2017-2018 Season Preview

This summer, we'll bring you an in-depth look at each of the plays in our 2017-2018 season.

As part of our Statements of Survival Series, we're excited to produce two plays in repertory in our BlackBox Theater:

Athol Fugard's Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act and Steven Dietz' Lonely Planet.

by Athol Fugard
directed by Jim Petosa
JAN 27-MAR 3/2018   blackbox theater

In apartheid South Africa, where intimate interracial relationships are illegal, a black man and a white woman share more than just their love, baring all in the face of oppression and uncertainty. Athol Fugard’s Statements is a remarkable love story that stands as a strident reminder of the intolerance and cruelty of a not-so-distant past. Contains nudity.

Single tickets go on sale August 1.
Athol Fugard and the Immorality Act
Athol Fugard is a South African playwright, director, and actor whose work gained international attention with the 1961 premiere of his play The Blood Knot. Fugard’s plays, including Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, frequently confront the apartheid system of racial segregation laws, the enforcement of which he witnessed first hand as a clerk at the Native Commissioner's Court. His openly political work led to the confiscation of his passport by the South African government and the surveillance of his theatre company by the secret police. 

The Immorality Act of the play's title was initially enacted in 1927 to prohibit extramarital sex between white and black South Africans, punishable by up to five years in prison for the man and four years for the woman. The act was amended in 1950, expanding the ban to all "Europeans" and "non-Europeans," respectively. The Act remained law until 1985's Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, one of the early legislative steps towards the end of apartheid.  

New Rep has produced three of Fugard's plays:
A Lesson from Aloes (1988-1989 Season)
My Children! My Africa! (1992-1993 Season – Boston Premiere)
Exits and Entrances (2008-2009 Season – New England Premiere)
Paul Villani and Wiley Moore
in A Lesson From Aloes
(1988-1989 Season)
Will Lyman and Ross MacDonald
in Exits and Entrances
(2008-2009 Season)
by Steven Dietz
directed by Jim Petosa
FEB 3-MAR 4/2018    blackbox theater

In a revival to commemorate its 25th anniversary, Lonely Planet tells the story of two friends during the height of the AIDS epidemic in America. While Carl is able to see beyond the confines of Jody’s map store, Jody refuses to acknowledge what’s happening. In Lonely Planet, playwright Steven Dietz crafts a humorous and touching play about friendship, loss, and hope.

Single tickets go on sale August 1.
"In the midst of a world that is too big and too fast, a world where information rules like a dictator and news travels like a virus, it's easy to be overcome by the hopelessness of the world and the helplessness of we, its keepers. What impact can we hope to have? What traces will we leave behind?

I believe, in most cases, our legacy is our friends. We write our history onto them, and they walk with us through our days like time capsules, filled with our mutual past, the fragments of our hearts and minds... Friendship, not technology, is the only thing capable of showing us the enormity of the world."

- Lonely Planet Playwright Steven Dietz

Jody's Maps and the Greenland Problem
In Lonely Planet, the character of Jody runs a map store. He explains what he calls "the Greenland Problem"—that on many maps, Greenland appears to be about the size of South America, whereas its area is actually closer to Mexico. Why the discrepancy? 

The map pictured to the left is the Mercator Projection, developed in sixteenth century Germany. According to Jody, this map "was a great aid to navigators since, for the first time, all lines of longitude ran perpendicular to the equator... [which] meant that, for the first time, a sailor could draw a straight line between two fixed points on the map and steer a constant course between them. The map had accounted for the curve of the earth—the sailor did not have to."

And yet, as time has passed, the errors in geographical perception have arguably outweighed the intended benefits of the Mercator Projection. Boston Public Schools officially began phasing out the map in favor of the Peters projection just this past spring.

This scene from the second season of The West Wing—which aired nine years after Dietz wrote Lonely Planet highlights the complexities of the Mercator Projection's continued use in classrooms:
Statements... and Lonely Planet are just two of the stories we're excited to explore this year; we hope you'll join us throughout our 2017-2018 season of plays chosen to showcase the remarkable RESILIENCE of the human spirit.

Theatre has the power to shed light in dark times, to illuminate and stimulate thought, and to provide a forum for us to come together as a community in conversation. It is our hope that these plays will inspire and engage you as New Repertory Theatre continues to be a place where the vital ideas of our time can be discussed freely and openly.
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