straightforward, down to earth language and twists it into odd yet elegant speeches that muse darkly over the shadowy presence of myth in our lives.

Bad Penny premiered in Central Park in 1989.  Both wild and intimate, it is a site-specific play where actors shout dialogue to each other across a lake, while closer to the audience, they share their current bad luck and their more gruesome pasts.  The SSU campus’s lakes provide a rare and unusual opportunity to revive this beautiful one-act about the mythic and metaphorical power of water from one of America’s essential living playwrights.  Winner of the prestigious Obie award in 1990 for his body of work, Mac Wellman’s language-focused writing style creates a whimsical and mind-bending theatrical experience.

GREAT DIVIDE by Adam Chanzit
Directed by Doyle Ott
November 1-10, Person Theatre

A rural Colorado town revives its economy by inviting a natural gas company to begin a “fracking” operation in its area, injecting chemicals into the ground to mine natural gas.  But when the chemicals get into the water table, the health of the town is at stake.  What’s more important, getting energy to power our lives and putting food on the table, or saving the environment and the water we need to survive?  And how do the residents of the town remain friends, families, and lovers as this conflict threatens to rip them apart?

Great Divide is a deeply compassionate play that is truly ripped from today’s headlines.  Artfully adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s modern classic An Enemy of the People, it will receive its professional premiere at Shotgun Players in Berkeley in Spring 2012.  The SSU production in November 2012 will be the next step in the play’s life, with writer Adam Chanzit in residence. 


Ruth Wilson, director

Friday, November 30 @ 4 pm, Weill Hall, Green Music Center

Splish, splash! Brass Ensemble joins the Water Works movement on this enticing program including Mendelssohn’s Venetian Boat Songs, Gliere’s Russian Sailors Dance, and Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water under the baton of guest conductor Brian Wilson. The water-themed program anticipates the ensemble’s upcoming tour to the Korean island of Jeju. Other works include Wagner’s “Gathering of the Armies” from Lohengrin; Bloch’s “Chanty” from Poems of the Sea; Prokofiev’s “March” from Love of Three Oranges; Sousa’s march, Hands Across the Sea; selections from Handel’s Water Music and the Semper Paratus “Coast Guard song” March. Founded in 2004, the 16-member Brass Ensemble plays a major concert each semester and performs community outreach in local churches. Free.

Two One-Act Operas
RIDERS TO THE SEA by Ralph Vaughan Williams,
adapted from the play by John Millington Synge
Music Director – Lynne Morrow
Stage Director – Danielle Cain
February 7-17,2013, Person Theatre
A co-production of the Departments of Music and Theatre Arts & Dance

These operas represent a brief Water Works departure from inland water flow, heading out to sea with these two magnificent short operas.

Similar in some respects to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, The Deserted Island is about mistaken identity and about two stranded girls on a strange island.  When a ship lands, they struggle with conflicting desires:  to stay far away from the injurious world of traitorous men, or to embrace the possibility of desire and love. The great composer Haydn’s music is sublime, from the overture which uses a contrast of dark and light themes, to the sumptuous arias for the two female singers, to the impressive tenor and bass arias, and the magnificent concluding ensemble.

Adapted from the classic play by great Irish playwright John Millington Synge, Riders to the Sea goes deep into the world of a traditional Irish fishing village that lives and dies by the sea.  Maurya is mother of a family whose many sons have been claimed by the waves.  Can she save her remaining son from a similar fate?  A stirring tale made beautiful and atmospheric through the evocative melodic gifts of Vaughan Williams, one of the great composers of the twentieth century.

By Dylan Waite / Directed by Jon Robin / Dramaturgy by Celine Delcayre
March 7-10 & March 27-30, 2013 in Ives Studio 76

Sex, weed, tacos, and spirits abound in The Séance, a new play about the current generation of young adults struggling to make sense of their world. Alex, a young college student, comes to arid Fresno, California for the funeral of her sometime lover (also named Alex) and searches for a way to honor her memory.  The Séance, the first student written play to be part of the department’s main season, is a mosaic of personalities struggling against the harsh environment of a literal and spiritual drought.

Playwright Dylan Waite has had his work read at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the “Super Mega Molten Hot Lava New Play Festival” on the SSU campus, and has created the Midnight Theater series, also at SSU.


Curated by Paul Draper
March13, 2013, Warren Auditorium

1-page plays on the theme of “water” from submissions from around campus from faculty, staff, and student writers. Plays selected will receive full mounting by faculty and student directors and actors.

Directed by Kristen Daley
April 12-20, 2013, Evert B. Person Theatre

New works from guest professional choreographers and faculty, with some choreographers responding to the Water Works theme.


Directed by Mark Valdez / Dramaturgy by Scott Horstein
Greg Sarris / Writing Consultant
April 24-May 2, 2013, site-specific near Copeland Creek on the SSU campus


Copeland Creek begins its course on Mount Sonoma and runs down the mountain through the Sonoma campus on its way to the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the sea.  What are the stories of the communities that live and have lived along the Creek?  How has the Creek shaped their lives, and how do our lives shape the Creek?  Through this interview-based ensemble piece, created with the Acting Block of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, we’ll hear the voices of the Creek’s waters, of creation itself, and how they flow in, through, and out of our lives.