September’s upcoming local theater, dance performances

Ian Faul, Contributing Writer

As we enter the first full month of school and new students finally settle into the rhythm of life at Tulane, the itch to explore life off-campus begins to intensify. Tulane prides itself on its connection to New Orleans, a city bursting with creative energy, and this connection begins at the level of its students. 

While New Orleans is perhaps more renowned for its music scene, it nonetheless enjoys and is enriched by a vibrant local theater and dance community. Participating in the following events is a fantastic way to engage with the city like a local, and their accessibility by streetcar and walking makes them an easy first step out of the Tulane bubble. Here are some of the coming attractions in the theater and dance scene of New Orleans:

Theater

“Pantomime” 

Loyola University Marquette Theater; September 8 – 25.

In this two-man, two-act play, Nobel prize-winning playwright Derek Walcott engages in a metatheatrical exploration of the enduring effects of colonialism in his native West Indies. Set in Tobago, a white English hotel owner named Harry (Michael A. Newcomer) tries to convince his Black handyman Jackson (Michael C. Forest) to help him put on a “Christmas panto” based on the story of Robinson Crusoe and Friday. Both joy and anger emerge as the characters shift between roles of master and servant, discovering what language they are allowed to use in the process.

Directed by Dr. John “Ray” Proctor, assistant professor in the Department of Theater and Dance at Tulane, “Pantomime” is the first production of Crescent City Stage’s inaugural season. Tickets are available for purchase here.

“Clothes for a Summer Hotel”

Loyola University Lower Depths Theater; September 9 – 24

Tennessee Williams’ last Broadway debut before his death, “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” is a two-act “ghost play” about the lives and dysfunctional marriage of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set several years after Scott’s death of a heart attack, the play takes place over the course of a day Scott spends visiting Zelda in phantom form at a mental asylum in North Carolina, with frequent flashbacks to the Gilded Age of their own marriage in the ‘20s. 

Although, on its surface, the play recounts a somewhat fictionalized version of the Fitzgerald’s story, it is truly an autobiographical work. Williams explores the two halves of his troubled psyche through the two main characters, perhaps in a final attempt at healing.

This is the final show of the Tennessee Williams Theatre Company’s sixth season. Tickets are available for purchase here.

“Our Dear Dead Drug Lord”

Tulane’s Lupin Blackbox Theater; September 27- October 2

In this simultaneous thriller and coming-of-age story, four high school girls gather in an abandoned treehouse to summon the spirit of infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. What begins as a harmless game becomes something potentially threatening as their imaginations are stretched to the limit. Directed by Tulane’s Professor Jessica Podewell, this production is the regional premiere of the play, which ran off-Broadway in 2019. Tickets available for purchase here.

Dance

“Mixed Repertoire”

The Orpheum Theater; September 17 – 18

This triple bill put on by the New Orleans Ballet Theatre combines the serious and the silly, the divine and the human, and the classic and the contemporary to form a new, resonating whole. The dances are “Under the Olive Tree” by Tara Lee, “Shotgun” by Maurice Causey, and “LOEV” by Diogo de Lima. Tickets available for purchase here.

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