SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford Theatre will open its sophomore season in the new Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts at Wofford with “The Danube,” a stirring drama by Obie Award-winning playwright Maria Irene Fornes. Performances will be held at 8 nightly Nov. 8-10 and 14-17.
Dan Day, assistant professor of theatre at Wofford, will direct two alternating casts of Wofford students in bringing this haunting story to life onstage in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre.
“The Danube” begins in 1930s Budapest, where a young American businessman, Paul Green, meets a Hungarian bureaucrat and his daughter, Eve. Paul and Eve soon fall in love, but a mysterious sickness begins to infect them and spreads throughout the whole city – and possibly the world.
This sickness “could be the result of any terrifying element in a contemporary world filled with the forces of destruction,” says Day. “Through her poignant and provocative language and striking theatricality, Fornes forces us to face what we’re making of our world, and as the play gathers momentum and mystery by bending time and space, we realize that ‘The Danube’ is exploring nothing less than the impacts of globalization, the destruction of the environment and the decline and fall of Western civilization.” Fornes emigrated with her family from Cuba to the United States in 1945. While studying painting in Paris in the 1950s, she saw Roger Blin’s world premiere production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” The experience changed her artistic trajectory, and she devoted herself to writing for the theatre, often directing and designing her own plays as well. She has won eight Obie Awards and many others for her considerable theatrical oeuvre.
Fornes’ life and work have been celebrated in many prominent venues this year. An award-winning documentary film about her life – “The Rest I Make Up” – opened in New York at the Museum of Modern Art in August, and the Public Theatre sponsored a one-day, 12-hour marathon of readings from her plays a few days later. The marathon, organized by avant-garde director JoAnne Akalaitis, featured a reading of “The Danube.” Akalaitis says of Fornes’ work: “Fornes creates worlds within worlds and hurls us headlong into them: rural poverty, sexual obsession, the brutality within the banal, surreal musical fantasies, nuclear-environmental disasters, zany potentially dangerous period feminists, violence and humor and humiliation and the continual presence of women, usually young, looking for something better, articulating their thoughts in Irene's beautiful, terse, emotional language which is both highly stylized and surprisingly natural.”
Wofford’s production of “The Danube” will run Nov. 8-10 and 14-17 with shows at 8 nightly. Seating will be limited, and discounted tickets may be purchased in advance at www.wofford.edu/boxoffice. Same-day online ticket sales close at 6 p.m., and the box office opens at 7 p.m. in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts.
Ticket prices are:
Students – $3 online/$5 at the door.
Wofford faculty/staff – $10 online/$12 at the door.
General public – $13 online/$15 at the door.
Wofford Theatre’s 2018-19 season also includes John Patrick Shanley’s “Savage in Limbo” (Jan. 24-26), Naomi Iizuka’s “The Last Firefly” (April 18-20 and 24-27) and Amiri Baraka’s “Dutchman (May 8-11).