Playwright Anne Washburn started with one idea: Take a TV show and push it past the apocalypse to see what happens to it. The show she selected was "The Simpsons." It struck her as the most iconic expression of contemporary American culture.
"Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play" works on the premise that the key to cultural preservation is in the hands of an episode of "The Simpsons." When show premiered in 2012 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote "Anne Washburn's downright brilliant 'Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play' has arrived to leave you dizzy with the scope and dazzle of its ideas."
Oregon Center of the Arts production will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10; 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11; 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12; 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 18; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, in the Black Swan Theatre, South Pioneer and East Main streets, on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival campus in Ashland. Tickets are $21, $18 for seniors, and $6 for students and can be purchased at oca.sou.edu/box-office or by calling 541-552-6348.
Michael J. Hume directs.
"Here's the thing about dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and otherwise, of which I am a great fan," Hume writes in his director's notes. "It caters to the collective consciousness of perhaps our greatest fear: The absolute breakdown and dissolution of communal control, comfort and the accumulation of our stuff, which taken together offer a definition of self.
"'Mr. Burns' is about a world in which the grid is gone, all technological advancements and achievements have evaporated," he says.
While it may seem like science fiction to Rogue Valley residents, he says, it could happen here in a snap.