Now What

What do Medea and the Zombie Apocalypse have in common? They’re both featured in Now What, an evening of two one-act plays presented by TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater.

TAPIT/new works is teaming up with the New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) from Akron, Ohio, to show how two ensemble theaters employ their distinctive styles to answer the question, “Now what?” – because even after you’ve gone over the edge, tomorrow is still the first day of the rest of your life.

The NWPL piece features Debora Totti in a solo performance of Medea in which she explores her own storyin relation to the classic myth, using a version of Medea written by the late Franca Rame (died May 2013).Rame was an Italian actress, writer, and political activist, the wife and collaborator of Nobel Laureate playwright, Dario Fo.  Rame’s Medea tells the story of a foreigner exiled in her husband’s country, who must battle the pressures of her expected role, especially when her husband, Jason, betrays her. Directed by James Slowiak and with design elements and stage management by Jairo Cuesta, NWPL co-artistic directors, the resulting performance is a raw and total act; a vivid meeting of an actress with her personal roots and a mythic character.

NWPL’s stye is influenced by Jerzy Grotowski, major 20th century avant-garde theatre director with whom Slowiak and Cuesta worked. NWPL will present workshops on Grotowski and his technique for Edgewood College students, students at UW-Madison and the general public.

TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater brings in the zombies with its one-act comedy about what happens when everything falls apart. A successful businesswoman dealing with identity theft, a barista facing the end of college and a relationship, a gender-ambiguous prepper and a mysterious but not well-wrapped woman are thrown together in a coffee shop when the zombie apocalypse breaks out. As they struggle for survival, they gain new insights into themselves, the meaning of community and how to fight the undead.

Directed by Meghan Randolph and written by Danielle Dresden, Now What, will be performed by Nedra Bobo, Francisco Torres, Donna Peckett and Dresden, with costumes by Rebecca Sites, scenic design by Christopher R. Dunham, stage management by Janine Gardner, with guest appearances by several zombies.

Audience members will have a chance to share their thoughts on going over the edge in post-performance discussions facilitated by a panel of professionals accustomed to helping people through such times – Financial Advisor Connie Kilmark, Coach and Family Business Consultant Anne Simon-Wolf and Pastor Mary Pharmer.

Please call TAPIT/new works, 608.244.2938 or email info@tapitnewworks.org for more information. Prices are $15 for general audiences and $7 for students.

Madison performances and workshops are part of a touring exchange program, which began in November, with TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater traveling to Akron to perform and conduct workshops at the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture and NWPL. The Madison portion of the project is supported in part by The Network of Ensemble Theaters, NET/TEN Travel & Exchange Network, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Dane Arts; Madison Arts Commission, with funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board; the Neil Allen Peckett Memorial Fund of TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater (TNWET). The Madison performances of Medea and Now What are sponsored by the Edgewood College, Department of Theatre Arts. Welcomed by WORT-FM, 89.9 community radio.