Pairings

Overview:

At Cygnet Theatre we love wine and theatre (obviously).  That’s why we are combining them together for our new contemporary American theatre class…PAIRINGS. An intimate five week course designed to compare and contrast two significant works side by side, while enjoying the company of other theatre aficionados along with a great glass of pinot noir (or chardonnay, or merlot, or cabernet). Held each week at a private home in Mission Hills.

 

Cost: $200

 

Instructors:

Rob Lutfy, Tim West, Taylor Wycoff

 

Schedule:

Wednesday, November 2nd, 7:30 - 9:00pm

Instructor:
Rob Lutfy, Associate Artistic Director

 

Reading:
Excerpt from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee and full script of Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

 

Discussion:
'Worst Dinner Party Ever'

 

Summary:

Although Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf takes place over cocktails, not a full fledged dinner party, it deploys the common theme of an evening with a social pretense that rapidly descends into petty jealousies, deep-seated resentments and mutual recrimination. The fearless examination of ugliness that lurks under the veneer of social niceties has earned Edward Albee's 1962 play four Broadway revivals, and spawned what might be considered a sub-genre. We will compare this pillar of American drama with Ayad Akhtar's 2012 play, Disgraced, in which four friends of diverse backgrounds plunge unexpectedly into heated exchanges on politics and religion. Disgraced had a Broadway run in 2014 and will premier locally at San Diego Rep Oct 20th - Nov 13th. Both plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Wednesday, November 9th, 7:30 - 9:00pm 

Instructor:
Tim West, Resident Artist & Teaching Artist

 

Reading:
Excerpt from Seven Guitars by August Wilson and full script of Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau

 

Discussion:
Cycles and Stages: the long view of the Black American Experience

 

Summary:

We'll begin with an excerpt from August Wilson's take on the African American Experience in Pittsburgh the 1940’s.  A funeral and a series of flashbacks tell the story of bluesman Floyd 'Schoolboy' Barton, cheated of hope on the verge of success at last. The play premiered on Broadway in 1996, and won the NY Drama Desk Award for Best Play. Cygnet is producing this play in rotating repertory with Wilson's rarely seen King Hedley II, set in the 1980s. We will compare this to Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew, third play in her Detroit trilogy. A makeshift family of autoworkers at the city's last exporting auto plant navigate the possibility of factory closure and shifting power dynamics as they are pushed to the limits of survival. Skeleton Crew is running at The Old Globe April 8th - May 7th.

Wednesday, November 16th, 7:30 - 9:00pm

Instructor:
Taylor Wycoff, Director of Education and Outreach

 

Reading:
Excerpt from The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein and full script of The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson

 

Discussion:
Feminism, Then and Now, Scripted and Staged, No Apologies

 

Summary:

We'll read an excerpt from Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1989 and revived on Broadway in 2015, starring Elizabeth Moss (The West Wing, Mad Men). The play deals with the changing role of women in the later half of the 20th century. We will compare that play with Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, a brutally funny comedy about four very real women who lived boldly during the French Revolution. They hang out, murder Marat, lose their heads, and try to beat back extremist insanity during The Reign of Terror. Moxie is producing The Revolutionists, May 21st - June 18th.

Wednesday, November 30th, 7:30 - 9:00pm

Instructor:
Rob Lutfy, Associate Artistic Director

 

Reading:
Excerpt from Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets and full script of Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon

 

Discussion:
"Any Group that Would Have Me as a Member": American Jews & Family

 

Summary:

We'll read portions of Clifford Odets’ celebrated play Awake and Sing! about a Jewish immigrant family in the Bronx struggling to survive the Great Depression and re-root themselves in The American Dream. The play has been revived innumerable times since its Broadway debut by the Group Theatre in 1935. We will compare this stage classic to Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, about a family of millennials struggling to define their Jewish identity in a modern world. When cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend and declares ownership of their grandfather’s Chai necklace, it sparks a viciously hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy. Bad Jews runs at Cygnet Jan 12th - Feb 12th. Awake and Sing! will run at New Village Arts Mar 17 - Apr 16th.

Wednesday, December 7th, 7:30 - 9:00pm

Instructor:
Tim West, Resident Artist & Teaching Artist

 

Reading:
Excerpt from The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill and full script of The Night Alive by Conor McPherson

 

Discussion:
The Irish Strain and the Romance of Bad Choices

 

Summary:

Irish-American playwright Eugene O'Neill created some of the most memorable characters in the dramatic canon. In The Iceman Cometh, a traveling salesman named Hickey regularly inspires the misfit losers who inhabit Harry Hope's NYC bar, his optimism in stark contrast to the hopelessness around him. The Iceman Cometh premiered in 1946, and is considered the classic tale by the first master of American playcraft. We'll compare O'Neill's drama with Irish playwright Conor MacPherson's The Night Alive. Tommy is also an optimist of the romantic kind. He has abandoned his children, and rooms in his uncle's home in Dublin. Tommy and his best friend try to cobble together a living, until Tommy brings home a young woman who carries violence and trouble in her wake.

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